Aviation safety investigations & reports

Runway excursion involving Piper PA-39, VH-MMN, Innamincka Township (ALA), SA, 26 October 2012

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 152KB]
Alternate: [Download  DOC: 2.03MB]

On 26 October 2012, a Piper PA-39 (Twin Comanche) aircraft, registered VH‑MMN (MMN), was landing at the Innamincka Township aeroplane landing area (ALA), South Australia. On board the aircraft were the pilot and a passenger.

MMN joined the circuit, and when on the downwind leg, the pilot noted that the windsock was indicating a strong crosswind. As a precaution, the pilot elected to increase the aircraft’s airspeed for the approach by about 5 knots and selected ½ flaps (about 15 degrees).

The pilot turned the aircraft onto final about 200 ft higher than normal. At that time, the windsock was showing a 15 kt crosswind, from the south-west. The pilot focused on the crosswind and ensured that the aircraft remained aligned with the runway.

During the landing, at about 100 ft above the runway, the flare was commenced. The aircraft floated and touched down about a quarter the way along the runway. The pilot reduced the throttle setting to the idle position and applied light braking.

When the aircraft was about half way along the runway, the pilot realised that the aircraft’s speed was too fast and he applied full braking. The pilot determined that it was too late to commence a go‑around. He reported that the braking appeared to be ineffective due to the surface of the runway and the aircraft continued beyond the runway end. The left landing gear struck a depression, and then the aircraft spun to the left and came to rest in a 1 m deep gully. The pilot and passenger exited the aircraft, the pilot received a minor injury whille the passenger was uninjured. The aircraft sustained serious damage.

This accident demonstrates the importance of assessing the operational and environmental conditions at the time in order to determine the most suitable landing type. Pilots should also establish a decision point along the runway at which a go-around should be initiated if the requirements for a safe landing can no longer be met. Additionally, it highlights the benefits of using all available resources, including persons on the ground, for gathering information on the actual conditions.

Aviation Short Investigation Bulletin – Issue 15

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 152KB]
Alternate: [Download  DOC: 2.03MB]
General details
Date: 26 October 2012   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1430 CSUT   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Innamincka Township (ALA)    
State: New South Wales   Occurrence type: Runway excursion  
Release date: 27 February 2013   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Piper Aircraft Corp  
Aircraft model PA-39  
Aircraft registration VH-MMN  
Serial number 39-26  
Type of operation Private  
Damage to aircraft Serious  
Departure point Broken Hill, NSW  
Destination Innamincka, SA  
Last update 14 November 2018