On 17 June, 2014 a PA28RT-201, Piper Arrow aircraft registered VH-ADU was returning to Mangalore Airport, Victoria for the final leg of a dual navigation exercise.

The straight in approach onto runway 18 went as planned, although there was some turbulence from a line of trees, late on the approach.

During the flare the aircraft ballooned, and the instructor called ‘taking over’. The student relinquished his control prior to the instructor gaining full control of the aircraft. The incorrectly trimmed aircraft rapidly dropped its nose. The instructor used a great deal of force in an attempt to bring the nose back into the landing position. Just as he got the nose level, the aircraft landed heavily on all three wheels.

The aircraft bounced so the instructor initiated a go-around. The student, flew part of the circuit, but was apprehensive about landing.  The aircraft again ballooned in the flare. The instructor took control and landed without incident.

The United States Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration Aviation Instructor’s Handbook 2008 (p 8-9) devotes a section to the Positive Exchange of Flight Controls.

This publication states that numerous accidents have occurred due to a lack of communication or misunderstanding regarding who had actual control of the aircraft, particularly between students and flight instructors. It goes on to say that during flight training, there must always be a clear understanding between students and flight instructors about who has control of the aircraft.

Further reading is available at:

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) Flight Instructor Manual (2) (2007)– Aeroplane, directs instructors to repeatedly practice the “handing over and taking over” drills, in the early air sequences, to prevent any confusion on who is manipulating the controls.

The CASA Flight Instructor Manual is available at:


Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 36