On 21 October 2013, an Air Tractor AT-502B aircraft, registered VH-FLH, was conducting rice sowing operations north-east of Deniliquin, New South Wales. At about 1145 Eastern Daylight-savings Time (EDT), the pilot was conducting his fourth landing for the day onto the property airstrip located about 11 NM north-east of Deniliquin Airport.

The pilot reported that the approach was normal, at an airspeed of about 58-60 kt, with a predominately south-west wind of about 5-8 kt. The wind fluctuated between the west and south, but remained light.

During the landing, the main wheels touched down first, followed by the tail, which was locked into place. Shortly after, the aircraft suddenly veered right about 45°. The pilot considered a go around, but was concerned that the aircraft would not clear the boundary fence running along the side of the runway. Consequently, he elected to continue the landing and selected reverse thrust, applied left brake, left rudder and left aileron in an attempt to re-align the aircraft with the runway.

The wheels began to grab and the left undercarriage leg detached causing the aircraft to swing facing about 90 ° from the runway.

The pilot was not injured, but the aircraft was substantially damaged. An investigation could not determine what led to the loss of ground control, however a wind gust may have been a contributing factor.


Aviation Short Investigation Bulletin Issue - 27