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On 13 March 2017, at about 1700 Eastern Standard Time (EST), a de Havilland DHC-2 seaplane, registered VH-AWD, taxied at Hardy Lagoon aircraft landing area (ALA), for a charter flight to Shute Harbour, Queensland. On board the aircraft were the pilot and five passengers.

Hardy Lagoon had four waterways, marked by buoys, for take-off and landing. The wind on the day indicated to the pilot that the northerly waterway was the most into wind waterway. In order to maximise the take-off distance available the pilot applied power to start the take-off run from a position to the south-east of the northerly waterway. Shortly after applying full power, and before the aircraft entered the northerly waterway, both floats struck submerged reef, which brought the aircraft to a stop. The pilot shut down the aircraft and assessed the passengers for injuries and the aircraft for damage. The passengers were uninjured and the aircraft was stuck on the reef at the point of low tide.

The pilot commented that there were a number of factors, specific to their own operation, which could minimise the risk of a similar occurrence. They noted there are too many variables in the operation to identify all possible scenarios when in training. Their most important lesson was the need to ask ‘am I safe’, particularly in ambiguous conditions, and ‘if I continue on this plan, will I remain safe?’

Part of Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 60

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General details
Date: 13 March 2017 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 17:00 EST  
Location   (show map):Hamilton Island Airport, NNE 70 km (Hardy Reef) Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Queensland Occurrence type: Collision with terrain 
Release date: 24 May 2017 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: de Havilland Canada 
Aircraft model: DHC-2 
Aircraft registration: VH-AWD 
Serial number: 1066 
Type of operation: Charter 
Sector: Piston 
Damage to aircraft: Substantial 
Departure point:Hardy Reef, Qld
Destination:Shute Harbour, Qld
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Last update 11 July 2018