Aviation occurrence briefs

Collision with terrain involving Victa Airtourer, near Somerset Dam, Queensland, on 7 July 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 7 July 2018 at 0915 Eastern Standard Time, a Victa Airtourer with two crew was on a private flight from Kilcoy, Queensland (Qld) to a private grass airstrip near Somerset Dam, Qld. Weather conditions were reported as cloud at 2,500 ft with a slight crosswind.

During landing, the pilot landed long on the airstrip which was made up of wet grass. The pilot considered conducting a go-around or conducting a controlled ground-loop[1]. The pilot briefly opened the throttle to attempt the go-around, but quickly closed it as the aircraft was reaching the end of the strip.

The aircraft overran the strip and collided with a barbed wire fence. After shutting down the aircraft, both occupants evacuated uninjured.

The aircraft was assessed to have sustained extensive damage including to the left wing leading edge, right aileron, bent propeller blades and a torn off landing gear and nose wheel.

Contributing factors to the overrun include:

  • wet grass runway
  • minimal wind conditions
  • a long touchdown on the strip
  • opening the throttle late.

Safety message

When conducting flights into unfamiliar locations, pilots should attempt to research the airstrip or field prior to departure. For private or undocumented strips, conducting a pass over the strip first before landing will aid in determining runway length and characteristics.

In some cases, a wet runway may not be evident prior to landing. Utilising the full length of the strip allows pilots extra time to execute recovery manoeuvres (such as conducting a go-around) from compromising situations such as a wet runway, which can limit an aircraft’s braking abilities.

Additionally, pilots should familiarise themselves with their aircraft operating handbook to build confidence on their decision making in time-critical situations.

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.



  1. A ground loop is an ‘involuntary uncontrolled turn while moving on the ground, especially during take-off or landing’ (Bill Gunston, The Cambridge Aerospace Dictionary, New York, New York; Cambridge University Press, 2004, p.275).
General details
Date: 07 July 2018   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 0915 AEST    
Location   (show map): Near Somerset Dam    
State: Queensland    
Release Date: 23 October 2018   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Victa Ltd  
Aircraft model Airtourer 115  
Type of operation Private  
Sector Piston  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Kilcoy, Qld  
Destination Grass airstrip near Somerset Dam, Qld  
Last update 12 December 2018