Occurrence Briefs are concise reports that detail the facts surrounding a transport safety occurrence, as received in the initial notification and any follow-up enquiries. They provide an opportunity to share safety messages in the absence of an investigation.
On 15 January 2018, at 1245 Eastern Standard Time (EST), a Vans Aircraft RV-7A commenced take-off from runway 15 at Atherton airport, Queensland (Qld) for Charters Towers, Qld. The pilot was the sole occupant.
The pilot reported that upon rotation, the aircraft encountered a dust devil and was pushed to the left. The pilot then applied full power in an effort to regain directional control and land the aircraft. The left wing, however, contacted the ground, and the aircraft came to rest inverted. The aircraft was substantially damaged and the pilot received minor injuries.
A row of trees to the left of the runway combined with hot weather was conducive to the formation of dust devils. There was no visual indication of debris or dust plumes to indicate the sudden formation or location of the dust devil, causing difficulty in identification and avoidance measures.
Source: Queensland Police Service
The ATSB has investigated multiple take-off and landing accidents associated with dust devils, including Loss of Control; Mt Vernon Station, WA; 1 September 2006; VH-RIL, Cessna 172L (200605133), which highlights the risk of this phenomenon and how light aircraft may be affected. Further information on The Dangers of Dust Devils is available on the ATSB website.
About this report
Decisions regarding whether to conduct an investigation, and the scope of an investigation, are based on many factors, including the level of safety benefit likely to be obtained from an investigation. For this occurrence, no investigation has been conducted and the ATSB did not verify the accuracy of the information. A brief description has been written using information supplied in the notification and any follow-up information in order to produce a short summary report, and allow for greater industry awareness of potential safety issues and possible safety actions.
|Date:||15 January 2018||Investigation status:||Completed|
|Release Date:||12 April 2018||Occurrence category:||Accident|
|Aircraft manufacturer||Vans Aircraft Ltd|
|Type of operation||Private|
|Damage to aircraft||Substantial|