Aviation occurrence briefs

Loss of control and collision with terrain, Cessna 172S White Gum (ALA), Western Australia, on 18 April 2021

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 18 April 2021, the pilot of a Cessna 172S aircraft was conducting a private flight from Jandakot Airport to White Gum aeroplane landing area (ALA), Western Australia with two passengers on board. Prior to departure, the pilot provided a safety briefing to the passengers including instructing the front seat passenger to remain clear of the aircraft flight controls.

After landing, the front seat passenger accidentally pushed the left rudder pedal causing the aircraft to veer left off the runway toward trees. The pilot attempted to steer to the right by applying right rudder, which was unsuccessful. The pilot then initiated a go-around. As power was increased, the aircraft turned further left, resulting in the left wing colliding with a tree. The aircraft rotated through 180° before coming to rest (Figure 1). The two passengers sustained minor injuries and the aircraft was substantially damaged.

Figure 1: Accident site

Accident site

Source: Aircraft operator

Safety message

This accident highlights the importance of the passenger in the front seat of a dual control aircraft remaining clear of the flight controls (Figure 2). If there is any doubt about a passenger being able to comply with briefing instructions, consideration should be given to seating them in the rear seat.

Figure 2: Cessna 172 dual controls

Cessna 172 dual controls

Source: pinterest.dk

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: 18 April 2021   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1542 WST    
Location   (show map): White Gum (ALA),    
State: Western Australia    
Release Date: 17 May 2021   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final    

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Cessna Aircraft Company  
Type of operation Private  
Sector Piston  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Jandakot, Western Australia  
Destination White Gum (ALA), Western Australia  
Last update 17 May 2021