Aviation safety investigations & reports

In-flight collision with object, SOCATA TB-10 Tobago, VH-YTG, Parafield Airport, South Australia on 11 July 2017

Investigation number:
Status: Discontinued


The pilot advised air traffic control that, during final approach to runway 03L at Parafield Airport at about 1830 Central Standard Time, the aircraft struck an object, which was potentially a remotely piloted aircraft (RPA). The aircraft sustained minor damage to the right wing. Initial search of the area under the flightpath did not locate the object.

Updated: 21 July 2017

Section 21 (2) of the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003 (TSI Act) empowers the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) to discontinue an investigation into a transport safety matter at any time. Section 21 (3) of the TSI Act requires the ATSB to publish a statement setting out the reasons for discontinuing an investigation.

At about 1800 Central Standard Time[1] on 11 July 2017, a SOCATA TB-10 Tobago aircraft, registered VH-YTG, was conducting a scheduled night flying lesson at Parafield airport, near Adelaide, South Australia. On final approach and at about 500 ft above ground level, the aircraft’s right wing struck an object. The instructor heard a loud thud and the right wing suddenly dropped. He radioed the control tower requesting a full stop landing, as they might have hit a bird.

After landing, the instructor conducted an inspection of the aircraft and found minor damage to the right wing. As there were no visible signs of biological matter, he contacted the control tower and reported the incident as a possible drone strike.

Figure 1: VH-YTG showing damage

Figure 1: VH-YTG showing damage

Source: ATSB

The ATSB conducted an inspection of the aircraft, and swab samples of the impact area were taken by the airport operator, and sent to the Australian Museum for DNA testing. The subsequent DNA test results indicated the sample was most consistent with that of a grey-headed flying-fox, from the bat family. The ATSB has assessed that there is little potential for the enhancement of transport safety through further investigation of this occurrence. The ATSB has discontinued the investigation.


  1. Central Standard Time (CST): Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) + 9.5 hours.


Updated: 13 July 2017

ATSB investigators have concluded their examination of VH-YTG. Damage to the leading edge of the right wing was identified (Figure 1). The impact damage appeared to be generally smooth in nature, with no sharp impacts or significant scratches identified.

Several smear-type marks were observed in the region of the impact damage and along the upper surface of the wing (Figure 2). Samples of those marks have been taken for analysis with the aim of identifying their origin.

The investigation is continuing.

Figure 1: Leading edge with impact area circled

Figure 1: Leading edge with impact area circled

Source: ATSB

Figure 2: Overhead image highlighting identified surface marks

Figure 2: Overhead image highlighting identified surface marks
Source: ATSB

The information contained in this web update is released in accordance with section 25 of the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003 and is derived from the initial investigation of the occurrence. Readers are cautioned that new evidence will become available as the investigation progresses that will enhance the ATSB's understanding of the accident as outlined in this web update. As such, no analysis or findings are included in this update.


General details
Date: 11 July 2017   Investigation status: Discontinued  
Time: 18:29 CST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Parafield Airport    
State: South Australia   Occurrence type: Airborne collision  
Release date: 21 July 2017   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Discontinued   Highest injury level: None  
Anticipated completion: 4th Quarter 2017    

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer S.O.C.A.T.A.-Groupe Aerospatiale  
Aircraft model TB-10  
Aircraft registration VH-YTG  
Serial number 1407  
Operator Flight Training Adelaide Pty Ltd  
Type of operation Flying Training  
Sector Piston  
Damage to aircraft Minor  
Destination Parafield, SA  
Last update 14 November 2018