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The pilot planned a short flight to Bunbury prior to boarding an international flight from Perth Airport that afternoon. He dipped the fuel tanks and checked the fuel gauge reading against the fuel calibration card, concluding that the aircraft contained about 70 litres of fuel, which was sufficient for the intended flight. Enroute to Bunbury, the pilot noticed that the fuel useage appeared higher than normal but did not take any action to remedy the situation, beyond leaning the mixture. The pilot noticed that both fuel tank indicators were approaching empty when he broadcast the inbound to Bunbury radio transmission. He was not concerned, as a check of the fuel gauge calibration card indicated that there were still 40 litres remaining. Eleven kilometres from Bunbury, the engine stopped and except for one brief burst of power would not restart. The pilot attempted to enter a forced landing pattern two or three times, but had to change the selected landing area on each occasion due to a proliferation of power lines in the area. The aircraft eventually touched down on the bank of a river and overturned. A check of the aircraft found that eight and a half litres of fuel remained in the system, this was three and a half litres less than the published unusable fuel for the aircraft. Perusal of the aircraft records indicated that an error had been made during the latest fuel gauge calibration and the fuel gauge calibration card was inaccurate. It is probable that the aircraft contained much less than 70 litres on DEPARTURE. The pilot sustained facial lacerations when the aircraft overturned on landing. He was not wearing the shoulder portion of the lap/sash seat belt. It is probable that there would have been no injuries if the complete belt had been worn.

Download Final Report
[ Download PDF: 23KB]
General details
Date: 10 September 1990 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 903  
Location   (show map):Bunbury Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Western Australia  
Release date: 21 August 1991  
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: Serious 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Cessna Aircraft Company 
Aircraft model: 172 
Aircraft registration: VH-XPA 
Serial number: R1722260 
Type of operation: Private 
Damage to aircraft: Substantial 
Departure point:Jandakot WA
Departure time:0810
Destination:Bunbury WA
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