On 23 October 2010, a De Havilland Canada DHC-2 MK 1 floatplane, registered VH-PCF, was being operated on a charter passenger flight from Green Island to Cairns, Queensland.
During the takeoff, the pilot applied right rudder to counteract the aircraft's engine torque component and right aileron to compensate for the crosswind. Immediately after becoming airborne, the aircraft began turning to the left. The pilot rejected the takeoff and the aircraft landed heavily, sustaining serious damage. The pilot could not recall if the aircraft had encountered a gust of wind after becoming airborne.
Shortly after, a boat arrived from Green Island and the passengers were assisted to shore. None of the aircraft occupants received injuries.
At the time of the accident, the wind conditions experienced at Green Island were close to the maximum operational limitations stipulated by the aircraft operator.
This accident is a reminder of the challenging conditions that pilots operating in an open water environment may be faced with. It is crucial that pilots have an appreciation of the existing wind conditions prior to the takeoff, and in the event of unexpected wind gusts during the takeoff, the pilot responds appropriately. Under these circumstances, it is important for pilots to not only be aware of aircraft and operator limitations, but also their own personal limitations.