On 25 June 2015, at about 1111 Eastern Standard Time (EST), a de Havilland Canada DHC-2 amphibian aircraft, registered VH-AWI (AWI), taxied at Hardy Lagoon aircraft landing area (ALA), for a flight to Shute Harbour, Queensland, with the pilot and seven passengers on board.

The Hardy Lagoon ALA had marker buoys to identify the location of the bomboras that were near each of the four take-off and landing areas. As per company policy, the pilot selected to start the take-off at buoy A on the orange run and then turn onto the yellow run. This combination of take-off runs allowed the pilot the maximum take-off distance, for the aircraft’s take-off weight.

The pilot taxied AWI to buoy A and lined up on the orange run. They then advanced the throttle slowly to commence the take-off. As AWI approached buoy B the engine was not at full power. The pilot commenced the turn onto the yellow run utilising the water rudders, which were in the down position. Coming out of the turn the pilot retracted the water rudders and applied right rudder to stop the turn and line up on the yellow run.

The pilot looked inside the cockpit to check the engine instrumentation and to see if the engine had reached full power. When the pilot looked outside again, they noticed that the nose of the aircraft had drifted too far to the left. AWI struck and passed over the Q coral reef bombora and the pilot closed the engine throttle. AWI continued moving forward, the left front skid slid onto the P bombora, and the aircraft came to a stop.

The pilot and seven passengers were uninjured and the aircraft sustained minor damage.

The incident highlights the importance of pre-flight decision making and planning for emergencies and abnormal situations for the particular aerodrome. A thorough pre-flight self-brief covering the different emergency scenarios may help to minimise safety critical decisions during a high workload situation such as a take-off.


Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 47

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