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On 9 August 2016, at about 1310 Eastern Standard Time, a Cessna A188B aircraft, registered VH-BCT, taxied to depart from a private strip near Hay Airport, New South Wales to complete a run to spread fertiliser on the property. The pilot was the only person on board the aerial agriculture operation.

During the take-off, the pilot noticed a vehicle traveling along a road at the beginning of the spreading run for that field. The pilot climbed the aircraft to about 200 ft and commenced an orbit to allow the vehicle to move out of the way.

During the 30-degree turn to the left, the aircraft started an aerodynamic buffet. The pilot moved the engine controls to full power but did not notice a difference in engine noise or a change in the aircraft performance. The pilot levelled the aircraft wings, lowered the nose to increase speed and with no change in the performance, began jettisoning the load. The pilot elected to return to the airstrip to check the operation of the engine and commenced a gentle turn to the left. The aircraft continued to buffet and the altitude continued to decrease, despite having full engine power selected and the load being jettisoned. When it became evident that the aircraft was not going to make the strip, the pilot elected to land straight ahead. The aircraft collided with the ground on the flat area between two channels. The landing gear and propeller detached and the aircraft came to rest on the top of a channel. The pilot was uninjured and the aircraft was substantially damaged.

The accident highlights the importance of taking positive action and maintaining aircraft control in both turning back to the strip or conducting a forced landing, while being aware of flare energy and aircraft stall speeds.


Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 57

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General details
Date: 09 August 2016 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 13:30 EST  
Location   (show map):near Hay Airport (Mungadal Station) Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: New South Wales Occurrence type: Engine failure or malfunction 
Release date: 09 February 2017 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Cessna Aircraft Company 
Aircraft model: A188B 
Aircraft registration: VH-BCT 
Serial number: 18803406T 
Type of operation: Aerial Work 
Sector: Piston 
Damage to aircraft: Substantial 
Departure point:near Hay Airport, NSW
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Last update 14 November 2018