Week 4

Welcome to Week 4 of National Safety Month 2023





Loss of Control is the most common cause of fatal aviation accident world-wide. In the 5 years leading up to 2020, more than 60% of RAAus fatal accidents are believed to have occurred due to loss of control accidents. Over the previous 2 years we have seen a reduction in overall numbers of Loss of Control events. Despite this, loss of control continues to be the most common cause of aircraft damage and injury, particularly due to accidents during the landing phase of flight.


Hazard symbol - WikipediaFlight at slow speeds and at high angles of attack, particularly when manoeuvring around a point of interest, including rural farm inspections, stock spotting, or photography.

Hazard symbol - Wikipedia Take-off from airfields with marginal take-off distance available

Hazard symbol - Wikipedia Engine Failure after take-off, particularly if attempting to turn-back

Hazard symbol - Wikipedia Overshooting the extended runway centreline during the base to final turn 

Hazard symbol - Wikipedia During the conduct of a go-around

Hazard symbol - Wikipedia During landing, particularly in gusty wind or turbulent conditions



Always ensure weight and balance is within limits and performance calculations are suitable based on environmental conditions including density altitude and wind direction and strength.

Pilots seeking to conduct farm spotting or inspections should seek additional training prior to the conduct of these operations, particularly if intending to operate at low level which requires the pilot to obtain a low-level endorsement. 

Pilots should be familiar with the stall characteristics of their aircraft including stall stick position, speeds, symptoms, and recovery actions. 

Always maintain a stabilised approach and make an early decision to conduct a go-around, if required.

Always monitor local environmental conditions, particularly during take-off and landing.

Regularly practise go-around procedures and during a go-around ensure that there is a reduction in angle of attack to generate sufficient airspeed prior to setting a climb attitude in order to prevent a stall.

In the event of an engine failure after take-off avoid the conduct of a turn-back which greatly increases the likelihood of encountering a loss of control.

All pilots would benefit from seeking Upset Prevention and Recovery Training (UPRT) which equips pilots with additional skills to prevent loss of control accidents.

 All pilots should be aware of the increase in stall speed with the increase in angle of bank, particularly when operating at slow speeds and high angles of attack. This is particularly important during the base to final turn as pilots may be tempted to increase angle of bank in the event of overshooting the runway centreline.

Upset Prevention and Recovery Training (UPRT)

Upset Prevention and Recovery Training (UPRT) is the best way to avoid a potential loss of control accident and enables pilots to prevent, recognise and recover from unusual attitudes and unexpected situations. This training provides specialist knowledge suitable for all pilots and is designed to save lives.

UPRT training is becoming more and more common with a number of UPRT providers around Australia. National Safety Month Sponsor, Strike Aviation Training, delivers personalised 1 on 1 coaching relevant to students, pilots and instructors of all levels. 

CLICK HERE for more information on Strike Aviation Training's Upset Prevention and Recovery Training (UPRT)


Episode 1
In Episode 1 we break down Loss of Control accidents during the take-off phase of flight.


Episode 2
In Episode 2 we break down Loss of Control accidents in-flight.

Episode 3
In Episode 3 we break down Loss of Control accidents during the landing phase of flight.


Loss of Control - Base to Final Turn

Earlier in 2023 an RAAus pilot was positioning to land on a farm strip. The pilot had been operating out of the strip regularly over previous days however during the turn onto final the aircraft overshot the runway centreline. 

The pilot increased the rate of turn in an attempt to regain the runway centreline, however, due to the slow aircraft speed, high angle of attack, and increased weight with a passenger on board, the right wing stalled.

The pilot was able to partially recover from the stall through the input of power and opposite rudder, however insufficient altitude was available to fully recover and the aircraft impacted terrain. Thankfully, both occupants sustained only minor injuries. The aircraft was destroyed.

Upon review, the pilot admitted that they had become complacent and lazy in their circuit procedures and did not maintain a standard circuit pattern and stabilised approach. This likely contributed to the pilot overshooting the centreline and manoeuvering at low level with a high angle of attack, resulting in a stall.

All pilots are reminded of the importance of maintaining standard circuit procedures and to avoid overcorrection at slow speed and high angle of attack during the base to final turn in order to prevent a potential loss of control.

Loss of control following partial engine failure involving amateur-built Rand Robinson KR-2 VH-CTE 

What happened?

On the morning of Saturday 5 October 2013, the pilot of a Rand Robinson KR-2 aircraft, registered VH-CTE, took off from an airstrip on private property 12 km west of Tumut, New South Wales. The pilot was reported to have intended flying to Holbrook, New South Wales, and return home the following evening.

When the pilot had not returned by early Sunday evening, authorities were notified. A search located the aircraft wreckage in the early morning on 7 October 2013. The wreckage was found about 450 m east-north-east of the departure airstrip. The pilot was fatally injured and the aircraft was destroyed by impact forces.

What the ATSB found

Data from a global positioning system receiver recovered from the wreckage identified that the pilot turned back towards the departure airstrip shortly after take-off. During the attempt to land back on the airstrip, the aircraft likely entered a stall. The pilot was unable to recover the aircraft before impacting terrain.

The ATSB’s examination of the wreckage found that a spark plug had been ejected from its respective cylinder head mount. The failure of the cylinder head spark plug mount was probably the result of an incorrectly installed thread insert. There were reports and evidence that the pilot maintained and modified the aircraft, despite not being qualified or authorised to do so. As well, in the previous 2 years, an authorised maintainer had not completed the required regular aircraft maintenance.

The pilot’s decision not to have proper maintenance performed on the aircraft most likely contributed to the ejection of the spark plug, resulting in the accident.

Safety Message
Managing airspeed and bank angle is critical to preventing an aerodynamic stall following partial engine failure after take-off. Research shows partial engine power loss is more complex and more frequent than a complete engine power loss. These accidents are typically a result of the aircraft entering an aerodynamic stall from a height where recovery is not possible.

Unauthorised maintenance increases the risk of mechanical failure. This, in turn, reduces the level of safety and increases the risk of injury or death.

Authorised aircraft maintenance is mandated to assure a level of safety for aircraft operations. That directive also identifies the requisite qualifications for the maintainer.

(Content and image source: ATSB)

Collision with terrain involving Cessna 150, VH-UWR, 55 km NE of Bourke, NSW, 29 April 2012