Aviation safety investigations & reports

Cessna 210L, VH-BBI, 2 km SW of Point Plomer NSW, 4 January 1988

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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The aircraft was cruising just inland of the beach at 1500 feet when the pilot noted smoke, accompanied by a strong burning smell entering the cabin from the lower right hand side air vent. Almost immediately the engine suffered a complete loss of power. The pilot carried out a successful wheels-up forced landing on the beach. A fire which had been burning in the nose wheelwell area had apparently been extinguished by seawater and wet sand during the landing slide. Inspection revealed that chaffing had occurred between an electric cable and hydraulic line situated in the wheelwell. Arcing from the electric cable burnt through the hydraulic line, and hydraulic oil under pressure escaped in a fine spray and was ignited by the arcing. This created a torching effect which was directed at the fuel strainer. The heat caused the fuel in the strainer to boil, developing a vapour lock and disrupting the fuel flow to the engine and causing the subsequent engine failure. The chaffing of the cable on the pipe was in such a location that it would have been difficult to see during normal periodic or pre-flight inspections.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 23KB]
General details
Date: 04 January 1988   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1230 ESuT    
Location: 2 km SW of Point Plomer    
State: New South Wales   Occurrence type: Fire  
Release date: 17 March 1989   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Serious  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Cessna Aircraft Company  
Aircraft model 210  
Aircraft registration VH-BBI  
Serial number 21060471  
Type of operation Private  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Bankstown NSW  
Departure time 1100  
Destination Maryborough QLD