Aviation occurrence briefs

Hard Landing involving Aeroprakt 22LS, Townsville Airport, Qld, on 4 February 2018

Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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.

What happened

On 4 February 2018 at 1200 Eastern Standard Time (EST), the pilot of an Aeroprakt 22LS was conducting solo training in the circuit area of Townsville Airport, Queensland (Qld). Having completed three of five planned circuits, with touch and go landings on both runways 01 and 07, the pilot commenced the fourth circuit. Due to a departing commercial jet on Runway 01, Air Traffic Control (ATC) instructed the pilot to extend the downwind leg of the circuit and, to avoid the jet’s wake turbulence,[1] change runways again to Runway 07.

During this approach, the pilot encountered a rain shower and associated downdraft increasing the control workload required. The pilot did not acknowledge a call from ATC with instructions for a full stop landing. As the pilot was approaching the flare, ATC repeated the call. The pilot acknowledged the radio call and continued with the landing. The aircraft bounced and landed heavily, coming to a complete stop on the runway. The pilot exited the aircraft without injury.

The aircraft sustained substantial damage with a bent nose leg and damage to the firewall and the fuselage skin adjacent the main undercarriage.

The operator later advised that the pilot did not conduct a go-around as ATC had instructed them to make a full stop landing and they thought this precluded them from conducting a go-around.

Related occurrences

A search of the ATSB database revealed a number of similar occurrences including:


On 16 May 2016, the pilot of a Maule MT-7-235 aircraft, registered VH-DRS, conducted a private flight from Greenfields airstrip (near Noosa), Queensland, with two passengers on board.

On final approach to land, the pilot noticed they were getting low on the approach path and at about 500 ft, they increased the power to regain their approach path. The pilot subsequently assessed that the aircraft was too high and lowered the nose to re-intercept the approach path. The pilot flared the aircraft for landing, the aircraft landed heavily and bounced into the air. As the aircraft landed again, the nose wheel touched down first (before the main landing gear) with sufficient force that the nose wheel strut fractured. The nose landing gear and propeller then dug into the ground and the aircraft rotated over its nose and slid a short distance inverted before coming to rest. The pilot and one passenger were uninjured, the other passenger sustained minor injuries, and the aircraft sustained substantial damage.


On 23 August 2012 at 1733 Central Standard Time, a Cessna 210N, registered VH-WPD, departed Numbulwar for Urapunga, Northern Territory, on a charter passenger flight with the pilot and two passengers on-board. The pilot reported intermittent sun glare during descent to Urapunga, when at 3 NM for runway 28. On late final the sun glare on the windscreen greatly restricting visibility. During the flare, the pilot identified a runway edge marker in line with the nose of the aircraft. The pilot maneuvered the aircraft back in line with the centre of the runway and the aircraft continued to float down above the runway.

The sun glare increasingly restricted visibility during the landing. The aircraft touched down and the pilot applied heavy braking in short bursts. The aircraft departed the end of the runway and travelled through two fences before coming to a stop. The pilot and two passengers evacuated the aircraft. The pilot received minor injuries and the two passengers were uninjured.

Safety message

All pilots, regardless of their experience level, should be prepared to undertake a go-around rather than continuing with an unstable approach. The Flight Safety Foundation released a briefing note Approach-and-landing accident reduction Briefing Note 6.1 to remind pilots of the importance of being prepared to conduct a go-around during all approaches.

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.



  1. Wake turbulence: turbulence from wing tip vortices that result from the creation of lift. Those from large, heavy aircraft are very powerful and persistent, and are capable of causing control difficulties for smaller aircraft either following or below.
General details
Date: 04 February 2018   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1200 EST    
Location   (show map): Townsville Airport    
State: Queensland    
Release Date: 06 April 2018   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Aeroprakt Ltd  
Aircraft model AP22LS  
Type of operation Flying Training  
Sector Piston  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Last update 04 June 2018