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At about 1000 Eastern Standard Time on 4 January 2012, a Cessna 172 N aircraft, registered VH-ZWR, operating under the Visual Flight Rules in G Airspace, was taking off to conduct a charter flight with the pilot and three passengers on board.

When the aircraft had reached about 25 to 30 ft above ground level, after takeoff from The Oaks beach at Fraser Island, Queensland, the aircraft descended. The right wingtip struck the beach near the water line and the aircraft came to rest on the left wingtip and nose. The occupants exited the aircraft with minor injuries before the aircraft was turned on its back several minutes later by wave action.

The circumstances of the accident were consistent with an aircraft stalling as it climbed out of ground effect while flying at an airspeed and configuration where the airspeed was unstable.

As a result of this accident the operator has reviewed their soft field take-off procedures.

This accident highlights that pilots should be aware of the effect that flap extension has on the stall attitude of their aircraft, and the need for pilots to be aware of performance variations when conducting a soft field takeoff.

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General details
Date: 04 January 2012 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1000 EST  
Location   (show map):The Oaks, Fraser Island Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Queensland Occurrence type: Collision with terrain 
Release date: 24 May 2012 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: Minor 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Cessna Aircraft Company 
Aircraft model: 172 
Aircraft registration: VH-ZWR 
Serial number: 17270575 
Type of operation: Charter 
Damage to aircraft: Serious 
Departure point:Happy Valley, QLD
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Last update 18 April 2018