On 27 February 2015, the pilot of a Fletcher FU-24 aircraft, registered VH-KXT (KXT), and the pilot of a Gippsland GA-200 aircraft, registered VH-AGZ (AGZ), were conducting aerial agricultural operations on a property 13 km south-west of Cootamundra, New South Wales.

The pilots were using two runways, one aligned in approximately the 01/19 direction, and the other 06/24. Both of the aircraft were taking off from runway 06, however AGZ was landing on runway 24, and KXT was landing on runway 19. With both aircraft taking a similar amount of time to spread their fertiliser load, they were in an alternating sequence at the landing area.

After completing spreading one area, the pilot of AGZ reloaded and departed to locate the next paddock to be spread. It took about 5 minutes to determine the boundaries and commence spreading. At about 1015 Eastern Daylight-saving Time, as KXT was on final approach for runway 19, the pilot looked for AGZ on approach to runway 24, but did not see the aircraft. At about the same time, AGZ was on approach to land on runway 24 and the pilot looked for KXT approaching or on the runway, but did not sight that aircraft.

As KXT landed, the pilot was momentarily distracted as he observed the loader truck near the fence. AGZ was in the landing roll on runway 24 when the pilot sighted KXT about 10 m from his right wing. KXT was then in the landing roll on runway 19 and the pilot returned his gaze from the loader to the front of the aircraft, just as the propeller collided with the right wingtip and then the tail of AGZ. 

Both aircraft sustained substantial damage and the pilots were not injured.

The pilot of KXT commented that this incident highlights the importance of a thorough briefing between pilots prior to commencing operations.


Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 40