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The owner/pilot of the Beagle Terrier aircraft, having successfully completed a biennial flight review, departed for a local flight involving formation and scenic flying. The forecast and actual wind at the time was from the north at 15 to 20 kts, gusting to 35 kts. The pilot reported that flight conditions were "quite rough". At the completion of local flying, the pilot manoeuvred the aircraft for a landing, configuring it with full flap and an approach speed of 50 kt. A witness to the approach observed that the aircraft was being flown very slowly when it was about 400 ft above the strip. When about 50 ft above the strip the aircraft developed a high rate of sink that the pilot was unable to arrest. The aircraft landed heavily, right wing low, breaking the right main landing gear and causing substantial damage to the engine, propeller and lower fuselage. It was subsequently determined that the aircraft was not set up properly for an approach under the prevailing weather conditions. The pilot had not adequately considered of the effects of the gusting wind, or the low level wind shear, even though he was aware of the forecast winds and prevailing conditions. The Beagle Terrier was a development of the Auster series of aircraft which had a reputation for being able to be flown slowly. Over the years, there have been many accidents, some fatal, as a result of pilots losing control while flying too slowly, at too low an altitude, to effect a safe recovery. With the Beagle Terrier version of the Auster, the danger of flying too slowly is magnified because the aircraft is heavier than other Auster models. When flying speed is lost the Beagle Terrier abruptly achieves a very high rate of descent, as was experienced on the day of the accident. Because of the unexpected abrupt increase in the rate of descent, the pilot did not have enough time to assess the problem and apply power to recover before the aircraft landed heavily. Local safety action As a result of this and other similar occurrences the Antique Aeroplane Association of Australia prepared a "Safety Alert" to warn its members of the inherent problems with low and slow flight, particularly in Auster and Beagle Terrier aircraft. The "Safety Alert" was published in the association's magazine "Rag and Tube".
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General details
Date: 05 July 1998 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 15:30 EST  
 Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
 Occurrence type: Hard landing 
Release date: 17 December 1998 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Beagle Aircraft Ltd 
Aircraft model: A61 
Aircraft registration: VH-WFM 
Sector: Piston 
Damage to aircraft: Substantial 
Departure point:Coldstream Vic.
Destination:Coldstream Vic.
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Last update 28 October 2014