Aviation occurrence briefs

Turbulence event involving a Cessna 182Q, near Texas Aerodrome, Queensland, on 24 January 2020

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 24 January 2020, a Cessna 182Q was conducting a private flight operating under visual flight rules from Warwick, Queensland, to Dubbo, New South Wales. The pilot was the only occupant on board. Forecast weather in the area at the time was low cloud and thunderstorms.

During cruise at 4,500 ft AMSL, the aircraft encountered severe turbulence at a speed above the aircraft’s turbulence penetration speed. The pilot conducted a climb and levelled off at 6,500 ft in an attempt to avoid further turbulence.

The pilot reported that the aircraft then encountered a severe updraft, resulting in a climb and change of heading of approximately 180° with little to no control of the aircraft. He began a descent to remain out of cloud. The pilot then descended through cloud to 3,500 ft and tracked away from the area, clear of any further cloud and turbulence. While attempting to turn back onto heading, the aircraft was struck by a severe downdraft followed by an updraft, resulting in another heading reversal of approximately 180°.

During the post-flight inspection at Dubbo, it was identified that both wings near the wing strut were bent and warped with visible deformation.

Safety message

This occurrence provides a reminder that pilots need to be aware of their aircraft’s performance and turbulence penetration speed as turbulence can be unpredictable. Should an aircraft encounter severe turbulence, pilots are reminded to reduce the speed of the aircraft to safely navigate through the turbulence in order to avoid potential damage or loss of control.

Further information can be found in the ATSB research report, Staying safe against in-flight turbulence (AR-2008-034).

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.


General details
Date: 24 January 2020   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 0820 EST    
Location   (show map): Near Texas Aerodrome    
State: Queensland    
Release Date: 03 April 2020   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final    

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Cessna Aircraft Company  
Aircraft model 182Q  
Type of operation General Aviation  
Sector Piston  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Warwick, Queensland  
Destination Dubbo, New South Wales  
Last update 01 May 2020