On 26 April 2011, a Beech Aircraft Corporation A36 (Bonanza) aircraft, registered VH-CKX, departed Geraldton on a charter passenger flight to East Wallabi Island (in the Abrolhos Islands group), Western Australia.
When on final approach, the pilot reported that the aircraft was about 50 ft lower than normal, but he was not concerned. Soon after, the pilot glanced to the left at a maritime channel marker for about 2-3 seconds to ensure separation with the aircraft was adequate. The pilot then looked back at the runway and realised that the aircraft was too low. He immediately applied rearward pressure on the control column in an attempt to clear sand dunes. The aircraft collided with the sand dunes and bounced, before landing 50-60 m along the runway.
As a result of this occurrence, the aircraft operator has advised the ATSB that they have incorporated a checklist into their check and training procedures that details the assessment requirements when determining a pilot's competency for operating at the Abrolhos Islands.
This accident demonstrates the importance of establishing and maintaining the desired approach path by simultaneously adjusting the aircraft's power setting and attitude. It also highlights the unexpected nature of distractions and the impact they can have on aircraft operations.