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Colin Richard FORMAN





Classification: Mass murderer
Characteristics: Aircraft suicide attack - Disgruntled former employee of Connellan Airways
Number of victims: 4
Date of murders: January 5, 1977
Date of birth: 1943
Victims profile: Roger Connellan (32), son of founder Eddie Connellan; engineers Markus Chittoni (31) and Ron Dymock (48); and secretary Liana Nappi (19)
Method of murder: Smashing a stolen plane into the Connair hangar
Location: Alice Springs Airport, Northern Territory, Australia
Status: Died in the crash the same day

The Connellan air disaster was a suicide attack at Alice Springs Airport, Northern Territory, Australia on 5 January 1977. Carried out by a disgruntled former employee of Connellan Airways (Connair), who flew a Beechcraft Baron into the Connair complex at the airport, the attack killed four other people and injured four more, two of them seriously. The disaster is one of only two aircraft suicide attacks in Australia's history, the other being in 1982 at Bankstown Airport.


The perpetrator, Colin Richard Forman, was 23 years old at the time of the attack. He had migrated from the United Kingdom to Australia alone in the early 1970s, but had trouble adjusting and, in 1974, tried to forge a Qantas ticket back to England. The forged ticket was detected and Forman had a conviction recorded against him.

In November 1975, Forman obtained a commercial pilot's license, and he started flying for Connair in January 1976. However, the ticket forgery soon came to light and Forman was dismissed after seven weeks. He then found another job at Ord Air Charter in Wyndham, but was soon fired from there as well. Forman apparently believed that Roger Connellan, his boss at Connair, had informed Ord Air about his forgery conviction.


Early on the morning of 5 January 1977, Forman drove to Wyndham, Western Australia, and stole a Beechcraft 58 Baron twin-engine piston plane (registration number VH-ENA) from the airfield. Before leaving, he wrote a suicide letter in his pilot's logbook, giving the entry the title "Alice Springs Suicide Mission" and stating that his aim was “to kill and maim as many employees of Connair Pty Ltd as possible”.

Alice Springs is four hours flying time from Wyndham in a Beechcraft Baron, and Forman had planned to strike at 10 am during the company's morning break. However, he did not account for the time difference between Western Australia and the Northern Territory, and arrived at 11 am. He broadcast a final message by radio, stating “It is better to die with honor than live without it – Echo – November – Alpha.” Forman then set full power on both engines and aimed at the Connellan complex before plunging into the building.

The plane hit the center of the Connair building. Roger Connellan (32 years old), son of founder Eddie Connellan, was killed instantly, along with engineers Markus Chittoni (31) and Ron Dymock (48). Secretary Liana Nappi (19) was badly burned and died of her wounds five days later.


Connellan Airways was sold to East-West Airlines in 1980.

The attack remains a sore topic in Alice Springs and is intentionally not covered by the Central Australian Aviation Museum.


A Beechcraft Baron 58 similar to that used in the attack.



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