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The pilot was asked to bring some mill parts out to a Station Outcamp. He decided to fly out rather than drive. After dipping the fuel tanks the pilot boarded the aircraft and flew to the Outcamp, where he off-loaded the equipment with the engine running. The pilot then lined-up along the strip and commenced the takeoff roll. The engine failed shortly after the aircraft became airborne and the pilot was forced to land ahead. During the landing roll the aircraft hit a tree. When the pilot checked the fuel tanks during his daily inspection the left- hand tank contained 9 litres of fuel and the right-hand tank contained 31 litres of fuel. Total fuel contents were adequate for the intended flights. The pilot selected the left fuel tank for start up and taxi intending to change to the right tank prior to the first takeoff. The pilot did not change the tank selection. The engine failed, shortly after liftoff, on the second flight when the contents of the left-hand fuel tank were exhausted. There was insufficient time for the pilot to take any action other than attempt a forced landing. The terrain, in the area of the landing, was unsuitable. The Aircraft Flight Manual Pre-takeoff Check List (Vital Actions) includes a check that the fuel selector is selected to the fullest tank.

Download Final Report
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General details
Date: 12 October 1988 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1230  
Location:Williambury Station Outcamp (175km NE Carnarvon) Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Western Australia  
Release date: 16 November 1988  
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Piper Aircraft Corp 
Aircraft model: PA-18 
Aircraft registration: VH-PYK 
Serial number: 18-8634 
Type of operation: Business 
Damage to aircraft: Substantial 
Departure point:Outcamp WA
Departure time:1230
Destination:Williambury Station WA
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