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The aircraft was crulstng in a southerly direction at an altitude of 4500 feet above mean sea level in clear weather conditions north of Mansfield when there was a substantial loss of engine power and smoke issued from the engine and entered the cabin. The pilot checked the engine controls and selected the mixture control to the idle cut-off position. He made a distress radio call to the Melbourne Flight Service Unit and reported that he had a suspected engine fire and intended to make a forced landing two miles north of Mansfield. A field to the left was selected by the pilot as being suitable for a forced landing and he planned to fly down the western side of the field and make a left turn of about 180 degrees to land to the north into a light northerly surface wind. As the aircraft descended the undercarriage was selected down and a left hand turn was commenced but, as the turn progressed,the pilot decided that the field which he had selected was unsuitable and that he would now land in the field adjacent to and to the west of that originally selected. At this stage the starboard wing dropped and, despite recovery action taken by the pilot, the aircraft veered to the right until it was heading some 45 degrees to the right of the intended final approach path at a very low height. The aircraft then struck the upper limbs of a large gum tree at a height of about 50 feet, passed through the upper section of the tree and dropped steeply' into a nearby small dam coming to rest in a level attitude in water some four feet in depth. Subsequent investigation indicated that the engine power loss was the result of an in-service failure of the No. 4 cylinder connecting rod big end bearing as a result of which the connecting rod had fractured and penetrated the crankcase.
Download Final Report
[ Download PDF: 160KB]
General details
Date: 25 April 1973 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1425 EST  
Location:Mansfield Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Victoria Occurrence type: Loss of control 
Release date: 02 August 1974 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: Serious 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Beech Aircraft Corp 
Aircraft model: 35 
Aircraft registration: VH-MNC 
Type of operation: Private 
Damage to aircraft: Substantial 
Departure point:Tamworth
Departure time:1156
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Last update 13 May 2014