Aviation safety investigations & reports

Collision with obstacle - Auster J5, VH-AFT, near Tyabb ALA, 15 December 2011

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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While attempting a takeoff from an improvised runway at about 1800 Eastern Daylight-saving Time on 15 December 2011, an Auster Aircraft Ltd J5F (Auster), registered VH-AFT (AFT), failed to climb sufficiently to clear a fence in a paddock 1 km south of Tyabb aeroplane landing area (ALA), Victoria. The aircraft was seriously damaged when it came to rest inverted. The owner-pilot, the only occupant, received minor injuries.

The pressure perceived by the pilot to get the aircraft back to Tyabb may have lead him to make the decision to takeoff in less than ideal circumstances. An earlier successful forced landing may also have contributed to the accident in that it boosted the pilot's confidence in his ability to retrieve the aircraft from the paddock.

This accident highlights the need for pilots to be aware that pressure can come about for a variety of reasons, and of the importance of understanding one's personal limitations. By making decisions pre-flight, being mindful of pressures and by setting and sticking to personnel minimums, pilots can reduce the risk of being involved in an accident.

Prior to conducting any unusual operation, a pilot should carefully consider all options and seek the most accurate information available. Threat and error management (TEM) training has the potential to provide significant safety benefits to the general aviation (GA) community.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 3.63MB]
Alternate: [Download  DOC: 9.81MB]
General details
Date: 15 December 2011   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1800 EDT   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): near Tyabb ALA    
State: Victoria   Occurrence type: Collision with terrain  
Release date: 24 May 2012   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Minor  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Auster Aircraft Ltd  
Aircraft model J5  
Aircraft registration VH-AFT  
Serial number 2712  
Type of operation General Aviation-Unknown  
Damage to aircraft Serious  
Departure point Tyabb, NSW  
Destination Tyabb, NSW  
Last update 14 November 2018