Aviation safety investigations & reports

Aircraft control issue involving a Liberty XL-2, VH-CZS, at Camden Airport, NSW on 29 October 2015

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 29 October 2015, a pilot and a flight instructor prepared to conduct circuits at Camden Airport, New South Wales, in a Liberty XL-2 aircraft, registered VH-CZS (CZS). The pilot conducted a pre-flight inspection of the aircraft, with no defects found.

At about 1140 Eastern Daylight-saving Time, the aircraft took off for the first circuit. The pilot completed two normal circuits with touch-and-go landings on runway 06, and climbed out on runway heading for the third circuit.

During the climb, the pilot felt backward pressure on the control stick, and selected the electric pitch trim to a slightly nose down position. Passing about 700 ft, the pilot turned the aircraft onto the downwind leg. Suddenly the control stick came back towards the pilot, and the aircraft pitched to a nose up attitude.

The pilot pushed forward on the stick with both hands, to a full forward position. The pilot asked the instructor to adjust the pitch trim to a more nose down position, to try to return the aircraft to a level attitude, and handed control of the aircraft to the instructor. The aircraft descended rapidly in a nose up attitude, and the aircraft then pitched nose down.

As the aircraft descended through about 700 ft, the pilot made a Mayday call advising of a control issue. The instructor elected to conduct a forced landing in a paddock ahead of the aircraft. During the landing roll, the aircraft collided with two fences and trees. The pilot and instructor were uninjured, and the aircraft sustained substantial damage. The reason for the control issue was not determined.

Faced with an abnormal situation, the pilots communicated effectively, and collaborated to share the workload.


Aviation Short Inveatigations Bulletin Issue 46

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General details
Date: 29 October 2015   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1200 ESuT   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Camden Airport    
State: New South Wales   Occurrence type: Control issues  
Release date: 28 January 2016   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Liberty Aerospace Incorporated  
Aircraft model XL-2  
Aircraft registration VH-CZS  
Serial number 0090  
Type of operation Flying Training  
Sector Piston  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Camden, NSW  
Destination Camden, NSW  
Last update 14 November 2018