Aviation safety investigations & reports

Beech 36 VH-WLP, 12 km west of Gamboola Station, Queensland, 15 July 1976

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On the day of the accident the pilot commenced operations in VH-WLP at about 0630 hours and completed two flights from Mareeba to Kowanyama and return. He then refuelled the aircraft, probably to capacity, adding 184 litres of fuel. The aircraft departed from Mareeba bound for Dunbar at 1430 hours. No passengers or freight were carried and it was intended to uplift five passengers at Dunbar for return to Mareeba. Weather conditions over the route were fine. At 1513 hours the pilot established high frequency radio communications with Weipa Flight Service Unit and reported that his position at 1510 hours was abeam Gamboola, altitude below 5000 feet and estimated arrival time at Dunbar was 1539 hours. Radio communications in the area were adversely affected by ionospheric conditions. At 1520 hours the pilot advised 'returning to Gamboola, estimating Gamboola three zero, have a suspected broken exhaust pipe'. Following a request from Weipa he advised that 'operations normal this time' and 'suspect that I have a broken exhaust pipe by vibration and engine no other indications.' The next communication from the pilot was at 1525 hours when he broadcast 'mayday mayday mayday, whisky lima papa, five miles closing down engine failure partial engine failure.' At 1526 hours the last transmission received from the aircraft was 'whisky lima papa I'm ah all but there to Gamboola five miles short I'm going to have to put down.'
Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 106KB]
General details
Date: 15 July 1976   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1526 EST    
Location: 12 km west of Gamboola Station    
State: Queensland    
Release date: 15 December 1978   Occurrence category: Mechanical  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Fatal  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Beech Aircraft Corp  
Aircraft model 36  
Aircraft registration VH-WLP  
Type of operation Charter  
Damage to aircraft Destroyed  
Departure point Mareeba Qld.  
Departure time 1430  
Destination Dunbar Qld.  
Crew details
Role Class of licence Hours on type Hours total
Pilot-in-Command Commercial 154 2374
  Crew Passenger Ground Total
Fatal: 1 0 0 1
Total: 1 0 0 1
Last update 01 April 2011