THE LOSS OF MACCHI A7-018 

Compiled by Grahame Higgs


Now this was a beautiful aeroplane.   
After twenty years training, A7-018 was the straightest airframe we had at Pearce.

Now this was a beautiful aeroplane.
After twenty years training, A7-018 was the straightest airframe we had at Pearce.


As a result she was used for most of the Graduation Parade aerobatics displays.   Alas she was to end her days two nautical miles south of Pearce in the Twin Swamps Nature Reserve, home to the long necked tortoise.

As a result she was used for most of the Graduation Parade aerobatics displays. Alas she was to end her days two nautical miles south of Pearce in the Twin Swamps Nature Reserve, home to the long necked tortoise.


On the morning of Tuesday 5th April 1988 A7-018 departed off Runway 18 on an instrument training sortie only to have an engine failure upwind.   After a brief relight the engine failed again and Squadron Leader (SqnLdr) Frank Atkins decided it was time to leave.   He jettisoned the canopy and Pilot Officer Andrew Richardson ejected safely from the rear. SqnLdr Atkins followed very shortly from the front leaving A7-018 to crash into the nature reserve below.

With a full load of fuel A7-018 started quite a blaze which presented a challenge to the Fire Fighters and ensured we would not be getting a Christmas card from the Conservation and Land Management folks that year.   The fire continued for quite a few hours fanned by the strong easterly wind (and the downdraft from the media helicopters) but in the end the RAAF Fire Crew prevailed.

On the morning of Tuesday 5th April 1988 A7-018 departed off Runway 18 on an instrument training sortie only to have an engine failure upwind. After a brief relight the engine failed again and Squadron Leader (SqnLdr) Frank Atkins decided it was time to leave. He jettisoned the canopy and Pilot Officer Andrew Richardson ejected safely from the rear. SqnLdr Atkins followed very shortly from the front leaving A7-018 to crash into the nature reserve below.

With a full load of fuel A7-018 started quite a blaze which presented a challenge to the Fire Fighters and ensured we would not be getting a Christmas card from the Conservation and Land Management folks that year. The fire continued for quite a few hours fanned by the strong easterly wind (and the downdraft from the media helicopters) but in the end the RAAF Fire Crew prevailed.


We were under the hammer to make good the damage we had caused and the boys certainly did a great job of cleaning up the crash site.   There is nothing to be seen now other than the very evident fire damage.   The GPS position is 3143.209S 11601.075E  Altitude 130 ft AMSL however, access is difficult.   The Nature Reserve is very well secured with a double fence and is administered by the Department of Conservation and Land Management.

To the best of my knowledge no tortoises were hurt during this incident!

We were under the hammer to make good the damage we had caused and the boys certainly did a great job of cleaning up the crash site. There is nothing to be seen now other than the very evident fire damage. The GPS position is 3143.209S 11601.075E Altitude 130 ft AMSL however, access is difficult. The Nature Reserve is very well secured with a double fence and is administered by the Department of Conservation and Land Management.

To the best of my knowledge no tortoises were hurt during this incident!


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