Aviation safety investigations & reports

Collision with terrain involving De Havilland DHC-2, VH-AWD, 70 km NNE Hamilton Island, Qld, on 13 March 2017

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed

Final Report

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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   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Hamilton Island Airport, NNE 70 km (Hardy Reef)    
State: Queensland   Occurrence type: Collision with terrain  
Release date: 24 May 2017   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

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  
Last update 14 November 2018