Aviation occurrence briefs

Incorrect configuration involving Piper Aircraft Corp PA-28-161 at Moorabbin Airport, Vic., on 27 May 2018

Status: Completed
Investigation completed


Occurrence Briefs are concise reports that detail the facts surrounding a transport safety occurrence, as received in the initial notification and any follow-up enquiries. They provide an opportunity to share safety messages in the absence of an investigation.

What happened

On 27 May 2018, a student pilot undertaking their second solo flight in a Piper Aircraft 28-161 aircraft departed Moorabbin Airport, Victoria to conduct three circuits.

During the first touch-and-go landing on runway 35R, the pilot inadvertently missed retracting the landing flap. Immediately upon becoming airborne, the pilot noticed the incorrect flap setting and retracted the flaps resulting in the aircraft sinking onto the runway. The pilot then rejected the take-off, veered off the runway and collided with a sign resulting in minor damage.

Safety action

As a result of this occurrence, the flying school where the student pilot is conducting training has advised the ATSB of the following:

  • The pilot will undertake additional training prior to any additional solo flights.
  • This incident has been used as an example to educate other student pilots about threat and error management and potential loss of control.

Safety message

After take-off a partial or complete retraction of the flaps at very low airspeed can result in a loss of lift, resulting in the aircraft settling back onto the ground. To avoid such an outcome, it is essential for the pilot to ensure that the flaps are retracted incrementally to allow time for the aircraft to accelerate progressively as they are being raised.

About this report

Decisions regarding whether to conduct an investigation, and the scope of an investigation, are based on many factors, including the level of safety benefit likely to be obtained from an investigation. For this occurrence, no investigation has been conducted and the ATSB did not verify the accuracy of the information. A brief description has been written using information supplied in the notification and any follow-up information in order to produce a short summary report, and allow for greater industry awareness of potential safety issues and possible safety actions.



General details
Date: 27 May 2018   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1028 EST    
Location   (show map): Moorabbin Airport    
State: Victoria    
Release Date: 17 December 2018   Occurrence category: Serious Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Minor  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Piper Aircraft Corp  
Aircraft model PA-28-161  
Type of operation Flying Training  
Sector Piston  
Damage to aircraft Minor  
Departure point Moorabbin, Victoria  
Last update 17 December 2018