Aviation safety investigations & reports

Piper PA28-140, VH-WXB, 100 metres NNW of Romsey Airstrip VIC, 8 October 1988

Investigation number:
198801399
Status: Completed
Investigation completed

Summary

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This was to be the first trip away for the pilot since having the area restriction lifted from his Private Pilot Licence. He obtained an area weather forecast which included predicted winds of 35 knots, scattered stratus cloud, base 1000/2500 in showers, visibility reduced to six kilometres in showers, with turbulence moderate and occasionally severe. A Visual Flight Rules plan was submitted for a flight from Romsey to Ararat and return. The aircraft later departed and the flight to Ararat was completed satisfactorily. After several hours on the ground the pilot departed on the return leg, deciding that he would call at Ballarat for fuel. Melbourne Flight Service passed him details of the amended area forecast which included details similar to the forecast earlier received and included advice that there would be widespread moderate turbulence and occasional severe turbulence. The Ballarat Terminal Area Forecast was also passed and this gave a surface wind from 290 degrees at 15-35 knots. After landing at Ballarat and obtaining fuel the pilot departed for Romsey. There was moderate turbulence enroute and this became noticeably worse near Mt Macedon and continued for the remainder of the flight. On overflying the airfield the pilot estimated the wind was a south-westerly to westerly and the strength varied from 20-30 knots. He elected to approach for strip 21 but on the landing flare found the crosswind was too strong and made a go-around. The pilot then decided to make an approach for strip 33, intending that if the crosswind was too strong he would divert to Melton. Again on the landing flare the crosswind was too strong and he applied full throttle for a go- around. It appeared to the pilot that the aircraft was not climbing as well as on the first go around; he reduced the flap setting from two stages to one stage and lowered the nose to try and gain airspeed. The aircraft descended and drifted well right of the strip, striking a small tree abeam of the upwind end of the strip. The right wing was dislodged by the tree impact, the aircraft then fell to the ground. Inspection of the aircraft did not reveal any evidence of pre-existing defects which might have contributed to the accident. The engine had continued operating up to the time of the accident. An analysis of weather data was made by the Bureau of Meteorology. This indicated a surface wind from 290 degrees at 15-20 knots with possible gusts to 40 knots. Also, moderate/severe turbulence, windshear, possible downdrafts and a high probability of rotor turbulence associated with the strong low level westerly flow over Mt Macedon to the west of the airstrip. It was not possible to state with certainty the reason for the poor climb performance on the second go-around but the most likely explanation was an encounter with severe weather conditions and windshear.

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General details
Date: 08 October 1988   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1630    
Location: 100 metres NNW of Romsey Airstrip    
State: Victoria    
Release date: 09 October 1989   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-WXB  
Serial number 28-7425069  
Type of operation Private  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Ballarat VIC  
Departure time 1545  
Destination Romsey VIC