Aviation safety investigations & reports

Piper PA28-R180, VH-ASN, Merrijig (20 km SE Mansfield) VIC, 21 January 1986

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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The pilot had intended to carry out a scenic flight which would include aerial photography of a property at Merrijig. An enroute landing was not planned, but the pilot subsequently advised that one of his passengers became unwell and a decision was made to land at a grass strip near the property. Take-off from this strip was commenced about 90 minutes later, and the acceleration was reported to be slower than expected. The aircraft was pulled into the air near the end of the strip, but it then descended, ran through two fences and collided with some disused farm machinery. It came to rest in a nearby river bed. Prior to the attempted take-off, the pilot had made calculations from the performance charts in the aircraft. However, the strip was 100 metres shorter than estimated, and the pilot also incorrectly assessed the take-off weight of the aircraft. Based on the corrected figures, the charts indicated that about 1030 metres would have been required for take-off. The strip being used was only 550 metres in length and, although it had a downslope, it was covered in grass some 20 centimetres high. The long grass had slowed the rate of acceleration of the aircraft and flying speed could not be obtained under the conditions.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 22KB]
General details
Date: 21 January 1986   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: N/A    
Location: Merrijig (20 km SE Mansfield)    
State: Victoria   Occurrence type: Runway excursion  
Release date: 29 April 1986   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Piper Aircraft Corp  
Aircraft model PA-28  
Aircraft registration VH-ASN  
Type of operation Private  
Damage to aircraft Destroyed  
Departure point Merrijig VIC  
Departure time N/A  
Destination Moorabbin VIC