Accident Cessna 172M Skyhawk VH-WTQ,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 192696
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Date:Tuesday 10 January 2017
Type:Silhouette image of generic C172 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Cessna 172M Skyhawk
Owner/operator:1770 Castaway
Registration: VH-WTQ
MSN: 17261931
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 4
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:Agnes Water beach, QLD -   Australia
Phase: Approach
Nature:Passenger - Non-Scheduled/charter/Air Taxi
Departure airport:Agnes Water aeroplane landing area, QLD
Destination airport:Middle Island beach aeroplane landing area, QLD
Investigating agency: ATSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
The Cessna 172M, registered VH‑WTQ, departed Agnes Water aeroplane landing area (ALA), Queensland on a passenger charter flight to a beach ALA on Middle Island. There was a pilot and three passengers on board.
At about 10:38, the pilot was conducting an airborne inspection of the Middle Island beach area to ensure that it was suitable for a landing. During the inspection, when the aircraft was at about 60 ft above mean sea level (AMSL), the aircraft’s engine had a sudden and total power loss.
After conducting initial checks, the pilot elected to conduct a significant left turn to the beach. During the continued turn, the aircraft impacted the beach with little or no control and a significant descent rate. One of the rear-seat passengers was fatally injured and the other three occupants sustained serious injuries. The aircraft was destroyed.

Contributing factors:
- While the pilot was conducting an airborne inspection of the beach aeroplane landing area (ALA) at an altitude of about 60 ft, the aircraft’s engine had a sudden and total power loss.
- Under significant time pressure, the pilot elected to conduct a significant left turn to the beach at a very low height. Although he believed it to be the safest option under the circumstances, it was inconsistent with standard training and guidance to land within 30º either side of straight ahead following an engine failure at a low height.
- During the continued left turn toward the beach, the aircraft did not have sufficient performance to avoid a collision with terrain, and it impacted terrain with little or no control and a significant descent rate.
- The operator normally conducted airborne inspections of the Middle Island aeroplane landing area at about 50–100 ft while flying at normal cruise speed towards an area of water, and its procedures did not ensure the effective management of the risk of an engine failure or power loss when at a low height. [Safety issue]
- The aircraft was not fitted with upper torso restraints for the rear passenger seats, which very likely increased the severity of the injuries sustained by the two rear-seat passengers.
- Upper torso restraints (UTRs) were not required for all passenger seats for small aeroplanes manufactured before December 1986 and helicopters manufactured before September 1992, including for passenger transport operations. Although options for retrofitting UTRs are available for many models of small aircraft, many of these aircraft manufactured before the applicable dates that are being used for passenger transport have not yet been retrofitted. [Safety issue]

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: ATSB
Report number: AO-2017-005
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 years and 9 months
Download report: Final report




Photo: ATSB

Revision history:

10-Jan-2017 05:28 Geno Added
10-Jan-2017 05:42 Geno Updated [Operator, Source]
10-Jan-2017 09:43 harro Updated [Time, Source]
10-Jan-2017 20:36 Anon. Updated [Damage]
19-Oct-2019 13:12 harro Updated [Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Narrative, Photo, Accident report, ]
19-Oct-2019 13:13 harro Updated [Phase, Nature, Destination airport, Photo]

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