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Cessna 172 collision with a tree near Albany WA

Accident site Cessna 172 and collision with tree

On 13 July 2014, the pilot of a Cessna 172 aircraft, registered VH-EEC, conducted a private flight from The Lily to Narrikup aeroplane landing areas (ALA), Western Australia, with two passengers on board.

At about 1320 Western Standard Time, the pilot broadcast an inbound call when about 10 NM north-east of Narrikup at about 6,500 ft above mean sea level (AMSL). The pilot elected to conduct an approach to runway 06 and overflew the runway at about 1,900 ft AMSL. He observed the windsock which did not indicate any significant crosswind. The aircraft then descended to circuit height and joined on the crosswind leg for runway 06.

When established on final for runway 06, the pilot reported that he had selected two stages of flap and had the aircraft stabilised at about 65 kt. When about 50 ft above ground level, the pilot reported that the aircraft encountered a wind gust which carried the aircraft about 30 m to the right. The pilot moved the aileron controls into wind and applied full power to commence a go-around; however the aircraft’s right wing collided with trees on the right side of the landing area. The pilot reported that the right wing may have stalled as he applied full right aileron. The aircraft fell to the ground resulting in substantial damage.

This incident highlights the importance of being ready to conduct an early go-around when a pilot is not completely satisfied that a safe landing can be made.

A go-around, the procedure for discontinuing an approach to land, is a standard manoeuvre performed when a pilot is not completely satisfied that the requirements for a safe landing have been met. The need to conduct a go-around may occur at any point in the approach and landing phase, but according to the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the most critical go-around is one initiated when very close to the ground. Consequently the sooner a condition that warrants a go-around is recognised, the safer the manoeuvre will be.

The ATSB SafetyWatch highlights the broad safety concerns that come out of our investigation findings and from the occurrence data reported to us by industry. One of the safety concerns is that general aviation pilots continue to be involved in accidents that are mostly avoidable. A range of procedures and requirements exist to enable pilots to manage the hazards associated with common avoidable accident types.

The following provide useful information on go-arounds:
Aviation safety explained – Go-arounds
FAA Airplane Flying Handbook, Chapter 8, Approaches and Landings


Read the ATSB investigation AO-2014-124.

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Last update 11 March 2016