On 19 February 2014, at about 1030 Eastern Daylight-savings Time, a Beech A36 (Bonanza) aircraft, registered VH-EUB, departed Lilydale aeroplane landing area (ALA), Victoria, for a training flight, with an instructor and pilot-under-instruction on board.

While the crew were completing training exercises in the local area, a storm cell with heavy rain passed over the airport. The pilot then broadcast an inbound call and returned to Lilydale, joining downwind for a landing on runway 18 Left (18 L). The pilot conducted pre-landing checks and confirmed that the brakes had pressure. He observed that the windsock indicated runway 18. The aircraft arrived over the runway threshold about 50 ft above ground level at about 85 kt indicated airspeed. This was slightly higher and faster than an optimal approach.

The aircraft touched down about 250-300 m along the runway and the pilot applied the brakes, however the aircraft did not decelerate. The instructor took over the control of the aircraft and commenced applying the brakes, then releasing and reapplying them. The brakes remained ineffective at gaining traction. At this stage the instructor assessed that it was too late to commence a go-around and that the aircraft was aquaplaning on the wet runway.

With less than 100 m of runway remaining, the pilot and instructor both applied right rudder in an attempt to steer the aircraft away from an embankment located about 20 m beyond the end of the runway. The aircraft rotated 90° to the right and continued to slide in the direction of the runway. The aircraft came to rest on top of the embankment and the left main landing gear collapsed.  

After exiting the aircraft, the instructor observed that the wind had veered and that a tailwind may have contributed to the incident.

This incident highlights the importance of conducting a go-around as soon as landing conditions appear unfavourable.


Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 29