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Glastar crashed near Noosa after failed go-around, says ATSB

written by Staff reporter | June 18, 2024

VH-BAQ crashed near Noosa in November 2023. (Image: ATSB)

A Stoddard Hamilton Glastar that crashed on the Sunshine Coast last year should be a reminder to pilots to be prepared for a missed approach, the ATSB has said.

The pilot of VH-BAQ sustained minor injuries, and a passenger severe injuries, when the light plane crashed on approach to a grass airstrip at a property near Noosa on 12 November.

The ATSB’s final report notes that during the approach to land, the aircraft crossed a tree line in the runway undershoot and the pilot reported that the aircraft encountered sink.

The pilot advised they twice increased engine power in response, but the aircraft touched down firmly and was simultaneously struck by a gust of crosswind, which picked up the left wing and turned the aircraft to the right towards the house on the property.

In response, the pilot initiated a go-around and the aircraft became airborne again, cleared a property fence and a building, and then struck the top of a palm tree before impacting the ground.

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Flight data examined by the ATSB indicated the aircraft had a 49kt groundspeed as it crossed the threshold on the final approach.

While weather data recorded at the nearest airport – Sunshine Coast – indicated some headwind, which would have raised the airspeed, airspeed was still probably below the 65–60kt recommended by the aircraft’s pilot operating handbook (POH).

“The unexpected sink on final approach would also be consistent with the POH, which advises of increased sink at reduced airspeed,” said ATSB director of transport safety, Stuart Macleod.

Once the decision was made to go around, the ATSB report notes, the aircraft was not realigned with the airstrip and instead headed towards the house.

“Obstacles prevented the aircraft from being flown at the optimal, shallow climb profile to increase airspeed,” Macleod said.

“Consequently, the aircraft’s speed and height remained low, resulting in it striking the top of a tree close to the stall speed, before impacting the ground.”

The accident is a reminder for pilots to be prepared to conduct a missed approach and to be aware of the factors which could affect subsequent climb performance.

“A preparedness to conduct a missed approach and being aware of aircraft climb performance mitigates against slow reaction times to a surprising or startling event, and ensures a safe go-around,” Macleod said.

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