Fraser Island crash pilot ‘failed’ in key areas
A pilot who was forced to make a crash landing on Fraser Island has been found to have failed in several key landing components, an investigation has revealed.
While none of the seven passengers or pilot on board were injured the Air Fraser-operated aircraft, the incident prompted an investigation from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.
The crash involved a Gippsland Aeronautics GA8 aircraft, which was conducting a scenic flight at the popular tourist destination on January 2.
The plane was found to have overrun the runaway and landed heavily onto its nose, which collapsed and caused its propeller to hit the sand on the beach where it became stuck.
The aircraft sustained "substantial" damage.
The investigation's final report, released on June 22, found the pilot had been at fault during the landing.
"The pilot did not conduct a go-around despite several cues to do so, including sighting a vehicle near the runway and when becoming airborne again after the first touchdown," the report read.
"The aircraft subsequently landed with insufficient runway remaining to prevent a runway overrun.
"The overrun was onto a section of beach unsuitable for a landing roll due to a washout.
"The pilot did not obtain passenger weights or use standard weights to calculate the aircraft weight and balance prior to the flight from which to assess the required landing distance."
The report went further to explain why the pilot was forced to land in such a manner.
"During the approach, the pilot saw a vehicle moving close to the runway," it read.
"To remain clear of the perceived vehicle hazard, the pilot opted to land about a third of the way down the marked runway.
"Shortly after the first touchdown, the aircraft became airborne again.
"The pilot reported that he had pulled back on the control column to raise the aircraft nose off the ground, in order to minimise the discomfort to passengers as the aircraft passed over holes in the sand.
"After passing the holes, the aircraft landed and the pilot attempted to brake.
"However, the aircraft was still at speed as it approached the end of the runway, beyond which was a washout.
"As the aircraft overran the runway, the pilot reported raising the nose to lift the aircraft over the washout, concerned that the aircraft would flip if the nose wheel struck the water.
"Immediately beyond the washout, the aircraft pitched forwards heavily onto the nose landing gear, which collapsed.
"The propeller struck the sand and the aircraft came to a halt."
The bureau concluded that the accident was a reminder for pilots to be "go-around" mindful.
"This is of particular importance when operating at a runway in conditions where the full available runway length is required for a safe landing and no obstacle-free overrun area exists."