The Australian Transport Safety Bureau did not conduct an on-scene investigation of this occurrence. The report presented below was derived from information supplied to the Bureau.
On 20 July 2004, a Cessna Aircraft Company 206, registered VH-DSP, struck trees while the pilot was attempting to land at Medlow Bath airfield (Katoomba) in the Blue Mountains, NSW. The aircraft was being operated on a private flight carrying two passengers from Canberra to Katoomba.
The pilot reported that on arrival at Katoomba, he overflew the airfield. After observing the surface wind direction from the windsocks, he elected to land on the south-west strip. The pilot extended the aircraft wing flaps to 10 degrees for the approach and landing. During the landing flare, when the aircraft was about 8 ft above the ground, it began to drift to the right because of crosswind. The pilot applied left rudder to counter the drift and to regain control of the aircraft, but the drift continued. The pilot then decided to discontinue the landing, and applied go-around power. Moments later, the aircraft impacted a pile of felled trees adjacent to, and to the right of, the landing strip. The aircraft came to rest in an inverted attitude, and was extensively damaged. The three occupants received minor injuries, but were able to exit the aircraft unaided.
Figure 1: Aerial view of the Medlow Bath airfield showing the aircraft wreckage.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) provided an assessment of the surface wind conditions at Katoomba airstrip on the day of the occurrence. BoM analysed the wind data recorded by the Mt Boyce automatic weather station (AWS), which was located near Katoomba airstrip. The recorded data revealed that the surface wind was from the south-southwest at 5 to 8 kts (mean) for most of the day, with gusts to 11 kts. BoM reported that stronger gusts probably occurred, but because of their transient nature, they were not recorded by the AWS.
A witness at Katoomba airstrip observed the accident, and reported that a crosswind gust of about 15 to 20 kts occurred as the aircraft was landing. The witness observed the aircraft rolling to the right before cartwheeling into the timber.
The pilot's attempt to counter the unexpected and sudden increase in the crosswind was unsuccessful. The investigation concluded that the aircraft's continued drift to the right of the runway while still airborne, and the late attempt by the pilot to discontinue the landing, resulted in its inadvertent impact with the pile of felled trees.
|Date:||20 July 2004||Investigation status:||Completed|
|Time:||1129 hours EST|
|State:||New South Wales||Occurrence type:||Control - Other|
|Release date:||05 November 2004||Occurrence category:||Accident|
|Report status:||Final||Highest injury level:||Minor|
|Aircraft manufacturer||Cessna Aircraft Company|
|Type of operation||Private|
|Damage to aircraft||Substantial|
|Departure point||Canberra, ACT|
|Destination||Medlow Bath, NSW|
|Role||Class of licence||Hours on type||Hours total|