Aviation safety investigations & reports

Trim system malfunction involving a Fairchild SA227, VH-UZI, at Rockhampton Airport, Qld on 6 August 2014

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 6 August 2014, at about 0500 Eastern Standard Time (EST), the pilot of a Fairchild SA227 aircraft, registered VH-UZI, conducted a pre-flight inspection and weight and balance calculations for a freight charter flight from Rockhampton to Townsville, Queensland.

During the take-off run, the pilot reported all indications and performance were normal passing 70 knots. Passing V1, as the pilot increased the back pressure on the control yoke to rotate the aircraft for take-off, the control column felt heavy and the aircraft nose wheel did not lift off the ground. The pilot continued to increase the back trim and back pressure on the control yoke and the ‘out of trim’ warning sounded. The pilot rejected the take-off, applied maximum braking and reverse thrust.

After taxiing the aircraft back to the parking bay, the pilot requested the freight be re-weighed. The pilot then recalculated the aircraft weight and balance with the actual freight distribution and found the centre of gravity slightly more forward than the original load sheet position.

The pilot set the stabiliser trim gauge in the cockpit to read a nose up attitude, and then externally inspected the position of the stabiliser. He observed the stabiliser in a neutral position and therefore determined that the gauge did not accurately indicate the stabiliser position. The pilot assessed that the combination of the incorrectly loaded freight causing a more forward centre of gravity and the inaccurate stabiliser trim gauge led to the out of trim warning and overly heavy control pressure required for the attempted take-off.

The stabilizer trim potentiometer in the aircraft was replaced which resolved the fault.


Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 36

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 99KB]
Alternate: [Download  DOCX: 402KB]
General details
Date: 06 August 2014   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 0500 EST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Rockhampton Airport    
State: Queensland   Occurrence type: Control issues  
Release date: 03 December 2014   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Fairchild Industries Inc  
Aircraft model SA227-AT  
Aircraft registration VH-UZI  
Serial number AT-570  
Type of operation Charter  
Sector Turboprop  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Rockhampton, Qld  
Last update 14 November 2018