Aviation safety investigations & reports

Cessna 172 RG, VH-KDO, Rye Park' Carabost NSW, 26 November 1990

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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The aircraft, being flown by a pilot who had just completed type endorsement, was enroute Canberra - Talbingo - Albury at 6000 feet. Approaching Talbingo the pilot noticed that the fuel gauges, which had each indicated three quarters full at Canberra, were indicating that only a small quantity of fuel remained. Suspecting that either a severe leak had developed or he had made a serious error in fuel planning, the pilot elected to carry out an emergency landing in the Carabost area. To accurately report his position, the pilot attempted to tune the radio navigation aids to the Albury VOR, DME and ADF, without success. He then initiated descent and attempted, unsuccessfully, to transmit a MAYDAY call to Wagga Flight Service, Albury Tower and to broadcast on 121.5 MHz. On final approach to the selected landing point the pilot applied power but the engine failed to respond. The aircraft touched down short of the intended landing point, bounced over a fence and landed heavily in a paddock, collapsing the landing gear. The occupants evacuated the aircraft without assistance. Inspection of the aircraft the next day revealed that it had an adequate quantity of clean, water-free fuel in the tanks. Sufficient battery voltage was available to raise the flaps. The landing gear tracks on the ground indicated that the main landing gear had extended but had not locked down prior to landing. The descent had been carried out with throttle closed, mixture rich, carburettor heat on and cowl flaps open. To conserve fuel the pilot did not warm the engine during the descent. Consequently, low engine temperature, possibly combined with fouled spark plugs, prevented the engine from responding when the pilot sought power on final approach. The indication of low fuel quantity, combined with the inability to receive navigation aids and to transmit a radio message, plus the failure of the main landing gear to lock down are consistent with an electrical malfunction or low battery voltage. Overnight, the battery could have recovered sufficient charge to permit the flaps to be raised. Thus an electrical malfunction and/or a loss of battery voltage, affecting the fuel quantity indicating system and misleading the pilot into believing that his fuel state was critically low, may have occurred.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 24KB]
General details
Date: 26 November 1990   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1150    
Location: Rye Park' Carabost    
State: New South Wales    
Release date: 07 August 1991   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Cessna Aircraft Company  
Aircraft model 172  
Aircraft registration VH-KDO  
Serial number 172RG0641  
Type of operation Private  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Canberra ACT  
Departure time 1135  
Destination Essendon VIC