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The pilot had limited experience in night operations. Until this flight, all night take-offs since obtaining his Command instrument rating had been conducted from airports in well lit areas. This particular take-off was conducted into an area devoid of external visual cues. The aircraft become airborne at the normal speed, and the pilot reported that after lift-off the aircraft was held parallel to the runway until the two-engine best rate of climb speed was acquired. The aircraft was then rotated so that a nose up attitude and positive rate of climb were indicated, whereupon the landing gear was selected up and the landing lights were selected off. The pilot stated that he then checked that the airspeed was 120 knots, the desired climb speed, and was commencing to adjust the throttles when the aircraft struck the ground. The initial propeller strikes indicate that the aircraft had a groundspeed of approximately 136 knots at impact. No faults were found with the aircraft or the aircraft systems that may have contributed to the occurrence. It was likely that the pilot had hurried the after takeoff checks, and had not adequately monitored the attitude of the aircraft.

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General details
Date: 17 March 1988 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 506  
Location:Longreach Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Queensland Occurrence type: Collision with terrain 
Release date: 15 February 1989 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: Minor 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Cessna Aircraft Company 
Aircraft model: 310 
Aircraft registration: VH-KEU 
Serial number: 310R0168 
Type of operation: Charter 
Damage to aircraft: Substantial 
Departure point:Longreach QLD
Departure time:N/A
Destination:Mt Isa QLD
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