Aviation safety investigations & reports

Weather related precautionary landing - VH-AJZ, 24 km SE of Geraldton aerodrome WA, 21 March 2010

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 21 March 2010, a Gippsland Aeronautics GA8 Airvan aircraft, registered VH-AJZ, departed East Wallabi Island, in the Abrolhos Islands group, for a return flight to Geraldton, Western Australia (WA), under visual flight rules. On departure, the pilot reported observing a line of thunderstorms with frequent lightning, oriented in about a north-south direction, and approaching Geraldton from the west.

At about 27 km from Geraldton, flying through moderate rain, the pilot noted a vacuum pump failure. At about 11 km, the pilot encountered hail, and at 6 km a '...blanket of rain...' which had obscured the aerodrome, and turbulence which had increased '...quite dramatically...'.

The pilot turned the aircraft away from the line of storms to the south of Geraldton, and at 24 km and at about 1500, elected to conduct a precautionary landing. The pilot selected a suitable landing area in a paddock and landed the aircraft. The aircraft was undamaged and there were no injuries to the pilot or passengers.

Subsequent to this occurrence, the operator provided its pilots with a means for more reliable access to up to date weather information when on the ground at the Abrolhos Islands group.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 3.07MB]
General details
Date: 21 March 2010   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1500 WST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): 24 km SE of Geraldton aerodrome    
State: Western Australia   Occurrence type: Unforecast weather  
Release date: 29 June 2010   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Gippsland Aeronautics Pty Ltd  
Aircraft model GA8  
Aircraft registration VH-AJZ  
Serial number GA8-05-096  
Type of operation Charter  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Abrolhos Islands, Indian Ocean  
Destination Geraldton, WA  
Last update 14 November 2018