Aviation safety investigations & reports

Wheels up landing involving a Cessna 441, VH-SMO, Honeymoon (ALA), South Australia on 3 September 2013

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 3 September 2013, at about 1531 Central Standard Time, a Cessna 441 aircraft, registered VH‑SMO, departed Adelaide on a charter flight to the Honeymoon aeroplane landing area (ALA), South Australia.

While en route, the pilot determined that the wind conditions were favourable for a straight‑in‑approach to runway 01 at Honeymoon.

During the descent, the pilot selected the first stage of flap. The pilot reported that normally he would lower the landing gear and confirm that it had been extended, but on this occasion he could not recall performing this action.

The pilot then selected the second stage of flap and established the aircraft on a 5 NM final to runway 01. When about 500 ft above ground level (AGL), the pilot commenced his pre-landing checklist. After selecting full flap, the first item on the checklist, the pilot looked at the windsock to confirm the wind and observed 4-5 emus on the right side of the airstrip. He watched them run away from the airstrip and then continued the approach, but inadvertently omitted to complete the remaining checklist items, which included confirming the landing gear had been extended. The aircraft subsequently landed with the landing gear retracted.

This incident highlights the impact distractions can have of aircraft operations, particularly during a critical phase of flight.

Aviation Short Investigation Bulletin - Issue 24

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General details
Date: 03 September 2013   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 16:27 CST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Broken Hill, West 81 km    
State: South Australia   Occurrence type: Wheels up landing  
Release date: 10 December 2013   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Minor  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Cessna Aircraft Company  
Aircraft model 441  
Aircraft registration VH-SMO  
Serial number 4410132  
Type of operation Charter  
Sector Turboprop  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Adelaide, SA  
Destination Honeymoon, SA  
Last update 14 November 2018