On 11 April 2015, the student pilot of a Piper PA-28 aircraft, registered VH-TXH (TXH), taxied at Moorabbin Airport, Victoria, for a solo flight to the local training area. At about 1136 Eastern Standard Time, the aerodrome controller – east (ADC1) cleared TXH for take-off.

At about 1137, the pilot of a Cessna 172 aircraft, registered VH-EUU (EUU), contacted the surface movement controller (SMC) on the Ground frequency and requested a clearance to taxi for a local private flight, with three passengers on board. The SMC cleared EUU to taxi to runway 35R via taxiway A, and the pilot commenced taxiing.

The pilot of TXH reported that the take-off run was normal, but after rotation, the engine intermittently ran roughly, and then regained full power. At about 1138, the pilot advised the ADC1 of engine trouble and requested a return to land. The ADC1 observed that TXH did not appear to be climbing out normally and was then quite low, and offered the pilot runways 22 or 31 if required. The pilot elected to use runway 22.

The ADC1 advised the SMC and the aerodrome controller – west (ADC2) of an aircraft with engine trouble, and coordinated with the SMC for runway 22. At about 1139, the ADC1 cleared TXH to land. The pilot of TXH conducted a tight right turn towards runway 22 and the aircraft touched down about one third of the way along the runway. The ADC1 and SMC observed that TXH appeared to be still travelling fast.

The pilot of TXH assessed that he was not going to be able to stop the aircraft prior to the end of the sealed runway, but that there was a suitable grassed overshoot area beyond it. The ADC2 was standing up, sighted EUU on taxiway A, and alerted the SMC. As TXH approached the end of runway 22, the pilot sighted EUU on taxiway A to his right, and veered to the right in an attempt to pass behind EUU. The SMC directed EUU to stop. The pilot of EUU braked immediately and sighted TXH, but assessed that if he stopped there, TXH would collide squarely with EUU, so he released the brakes and progressed forwards. The left wing of TXH then collided with the tail of EUU.

The pilot of TXH was not injured. The pilot and passengers of EUU were treated for minor injuries. Both aircraft sustained substantial damage.

Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 41


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