Aviation occurrence briefs

Incorrect configuration involving a Piper Aircraft Corp PA-28-180, Moorabbin Airport, Victoria, on 26 August 2019

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 26 August 2019, a Piper PA-28-180 aircraft departed Moorabbin, Victoria, to conduct a training flight with an instructor and student on board. The instructor was pilot monitoring and the student was pilot flying.

During the approach at approximately 100 ft AGL, the student inadvertently moved the mixture control instead of the throttle resulting in the mixture moving to the idle cut-off position. As a result, the engine lost power. The instructor advised the student to increase power to stay on the correct approach path. As the student increased the throttle, no power increase was observed. The instructor looked down to identify that the engine mixture control was at idle cut-off and that the engine was not producing power. The instructor then moved the mixture lever to full rich in an attempt to regain power, but was too late and the aircraft touched down short of the runway threshold.[1]

The crew restarted the engine and taxied the aircraft back to the apron. There were no injuries and the aircraft did not sustain any damage.

Safety message

This incident highlights that when conducting training flights, instructors need to remain vigilant at all times. This includes being aware of the aircraft state and the actions of the pilot flying. Being prepared to take over control of the aircraft and intervene at a moment’s notice can reduce the risk of further incident or accident.

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. Threshold - The runway thresholds are markings across the runway that denote the beginning and end of the designated space for landing and take-off under non-emergency conditions.
General details
Date: 26 August 2019   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1244 EST    
Location   (show map): Moorabbin Airport    
State: Victoria    
Release Date: 23 September 2019   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Piper Aircraft Corp  
Aircraft model PA-28-18  
Type of operation Flying Training  
Sector Piston  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Moorabbin, Victoria  
Destination Moorabbin, Victoria  
Last update 23 September 2019