On 29 May 2015, at about 1145 Eastern Standard Time (EST), a Victa 115 Airtourer aircraft, registered VH-MUV, departed from Leongatha Airport, Victoria, for crosswind circuit training, with an instructor and student on board.

The student pilot was flying the first circuit. The instructor reported that the circuit was normal and the approach was stable up to about 100 ft above ground level (AGL) when the student put the final stage of flap out. As the aircraft flared to land on runway 22, a strong gust of wind blew the aircraft off the runway centreline to the left and the aircraft bounced hard. The student initiated a go-around, applying full power, with the aircraft still drifting further to the left. As the aircraft was not climbing, the instructor called ’taking over’ and the student handed over control of the aircraft. The instructor lowered the nose of the aircraft to gain airspeed.

The aircraft continued to drift further away from the runway centre line. The student noticed the flaps were in the down position and thinking that it would assist, and without checking with the instructor, retracted the flaps to the up position. The aircraft descended and about 100 m past the threshold of runway 22, the aircraft collided with the airport perimeter fence. After a further 20 m, the aircraft flipped over the fence and came to rest upside down. The instructor and student exited the aircraft quickly through the broken canopy, as fuel was gushing from the fuel tanks. The instructor and student pilot received minor injuries and the aircraft was substantially damaged.

It is important in flight training to have a positive exchange of flight controls. The US Federal Aviation Administration publication Aviation Instructor’s Handbook, available from the FAA website, includes a section on the Positive Exchange of Flight Controls. The handbook provides guidance to use for the positive exchange of flight controls.


Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin Issue 44

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