Aviation safety investigations & reports

Flap system failure leading to loss of control, involving Cessna 208, VH-WZJ, Townsville Airport, Qld on 10 November 2015

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed

Final Report

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At about 1250 pm Eastern Standard Time, the regular public transport Cessna 208 approached Townsville Airport, Queensland. On board were the pilot and eight passengers.

Shortly after passing the final approach fix on the runway 07 area navigation (RNAV) approach and transitioning into visual conditions the pilot configured the aircraft for final approach and landing.

As the pilot selected the third and final stage of flap, a muffled bang was heard coming from outside the aircraft and the aircraft banked violently and rapidly to the left. The pilot immediately attempted to regain control and applied opposite aileron. However, the aircraft continued to bank even more steeply to the left with the subsequent secondary effect of aerodynamic yaw to the left.

Descending through about 700 ft, and with the aircraft now travelling at about 45° the runway, and still not responding, the pilot applied full right rudder. There was some response from the aircraft to this input, but it was still not under control. The pilot then retracted the flap one stage, back to 20°. From here the pilot was able to regain sufficient control to steer the aircraft back toward the runway and land without incident.

A post incident engineering inspection revealed that a bolt from the aft inner bellcrank had worked loose and was missing.

After further detailed inspection the company found that the manufacturer’s inspection schedule in regard to the flap mechanism, although being complied with, was inadequate for their needs. The company have amended their maintenance schedule to include full inspections and life limitations to other structures in the flap mechanism.


Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 48

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General details
Date: 10 November 2015   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1300 EST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Townsville Airport    
State: Queensland   Occurrence type: Flight control systems  
Release date: 27 May 2016   Occurrence category: Serious Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Cessna Aircraft Company  
Aircraft model 208B  
Aircraft registration VH-WZJ  
Serial number 208B1108  
Operator West Wing Aviation  
Type of operation Air Transport Low Capacity  
Sector Turboprop  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Palm Island, Qld  
Destination Townsville, Qld  
Last update 14 November 2018