Aviation safety investigations & reports

Piper PA31-350, VH-WJK, Saibai Island QLD; with diversion to Weipa QLD, 18 January 1985

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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The pilot reported that, during approach to the 765 metre wet grass strip, the wind appeared to change to a tailwind. The mainwheels struck a concrete sea wall which marks the threshold, both tyres burst and the landing gear legs were damaged. Directional control problems were experienced during the landing and a go-around was carried out, with the aircraft becoming airborne just before the far end of the strip. The pilot was not aware that any damage had occurred until the gear would not retract. A diversion to an alternate aerodrome was conducted and the left main gear leg collapsed on landing. The strip at the original destination was too short for normal operation of the heavily laden aircraft. Because of this, and the wet surface, the pilot had approached at a lower than recommended airspeed, aiming to land close to the threshold. He had been unable to arrest the sink rate which developed in the final stages of the approach.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 22KB]
General details
Date: 18 January 1985   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 850    
Location: Saibai Island QLD; with diversion to Weipa    
State: Queensland    
Release date: 19 March 1985   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Piper Aircraft Corp  
Aircraft model PA-31  
Aircraft registration VH-WJK  
Type of operation Charter  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Horn Island QLD  
Departure time 0850  
Destination Saibai Island QLD