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On 19 May 2013, the pilot of a Pietenpol Air Camper commenced pre-flight checks in a paddock behind his home in St Leonards, about 9 km north of Launceston Airport, Tasmania. The pilot was taking a passenger on a scenic flight around Launceston.

The pilot had operated the aircraft from the paddock in the past, but not for a few years. Prior to landing in the paddock, a week earlier, the pilot had surveyed the area by car.

The aircraft was operating normally and became airborne at about 35 knots indicated airspeed. The pilot held the aircraft low, aiming to clear a fence at the end of the paddock. Nearing the fence, the pilot heard a loud noise and the nose of the aircraft jolted to the right.

The airspeed quickly decreased, as the pilot attempted to hold the wings level. After initially climbing to about 10 ft, the aircraft impacted the ground, breaking the landing gear. The aircraft skidded on its nose and then pitched over onto its back, breaking the propeller.

Both the pilot and the front seat passenger exited the aircraft without injury. On surveying the accident site, the pilot realised the aircraft’s landing gear had caught the top wire of an electric fence he had not been aware of, located a short distance before the paddock’s main fence.

When not operating from a designated landing area, pilots should ensure the area is suitable. A thorough survey of the area to be used for take-off and landing should be completed prior to use.


Aviation Short investigation Bulletin Issue 21

Download Final Report
[ Download PDF: 328KB]
General details
Date: 19 May 2013 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 14:27 EST  
Location   (show map):Launceston Airport, 9 km north Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Tasmania Occurrence type: Collision with terrain 
Release date: 07 August 2013 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Serious Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Amateur Built Aircraft 
Aircraft model: PIETENPOL 
Aircraft registration: VH-ARW 
Serial number: 320-34 
Type of operation: Private 
Damage to aircraft: Minor 
Departure point:St Leonards, Tas.
Destination:St Leonards, Tas.
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Last update 06 June 2014