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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 137038
Last updated: 27 November 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic MU2 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Mitsubishi MU-2B-30
Owner/operator:North West Airlines
Registration: VH-CJP
MSN: 505
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Cairns, Queensland -   Australia
Phase: Landing
Departure airport:Townsville, Queensland (TSV/YBTL)
Destination airport:Cairns, Queensland (YBCS)
Investigating agency: BASI
Crashed 15 November 1983 on approach to Cairns, Queensland, whilst operating a charter cargo flight. The aircraft was established on final approach by the pilot under check. A 5 knot downwind component prevailed. The flare was commenced higher than is normal and the airspeed decreased below the optimum. The pilot did not react to prompting by the the check-pilot but, at about 20 feet, retarded the throttles.

The aircraft struck the runway heavily in a left wing low attitude and the left main and nose landing gear was torn off. Command responsibility for the flight was not discussed and the check-pilot was under the misapprehension that his role was only that of safety-pilot.

Due to flight rescheduling, the pilot under check slept for only two and a half hours prior to commencing duty. The auto-pilot was unserviceable and the pilot under check flew the aircraft by hand for most of the four flight legs.

During the last leg the check-pilot twice simulated an engine failure. The second failure was simulated on final approach at about 7 DME. Power was reinstated shortly afterwards and the approach continued normally until close to the threshold. At this time the pilot under check had been on duty for five and a half hours and the check-pilot for over twelve hours.

Overseas research has shown that subtle errors in visual perception may be induced by an event which causes stress, and that this condition may persist for several minutes after the event.

Fatigue may aggravate the problem. The errors in perception are the result of changes in focal length of the lens of the eye caused by the physiological effects of the stress resulting from the event.

The experimental research and information from accident data has provided evidence that the effect of the changes in focal length may cause a pilot on final approach to perceive a runway to be on a higher plane than it actually is. In this case, with the particular combination of factors prevailing at the time, it is possible that the imposition of a simulated engine failure on approach within a few minutes prior to the final landing of a long and fatiguing night's operations caused a stress reaction in the pilot under check.

The level of stress induced in this fatigued pilot may have been sufficient to cause the kind of perceptual error described above. The runway would thus appear to the pilot slightly higher than it actually was. His judgement of flare height, being based on this false perception, would therefore be incorrect.



Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: BASI
Status: Investigation completed
Download report: Final report


MU-2B-30 VH-CJP at Melbourne - Essendon (MEB/YMEN) Melbourne, Victoria, August 28, 1976


Photo of VH-CJP courtesy

Northam (YNTM)
November 1977; (c) Geoff Goodall (via David Carter)

Revision history:

29-Jun-2011 08:35 harro Added
05-Sep-2013 19:43 harro Updated [Time, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Phase, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
14-Apr-2014 21:34 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator, Location, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
07-Dec-2016 18:53 wf Updated [Operator]

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