Aviation safety investigations & reports

Piper PA28-181, VH-PZR, 6.5 kms NW of Gosford NSW, 29 December 1988

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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The aircraft had departed from Bankstown with full tanks and flown to Gunnedah. After DEPARTURE for the return flight, the pilot was unable to climb to his planned cruising altitude of 7500 feet due to weather and spent some time climbing and descending to avoid cloud. Conditions subsequently improved and he was able to maintain 7500 for a short time. The weather then deteriorated markedly with heavy rain showers and low cloud. The pilot diverted towards the coast, but then became unsure of his position. Some time later the engine failed when the fuel in one tank was exhausted. After changing tanks, and realising that the fuel gauge indicated less than he expected, the pilot prepared for a precautionary landing on a disused strip. The aircraft was fast on the initial approach and the pilot carried out a go around. On the next approach, the aircraft bounced after touchdown and yawed to the left. The pilot overcorrected and on the second touchdown the aircraft veered to the right, ran off the edge of the strip and over an embankment. Approximately 4 litres of fuel remained in the aircraft tanks. There was no evidence of fuel leakage and no pre-existing fault was found with the aircraft. It was probable that the apparently higher than expected fuel consumption was due to the erratic nature of the flight combined with the leaning procedure adopted by the pilot.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 22KB]
General details
Date: 29 December 1988   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1234    
Location: 6.5 kms NW of Gosford    
State: New South Wales   Occurrence type: Hard landing  
Release date: 28 February 1990   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Piper Aircraft Corp  
Aircraft model PA-28  
Aircraft registration VH-PZR  
Serial number 28-7790595  
Type of operation Private  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Gunnedah NSW  
Departure time 1059  
Destination Bankstown NSW