On 12 April 2015, the pilot of a Cessna 404 aircraft, registered VH-JOR, conducted a charter flight with five passengers, from Derby to Pantijan aeroplane landing area (ALA), Western Australia. Prior to departure, the pilot received information regarding the serviceability of the airstrip at Pantijan.

At about 1430 Western Standard Time, the aircraft arrived overhead Pantijan. The pilot slowed the aircraft and descended to about 700 ft above ground level, and conducted a circuit and a visual inspection of the entire length of the runway.

The pilot then conducted an approach, to land on runway 02. The aircraft touched down at the pilot’s aiming point, about 50 m beyond the threshold, and the pilot applied moderate braking. The aircraft continued along the centre of the runway and, as it slowed through about 60 kt, the pilot applied left rudder to turn the aircraft slightly to the left and increase separation from an overturned termite mound. He felt the rudder pedals move to the full left position and the aircraft turned to the left. The pilot immediately applied right rudder in an attempt to counteract the turn, but the aircraft initially continued to veer left towards the edge of the runway.

As the aircraft veered off the runway and entered longer grass, the pilot regained control of the aircraft and it started to turn right and return towards the runway. The nose wheel then collided with a runway marker and collapsed, resulting in the aircraft nose contacting the ground. The aircraft skidded to a stop. Two passengers sustained minor injuries; the other passengers and the pilot were not injured. The aircraft sustained substantial damage.

Airfields that are used infrequently or seasonally, potentially pose significant hazards to aviation. This incident highlights the importance of identification and management of any risks that might be associated with such an airfield.

Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 41


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