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The pilot had flown to his property during the morning to find that his airstrip had a herd of cattle grazing on it. He had previously inspected an adjoining paddock on a neighbour's property, as an alternate airstrip and he considered that it met all the requirements for an ALA. He elected to use it rather than attempting to frighten the cattle off his own airstrip by "buzzing" them. That afternoon the pilot prepared to depart. The airstrip situated 2800 feet above sea level, and 390 metres in length was marginal. He believed that he would not have any trouble because the aircraft was lightly loaded, the airstrip had a slight down hill slope with short grass, and the take-off would be into a 10-15 knot headwind. The density altitude at the time was almost equivalent to the pressure altitude. The pilot had only recently purchased the aircraft and was not completely familiar with its operation and performance. He had not studied the performance graphs in the Flight Manual until some time after the accident. As some plug fouling had been experienced on previous flights, he carried out a thorough pre-flight check and engine run-up. During the take-off run the pilot thought that the engine did not appear to be developing full power, but it was running smoothly. The aircraft became airborne in 320 metres, accelerated to about 60 knots, but was unable to climb out of ground effect before colliding with the fence along the boundary of the paddock. A witness reported that the wind strength had decreased to almost calm conditions when the pilot commenced the take-off run. The aircraft struck the fence with the right hand wing, slewed to the right and came to rest on the other side of the fence, with substantial damage. This accident was not the subject of an on-site investigation.

Download Final Report
[ Download PDF: 23KB]
General details
Date: 11 November 1989 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1530  
Location:"Sassafras" (40 km south-east of Nowra) Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: New South Wales  
Release date: 02 April 1990 Occurrence class: Technical 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: American Aircraft Corp 
Aircraft model: AA-1 
Aircraft registration: VH-ETR 
Serial number: AA1B-0043 
Type of operation: Private 
Damage to aircraft: Substantial 
Departure point:"Sassafras"
Departure time:1530
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Last update 21 March 2016