Aviation occurrence briefs

Pre-flight preparation event involving a Textron Aviation 172, Jandakot, WA, on 6 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 6 August 2019 at approximately 1910 Western Standard Time, a Textron Aviation Cessna 172S was conducting night circuits on a private-hire arrangement at Jandakot Airport, Western Australia, with one pilot on board.

After the aircraft had landed back at Jandakot, the pilot carried out a post-flight inspection and detected damage to the propeller (Figure 1). The damage had resulted from the tow bar not being removed during the pre-flight inspection and remaining attached to the aircraft after departure. The tow bar was found within the aerodrome confines; however, it is unknown exactly when it detached.

Figure 1: Damage to the propeller

Damage to the propeller  Damage to propeller

Source: Aircraft operator

Pilot comments

The pre-flight check was carried out in the hangar before towing the aircraft onto the apron, as the pilot could not access the exterior hangar lights. The pilot reported that this altered his workflow pattern, distracting him from the fact the tow bar remained attached to the aircraft.

The pilot also reported feeling tired as he had worked at his primary occupation earlier in the day, prior to the incident, and had also been on night shifts preceding the incident.

Safety action

As a result of this incident, the aircraft operator has advised the ATSB that they are taking the following safety actions:

  • The introduction of a policy for private night hirers to undertake a 30-minute one off induction course, which includes instructions on accessing all areas of the facility after hours, including the use of external lights.
  • The development of a final precautionary checklist to be completed and signed pre- and post-flight 

Safety Message

This incident highlights the risk associated with operating aircraft when fatigued. Hours of work outside of flying that are not counted in flight and duty limitations can lead to a reduction in human performance and increase the risk associated with missing critical details prior or during flight. This risk could also be reduced by undertaking thorough pre-flight preparation.

Information for pilots on managing the risk of fatigue is available on the CASA website – Fatigue-fighting tips.  The ATSB SafetyWatch highlights the broad safety concerns that come out of our investigation findings and from the occurrence data reported to us by industry. One of the priorities is fatigue

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: 06 August 2019   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1910 WST    
Location   (show map): Jandakot, WA    
State: Western Australia    
Release Date: 10 October 2019   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft model 172S  
Type of operation Private  
Sector Piston  
Damage to aircraft Minor  
Last update 10 October 2019