Aviation safety investigations & reports

Modified Sportsman, Not Registered, Toogoolawah QLD, 27 July 1985

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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Before take-off the pilot had been briefed on the operation of the aircraft by the owner. The owner had suggested the pilot make a short flight along the strip or that if he had the "feel" of the aircraft he could complete a circuit before landing. After becoming airborne the aircraft initially flew about 25 feet above the strip before entering a shallow climb. At a height of between 100 and 150 feet the engine noise suddenly ceased and pieces of the propeller were observed falling from the aircraft. The aircraft continued straight ahead for a short time before commencing a turn to the left. During the turn, the left wing and nose dropped and the aircraft struck the ground in a steep nose down attitude. Inspection of the wreckage revealed that one of the three propeller blades had disintegrated. The blade had failed due to the progressive propagation of spanwise splits along its length. Similar spanwise splits were also found in the other two blades. The splits were found to have originated from radial cracking at the hub of the blade which had been caused by local overstressing of the wood in the area of the blade retainers. Also, the widely spaced power strokes of the four stroke engine fitted to the aircraft would have contributed to the spanwise splitting of the propeller blades. The propeller manufacturer does not recommend the use of this type of propeller with the engine fitted to the aircraft. No other defects were found with the aircraft that could have contributed to the occurrence. Following the propeller failure, the pilot inadvertently stalled the aircraft while attempting to manoeuvre it for landing.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 22KB]
General details
Date: 27 July 1985   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1215    
Location: Toogoolawah    
State: Queensland   Occurrence type: Propeller/rotor malfunction  
Release date: 07 March 1986   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Fatal  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Unknown  
Aircraft model Modified Sportsman  
Aircraft registration Not registered  
Type of operation Private  
Damage to aircraft Destroyed  
Departure point Toogoolawah QLD  
Departure time 1215  
Destination Toogoolawah QLD