Aviation safety investigations & reports

PA24-260B Comanche, VH-WBI, Tierawbomba Homestead, south of Mackay, Qld, 25 April 1970

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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The airstrip at Tierawoomba is aligned east-west, with a prepared length of 2,480 feet and it slopes up at the eastern end towards trees which limit the effective length for a landing to the west. A gully 30 feet deep crosses the western end of the strip but this is not visible from an aircraft on the ground beyond about 200 feet from the gully. There is no ground marking to delineate the limits of the strip. The pilot had sought information concerning the strip but had been given only approximate dimensions and advised that aircraft similar to the PA24 had operated from the strip. The pilot had some difficulty in locating Tierawoomba and the aircraft arrived over the homestead some 22 minutes before last light. Notwithstanding that the flight had occupied some 52 minutes longer than was planned, the aircraft was still above the maximum gross weight permitted for landing. The weather was fine and overcast, with no wind and the pilot circled the airstrip and elected to land into the west. After approaching, the aircraft appeared to float for some distance before touching down in a position from which at least 900 feet remained in which to stop the aircraft before the gully was reached. To stop the aircraft from touchdown at the correct speed of 61.5 knots, and using maximum braking in the existing conditions, would have required 830 feet. Ground marks indicated that heavy braking commenced some 150 feet from the gully, but the pilot was unable to stop the aircraft before it plunged into the gully and struck the nearly vertical western wall.
Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 133KB]
General details
Date: 25 April 1970   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1750 EST    
Location   (show map): Mackay    
State: Queensland   Occurrence type: Runway excursion  
Release date: 22 March 1971   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Fatal  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Piper Aircraft Corp  
Aircraft model PA-24  
Aircraft registration VH-WBI  
Type of operation Private  
Damage to aircraft Destroyed  
Departure point Townsville  
Departure time 1520  
Destination Tierawoomba  
Last update 16 May 2014