Aviation safety investigations & reports

Fletcher FU 24, VH-AFN, Enmore (25 km SE Armidale) NSW, 19 March 1986

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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Before commencing the 17th spreading flight for the day, the pilot noted that one fuel tank indicated empty and the other indicated one quarter full. After a normal take-off and turn at about 150 feet above ground level, the engine lost all power. The pilot was committed to a landing in a small paddock with a downhill slope. Touchdown was made in light tailwind conditions, and during an attempt to turn the aircraft to lengthen the landing distance available, the left wing struck the ground. The aircraft partially ground looped, one tyre was rolled off its rim, and the aircraft came to rest within the confines of the paddock. The pilot then physically checked the fuel tank contents and found that only a few litres remained in one of the tanks, while the other was empty. The loss of engine power was caused by fuel starvation. The pilot had not previously flown the aircraft and was not aware of the time the aircraft had been flown since it had last been refuelled. He did not accurately determine the quantity of fuel in the aircraft prior to commencing the operation, nor did he have any method of determining the duration of the flight. He relied solely on the fuel gauges to determine the quantity of fuel in the aircraft.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 22KB]
General details
Date: 19 March 1986   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1025    
Location: Enmore (25 km SE Armidale)    
State: New South Wales    
Release date: 15 May 1986   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Airparts NZ Ltd  
Aircraft model FU-24  
Aircraft registration VH-AFN  
Type of operation Aerial Work  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Enmore NSW  
Departure time 1025  
Destination Enmore NSW