Aviation safety investigations & reports

Transavia PL12, VH-MLJ, 8 km NNE of Gretna TAS, 29 June 1987

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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The pilot was conducting superphosphate spreading operations from an agricultural strip. Shortly after the aircraft became airborne on about the fifth or sixth takeoff for the day, the engine failed. The pilot immediately changed tanks and placed the fuel-pump switch in the high/prime position, but the engine did not respond. The pilot dumped the load and attempted a forced landing on steeply rising terrain. Touchdown was heavy, the nosegear collapsed and the aircraft overturned. The engine failure was determined to be caused by fuel starvation owing to fuel system mismanagement. It was established that the pilot had been pre-occupied with a personal problem, which distracted him from the task at hand. As a result, one tank had been allowed to run dry, and although the other tank had been full, a defective microswitch had prevented the fuel pump from operating in the high/prime position.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 22KB]
General details
Date: 29 June 1987   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 930    
Location: 8 km NNE of Gretna    
State: Tasmania    
Release date: 03 September 1987   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Transavia Corp Pty Ltd  
Aircraft model PL-12  
Aircraft registration VH-MLJ  
Serial number G357  
Type of operation Aerial Work  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point 8 km NNE of Gretna TAS  
Departure time 930  
Destination 8 km NNE of Gretna TAS  
Last update 01 April 2011