Aviation safety investigations & reports

Christen Eagle, VH-BOO, 4 km South of Jandakot WA, 20 January 1989

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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The pilot was carrying out a series of aerobatic manoeuvres when the propeller separated from the airframe. A forced landing was carried out in a suitable paddock. The pilot then noted that one wing had sustained damage from the departing propeller. The evidence available indicates that the propeller fell from the aircraft when the remaining five of the six propeller retaining bolts failed as a result of fatigue cracking and overload. The sixth bolt was not found but lack of marks on the crankshaft flange indicate that it had fallen out prior to failure of the other five bolts. All bolts were in place and secured with lock wire prior to take off. CAA Airworthiness Directive AD/PEP/1 AMDT 2 addresses a known problem which relates to propeller wood shrinkage and loosening of the retaining bolts. The directive recommends special checks on the propeller bolt torque in certain circumstances. The propeller was fitted to the aircraft in Victoria, in a cool moist environment, and the aircraft was then transferred to Perth and operated in a warm dry environment. This change in environment is one of the circumstances set out in the airworthiness directive. No evidence was found to indicate recent compliance with the directive. It is probable that shrinkage of the propeller wood caused loosening of the propeller retaining bolts. The loose bolts were than able to "work" eventually resulting in the failure of the lock wire and loss of one bolt and the failure of the other five bolts.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 22KB]
General details
Date: 20 January 1989   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 740    
Location   (show map): 4 km South of Jandakot    
State: Western Australia   Occurrence type: Propeller/rotor malfunction  
Release date: 03 May 1989   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Amateur Built Aircraft  
Aircraft model Christen Eagle  
Aircraft registration VH-BQO  
Serial number N/A  
Type of operation Private  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Jandakot WA  
Departure time 0720  
Destination Jandakot WA