Aviation safety investigations & reports

Cessna 172G, VH-PLR, George Town, Tas, 18 January 1970

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


Before commencing the flight the pilot obtained information which led him to believe, incorrectly, that there was an airstrip at George Town. On arrival over George Town he could not find an airstrip so he selected a field, examined it from the air, and landed. He discussed the field with the owner who estimated its size as 2,000 feet square and, for his departure, the pilot decided to make a crosswind take-off to the south to avoid overflying several houses on the western boundary. The pilot did not consult the take-off performance charts contained in the aircraft flight manual, nor did he obtain accurate information as to the dimensions of the field. The wind velocity was westerly at 15 knots and the field dimension to the south was in fact 1,700 feet with trees 30 feet high along the boundary, reducing the effective length to 1,100 feet. In these conditions the minimum effective operating length required by the flight manual for take-off was 1,670 feet. During the take-off on a heading of 160 degrees the aircraft was retarded by dense patches of clover but the pilot elected to continue the take-off. Just before reaching the trees he pulled the nose up sharply but the tailplane and left wing tip struck the tree tops. Control became difficult and he attempted to land downwind in a small paddock but, after touching down, the aircraft ran through a fence and came to rest on a mound of soft earth. There were other take-off paths available in the field which would have provided adequate effective operational length for take-off.

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General details
Date: 18 January 1970   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1230 TST    
Location: George Town    
State: Tasmania    
Release date: 25 June 1971   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Cessna Aircraft Company  
Aircraft model 172  
Aircraft registration VH-PLR  
Type of operation Business  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point George Town  
Departure time 1230  
Destination Launceston  
Last update 16 May 2014