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After conducting a thorough pre-flight inspection, the pilot prepared to ferry the aircraft to a maintenance organisation which was to perform a scheduled inspection. The aircraft performed normally until it reached a height of about 200 feet after take-off. At this point the engine lost a substantial amount of power and the pilot was committed to a forced landing. During the landing roll the aircraft collided with a fence and came to rest in the adjacent paddock. Initial inspection revealed that there was a serious leakage of fuel past the fuel filter bowl seal, and it was likely that air had entered the fuel system. The stirrup/clamp which held the filter bowl in place had been subjected to an unauthorised repair, which had probably reduced its overall strength. Fuel had been observed leaking from the filter bowl area several days previously, and it was possible that during the attempts to stop the leak, the stirrup had been incorrectly positioned. The fuel leak had not been drawn to the attention of a licenced engineer.

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General details
Date: 09 December 1986 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 739  
Location:1 km South Lilydale Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Victoria Occurrence type: Fuel starvation 
Release date: 26 March 1987 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: Minor 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Piper Aircraft Corp 
Aircraft model: PA-28 
Aircraft registration: VH-BZB 
Type of operation: Private 
Damage to aircraft: Substantial 
Departure point:Lilydale VIC
Departure time:0739
Destination:Moorabbin VIC
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