Aviation safety investigations & reports

Collision with terrain involving GROB G-115C2, VH-BFW near Merredin, WA on 4 February 2014

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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At about 0700 WST on 4 February, 2014 a student pilot departed Merredin Aerodrome, Western Australia for his first solo flight to the training area. He was flying a Grob G-115 aircraft, registered VH-BFW (BFW).

The wind was a light easterly when he departed to the north from runway 10.  When the training area practice sequences were completed, he returned to the aerodrome by overflying the airfield at 3500 ft, prior to joining the circuit. He noted the windsock now indicated a left crosswind, but as there was already an aircraft landing on runway 10, he elected to continue and join for this runway.

After completing crosswind, downwind and base legs of the circuit he configured the aircraft for the final approach and landing, including selecting full flap. As he commenced the round out, he realised the aircraft was about 15-20 ft above the ground and too high to continue with the landing, so commenced a go around. He applied full power and a small amount of rudder, but mindful of a previous instruction not to move the elevator forward while close to the ground, did not make any other changes to the aircraft configuration.

The application of power caused the nose of the aircraft to rise. It then encountered a gust of wind, which pushed the nose even higher, with a resultant loss of airspeed. The stall warning started to sound and the aircraft began to sink. The student attempted to recover the aircraft from the stall, but shortly after, the left wing struck the ground. The aircraft bounced back into the air and struck the ground again. The student was not injured but the aircraft was substantially damaged.

As a result of this accident, and to maximise safety at the flying school, management have split the Safety and Quality Manager position into two distinct positions. This will allow each incumbent to work separately, to maximise safety at the flying school. Management have also briefed all flight instructors on the importance of using correct phraseology when briefing and teaching students; as well as the importance of their role to ensure a safe environment for the students.


Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 30

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[Download  PDF: 559KB]
General details
Date: 04 February 2014   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 8:40 WST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Merredin (ALA)    
State: Western Australia   Occurrence type: Collision with terrain  
Release date: 26 May 2014   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Grob - Burkhart Flugzeugbau  
Aircraft model G115  
Aircraft registration VH-BFW  
Serial number 82042/C2  
Type of operation Flying Training  
Sector Piston  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Merredin, WA  
Destination Merredin, WA  
Last update 14 November 2018