Final Report


On 5 September 2016, at about 0737 Central Standard Time, a Cessna 441 aircraft, registered VH-NAX (NAX), departed from Adelaide Airport on a charter flight to Coorabie aircraft landing area (ALA), South Australia. On board were the pilot and nine passengers.

At about 30 NM from Coorabie, the pilot of NAX broadcast on the common traffic advisory frequency advising that they were inbound to the aerodrome. The pilot elected to conduct a straight-in approach to runway 32.

At about 0900, when the aircraft was on final approach, the pilot reported that the aircraft decelerated suddenly. At the same time, there was a slight shudder of the right engine and a change in the sound of the propeller pitch. The pilot immediately increased the power to both engines and levelled the aircraft off. The pilot checked the engine instruments and the annunciator panel, and there were no abnormal indications.

The pilot then conducted a go-around and a left circuit at about 1,100 ft above ground level. The aircraft subsequently landed on runway 32. While back-tracking, the pilot sighted a power pole on a hill beyond the runway 32 threshold (in the direction from which the aircraft had just approached). After shutting the aircraft down, the pilot noticed damage to the right propeller blades and suspected that the aircraft had struck a powerline. Witnesses on the ground confirmed that they had seen and heard the aircraft strike the powerline. 

The pilot and passengers were not injured. The aircraft sustained minor damage.

ATSB research report An overview of spatial disorientation as a factor in aviation accidents and incidents stated that ‘runway illusions can be mitigated against by pilots being aware of the characteristics of their destination airfield in advance, and by being aware of the potential for such illusions to occur’.


Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 55

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