Aviation safety investigations & reports

Runway overrun involving Gippsland Aeronautics GA-8, VH-MTX, Rurruwuy, Northern Territory, on 29 November 2019

Investigation number:
Status: Discontinued


Discontinuation notice

Section 21 (2) of the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003 (TSI Act) empowers the 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. The statement is published as a report in accordance with section 25 of the TSI Act, capturing information from the investigation up to the time of discontinuance.

Overview of the investigation

On 2 December 2019, the ATSB commenced an investigation into a runway overrun involving a Gippsland Aeronautics GA-8, VH-MTX, at Rurruwuy, Northern Territory.

The aircraft departed Garrthalala for Rurruwuy at 1240 Central Standard Time[1] on a chartered passenger flight, with the pilot and three passengers on board. The pilot described the conditions at Rurruwuy as a ‘turbulent, thermally day’ and she elected to land on Runway 11 based on the windsock direction.

On final approach, the pilot noticed the airspeed was 2 knots above the planned reference landing approach speed. The pilot then assessed she was too high for her aiming point, which was the first tyre marker, and chose to aim for the second. The aircraft touched down beyond the second tyre marker, but then lifted off the runway. When the aircraft touched down again, it was beyond the halfway point of the runway.

The pilot attempted to stop the aircraft, but it overran the end of the runway resulting in substantial damage. There were no injuries to the pilot or passengers. Once the aircraft had stopped, the pilot noted that the windsock had shifted during the approach, favouring a landing on Runway 29.

Due to its relatively short length, Rurruwuy was classified by the operator as a ‘Marginal Airstrip’ for a GA-8, which meant specific pilot training was required. The pilot had completed this training prior to the occurrence.

As a result of the occurrence, the operator organised a pilot training day to discuss stabilised approaches.

As part of its investigation, the ATSB interviewed the pilot, and obtained information such as flight plans, photographs, maintenance information and details of the operator’s training procedures.

ATSB comment

Unexpected events during the approach and landing can exacerbate what is often a high workload period. Following standard operating procedures and correctly monitoring the aircraft and approach parameters provides assurance that an approach can be safely completed. If the criteria for safe continuation of an approach are not met, a go-around should be initiated.

Based on a review of the available evidence, the ATSB considered it was unlikely that further investigation would identify any systemic safety issues. Consequently, the ATSB has discontinued this investigation.

The evidence collected during this investigation remains available to be used in future investigations or safety studies. The ATSB will also monitor for any similar occurrences that may indicate a need to undertake a further safety investigation.

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

General details
Date: 29 November 2019   Investigation status: Discontinued  
Time: 1304 ACST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Rurruwuy (ALA)    
State: Northern Territory   Occurrence type: Runway excursion  
Release date: 20 April 2020   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Discontinued   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Gippsland Aeronautics Pty Ltd  
Aircraft model GA8  
Aircraft registration VH-MTX  
Serial number GA8-06-104  
Operator Arnhem Land Community Airlines  
Type of operation Charter  
Sector Piston  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Garrthalala, Northern Territory  
Destination Rurruwuy, Northern Territory  
Last update 28 April 2020