• Bankstown Airport: the crash occurred going around from 11C. (Google Earth image)
    Bankstown Airport: the crash occurred going around from 11C. (Google Earth image)

The fatal crash of a Cirrus SR22 at Bankstown Airport in March last year was the result of an attempted go-around, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau reported yesterday.

Cirrus VH-XGR had just completed a  bouncing landing on runway 11C when the pilot elected to go-around. Upon getting airborne, the aircraft rolled to the left in a nose-up attitude, with the angle of bank reaching 90o before colliding with the ground between the runways. One wing separated in the collision and the aircraft came to rest upside down.

The pilot was extracted after emergency services cut through the fuselage, unaware of the danger presented by the parachute system. The pilot was taken to hospital in a critical condition, but died from injuries three weeks later.

According to the ATSB investigation report, the aircraft was slower on touchdown than recommended in the Cirrus POH and sank onto the runway, causing the bounced landing that prompted the go-around. Other aircraft in the circuit reported a slight crosswind, but smooth conditions on final approach.

On going-around from the landing, the pilot was "unable to counter the substantial torque effect associated with high engine power, low airspeed, and high pitch angle, resulting in loss of control and collision with terrain."

“The go-around procedure requires careful and coordinated flight control and power application, in particular when conducted in the landing phase,” said ATSB Director Transport Safety Stuart Macleod.

“Pilots should consider the increased challenge presented by making a go-around decision to recover from an unstable landing, rather than an earlier go-around decision made on approach.”

XGR was fitted with a 310-hp Continental IO-550N engine and a three-blade propeller, which together produce significant torque effect when the Cirrus power lever pushed all the way forward.

Cirrus' pilot instructor course teaches that go-arounds should be done by "immediately but smoothly apply full power (as for take-off – typically 4-5 seconds), connected right rudder due to significant left turning tendencies (possible strong pitch up)".

ATSB investigators also concentrated on the method of removing the pilot and the presence of the ballistic parachute system. First responders were alerted to the parachute system whilst the rescue was underway, calling for a Cirrus-qualified maintenance engineer to render the ballistic system safe from inadvertent activation. 

Investigators considered that airframe placard on the Cirrus "did not clearly communicate the danger or provide access to safety information."

Cirrus responded by saying the SF50 vision has a more prominent placard and they would give consideration to applying a similar placard to the SR series in the future.

The full report is on the ATSB website.

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