Aviation safety investigations & reports

Piper PA28-140, VH-WRH, 5 km NE of Bendigo VIC, 26 December 1989

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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The pilot was flying at 1500 feet above ground level with the fuel selector set for the right fuel tank when the engine stopped. The right fuel gauge was reading near empty but the reading was fluctuating due to gusty inflight weather conditions. The left tank had already been run dry in an effort to achieve maximum endurance. Based on past fuel burn off rates and elapse time since the last refuel, the pilot believed that his 45 minute fixed reserve was still available despite the low fuel gauge reading. When the engine stopped the pilot selected the boost pump on. The engine restarted for a few seconds before stopping again. He turned the aircraft to the most suitable paddocks where he became committed to a downwind forced landing. During the landing roll the right flap was damaged by a steel fence post. After the landing the pilot saw fuel stains on the left wing near the fuel cap. Fuel had vented overboard in flight past a faulty fuel cap seal.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 22KB]
General details
Date: 26 December 1989   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 2020    
Location: 5 km NE of Bendigo    
State: Victoria    
Release date: 18 July 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-WRH  
Serial number 28-2248  
Type of operation Private  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Narrandera NSW  
Departure time 1820  
Destination Bendigo VIC