A small jet overshot the Lismore Airport runway on Friday afternoon, coming to a halt at the Caniaba Road end of the airstrip.
Photo Cathy Adams / The Northern Star
A small jet overshot the Lismore Airport runway on Friday afternoon, coming to a halt at the Caniaba Road end of the airstrip. Photo Cathy Adams / The Northern Star Cathy Adams

Park brake was to blame in Lismore plane crash

IT'S been one year since a commercial Cessna 550 plane overshot the Lismore airport runway, narrowly missing catastrophe on the busy Bruxner Hwy.

It sparked an investigation and subsequent safety recommendations.

The investigation, carried out by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, found the parking brake was to blame, which was on at the time of take-off.

"The aircraft did not accelerate normally as the acceleration was retarded by drag associated with rolling friction,” the report found.

"This was indicative of partial brake pressure remaining during the take-off run.

"The partial brake pressure was possibly due to the parking brake being selected on at the holding point with enough pressure to retard aircraft acceleration during the take-off, but not sufficient to prevent the aircraft reaching rotate speed.”

A small jet overshot the Lismore Airport runway on Friday afternoon, coming to a halt at the Caniaba Road end of the airstrip.
Photo Cathy Adams / The Northern Star
A small jet overshot the Lismore Airport runway on Friday afternoon, coming to a halt at the Caniaba Road end of the airstrip. Photo Cathy Adams / The Northern Star Cathy Adams

The safety recommendation to come out of the report was for Textron Aviation (Cessna) to address the fact that Citation aircraft do not have an annunciator light to show the parking brake is engaged.

The Cessna 'before take-off' checklist also fails to include a check to ensure the parking brake is disengaged.

The crash occurred on September 25 when a Cessna 550 aircraft taxied at Lismore Airport for a private flight to Baryulgil, near Grafton

The flight crew consisted of a captain and co-pilot who were the only occupants on the aircraft.

The flight crew did not detect anything abnormal during the taxi and take-off roll, until the captain attempted to rotate the aircraft to the take-off pitch attitude.

A small jet overshot the Lismore Airport runway on Friday afternoon, coming to a halt at the Caniaba Road end of the airstrip.
Photo Cathy Adams / The Northern Star
A small jet overshot the Lismore Airport runway on Friday afternoon, coming to a halt at the Caniaba Road end of the airstrip. Photo Cathy Adams / The Northern Star Cathy Adams

When the aircraft had achieved the required rotate speed, the captain applied the normal backpressure on the control column to achieve a standard rate of rotation, and the aircraft did not rotate.

The captain then applied full backpressure and reported that the controls felt very heavy.

Neither the captain nor the co-pilot detected any change in the aircraft's pitch attitude or any indication of pitch-up on the attitude direction indicator.

The captain rejected the take-off, applied full braking and reverse thrust, but the aircraft overran the runway.

The nose landing gear detached from the aircraft about 50m beyond the end of the sealed runway, and the aircraft came to rest in long grass and mud.

The aircraft sustained substantial damage but the captain and co-pilot were uninjured.