Jabiru UL-450, G-LEEE
The aircraft was taking off from a private airstrip whose runway was orientated east west. The runway was 550 m long, 5 m wide and its grass surface was dry. The airstrip was surrounded to the east, west and south by woods, which encroached to within 50 m of the upwind end of Runway 27; the trees were estimated to be about 24 m high. The surface wind was 270º-300º at 6 kt; the visibility was in excess of 10 km and the temperature and dew point were +20ºC and +8ºC, respectively. Before the takeoff on Runway 27 the pilot carried out a power check and checked the operation of the carburettor heat. All appeared normal. Acceleration during the take-off felt normal but the pilot reported that the aircraft lifted off further down the runway than usual. Thereafter the aircraft’s acceleration and rate of climb ‘did not feel right’, although the engine rpm was indicating take-off power. Mindful of the trees at the upwind end of the runway the pilot decided to land immediately. He misjudged the flare and the aircraft, having drifted to port, landed on its left main landing gear in long grass at the side of the runway. The left main landing gear collapsed as the aircraft ground looped to the left and the nose leg detached in the process. The propeller struck the ground and the aircraft came to a stop facing south. The pilot was uninjured and there was no fire. The pilot considered that the surface wind speed may have dropped giving rise to the aircraft’s seemingly reduced rate of climb. He concluded that his concern about this, coupled to misjudgement of the flare and lack of appreciation of the drift to the left, had caused the accident. The report referred to CAP 428, entitled ‘Safety Standards at Unlicensed Aerodromes’, and the advice on assessing an aircraft’s take-off performance in General Aviation Safety Sense Leaflet number 7B, entitled ‘Aeroplane Performance’.
Jabiru UL-450, G-LEEE 9-05.pdf (204.35 kb)
Date of occurrence: 8 June 2005