The pilots of an Airnorth Embraer EMB-120ER Brasilia were performing a simulated engine failure on a training mission shortly before the aircraft crashed after taking off from Darwin Airport, according to a preliminary report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB).
According to witness reports the takeoff of the aircraft, VH-ANB, appeared to be normal, when shortly after becoming airborne the aircraft rolled and diverged left of its takeoff path before entering a steep nose-down attitude and crashing into trees nearby. Both pilots were fatally injured.
The ATSB noted that after the accident Airnorth conducted inspections on the rudder actuators on the rest of the company’s fleet of Brasilias, although no issues were found. The report also noted that Airnorth had also been pursuing options to conduct recurrent training of Brasilia pilots at a simulator centre in Melbourne.
The investigation is continuing, and is expected to focus on the cockpit voice and flight data recorders to establish contributing factors. The report did not speculate on any likely causes of the crash.