On 14 September 2010, the pilot of a Cessna A188B/A1 Agtruck aircraft, registered VH-KZF, was conducting aerial spraying operations about 25 km east of Geraldton Airport, Western Australia.
The pilot commenced the takeoff from an elevated, 700m long gravel airstrip on the eleventh of 12 flights, during which the aircraft did not achieve the required take-off performance. In an attempt to become airborne before the end of the useable runway surface, the pilot elected to dump some of the chemical load and continued the takeoff.
The diminished aircraft performance was such that, despite the reduced chemical load, the aircraft did not accelerate to the required take-off speed before the runway overshoot area. The aircraft made contact with a tree stump that was embedded in thick weed and likely further reduced the aircraft's ability to sustain flight. The aircraft subsequently collided with terrain a short distance from the departure end of the airstrip.
The pilot was fatally injured and the aircraft was seriously damaged by the impact forces and an intense post-impact fire.
The investigation did not identify any organisational or systemic issues that might adversely affect the future safety of aviation operations. However, the accident does provide a timely reminder of the need for performance planning and the continual assessment of the effect of changing conditions on that planning.