Aviation occurrence briefs

Loss of control and collision with terrain involving a Cirrus SR20, at Tooradin Airport, Vic., on 3 May 2019

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 3 May 2019, a Cirrus SR20 departed Moorabbin, Victoria (Vic.) with one pilot and two passengers on board. The pilot hired the aircraft from an operator for a private scenic flight that was planned to orbit Melbourne city before landing at Tooradin, Vic. During the initial stages of landing, the pilot observed the aircraft to be slightly high before it sank heavily onto the runway and bounced. After the second bounce, the pilot applied full power and retracted the flaps to conduct a go-around.

The aircraft yawed to the left and the pilot observed the indicated airspeed to be at 65 kt. The pilot received a stall warning annunciation and assessed that the aircraft had become airborne, and she therefore elected to pitch the nose of the aircraft down to land on the remaining runway. However, the aircraft rolled abruptly to the left and the wing struck the ground. The aircraft then collided with a drainage ditch to the left of the runway and was subsequently destroyed (Figure 1). The pilot and passengers exited without injury.

Operator’s investigation

The operator retrieved and reviewed the data from this private-hire flight and confirmed from the position of the flap transmission worm drive that, during the go-around procedure when full power was applied, the flaps were fully retracted. The pilot operating handbook recommends 50 per cent and indicates approximately 10 kt increase in stall speed from flaps 100 to zero per cent.

The data revealed that upon application of full power, a change of track of 15 degrees to the left of the runway resulting in the aircraft exiting the runway onto soft ground. The aircraft continued to diverge from the runway until it contacted the drainage ditch where it came to rest. The main landing gear tyre tracks were evident in the grass from the runway edge to the accident site, therefore confirming that contrary to the pilot’s recollection of events, the aircraft did not become airborne following execution of the go-around.

The operator advised that upon reviewing the data, it became apparent that during final approach, the pilot was pitching to control airspeed. The pilot reported that she used both power and elevator to land the aircraft.

Figure 1: Aircraft damage

Figure 1: Aircraft damage. Source: Operator

Source: Operator

Safety action

As a result of this occurrence, the aircraft operator has advised the ATSB that they are taking safety actions, including:

  • teaching pilots the correct go-around technique in this aircraft type from a low airspeed situation, such as after a significant bounce or a series of bounces, which requires right rudder pressure to counteract torque roll and p-factor[1]
  • highlighting this situation to pilots during conversion training, in line with recommendations from the manufacturer.

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. P-factor, also known as asymmetric blade effect and asymmetric disc effect, is an aerodynamic phenomenon experienced by a moving propeller that is responsible for the asymmetrical relocation of the propeller’s centre of thrust when an aircraft is at a high angle of attack.
General details
Date: 03 May 2019   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1335 EST    
Location   (show map): Tooradin Airport    
State: Victoria    
Release Date: 26 July 2019   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Cirrus Design Corporation  
Aircraft model SR20  
Type of operation Private  
Sector Piston  
Damage to aircraft Destroyed  
Departure point Moorabbin, Victoria  
Destination Tooradin, Victoria  
Last update 31 July 2019