Summary

Summary

On 25 March 2011, a Cessna 172 aircraft, registered VH-SMY, departed Geraldton on a charter passenger flight to East Wallabi Island (in the Abrolhos Islands group), Western Australia.

While on final approach to the Island, the nose of the aircraft was positioned at a 45° angle to the runway to remain aligned with the centreline due to gusty winds. The wind conditions appeared to be from an east to south-easterly direction. When at about 500 ft the pilot elected to overfly the runway.

A second approach was commenced, but the wind was again too strong for a landing with a go-around conducted. Despite full power being applied the engine did not perform as expected during the climb for another circuit.

During downwind, the pilot noted that the windsock was moving considerably. On final, the aircraft was again at a 45° angle and experiencing wind buffet.

During the landing flare, the aircraft floated, before touching down about half way along the runway. Determining the aircraft could not be stopped by the runway end, the pilot elected to go-around. He moved the throttle full forward, but the engine did not deliver full power. The aircraft momentarily became airborne before contacting a sand dune and coming to rest upright in the water.

The pilot reported that, due to the recent commencement of his employment with the operator, he wanted to complete the flight.

This accident highlights the need for pilots to be aware that self-imposed undue pressure, can come about for a variety of reasons (time or task-oriented). It is important to understand one's personal limitations, especially when flying in or around adverse weather conditions.