Aviation safety investigations & reports

Beech V35, N8849, Alice Springs NT, 3 May 1990

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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The aircraft had been refueled to full tanks the night before and a thorough fuel drain check was completed as part of the preflight inspection. No water or impurities were detected. On the day of the accident, the aircraft completed a short local flight of some 25 minutes before departing for its destination. The right tank was used for most of the local flight so the pilot changed to the nearly full left tank some minutes before joining the circuit. The engine failed immediately after the pilot commenced to turn onto base leg. The fuel selector remained on the left tank and the engine caught several times by use of the wobble pump but did not continue to run. During the trouble checks, the pilot switched on the left tip tank pump but this did not help as the pump transfers fuel only to the left main tank. By this stage, the pilot was committed to a forced landing and landed the aircraft about three kilometres short of the threshold.

After touchdown, the aircraft crossed a road and passed through a fence before coming to rest on open ground with the nosegear collapsed. An extensive investigation, failed to find a cause for the engine failure. However, the investigation revealed that the pilot did not operate the wobble pump vigorously enough to produce a fuel flow. Operation of the wobble pump more vigorously during the technical investigation, produced a suitable fuel flow from all selected tank positions. The front seat passenger, who was also a commercial pilot, confirmed correct in flight tank selections.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 23KB]
General details
Date: 03 May 1990   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 932    
Location: Alice Springs    
State: Northern Territory    
Release date: 06 August 1990   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Beech Aircraft Corp  
Aircraft model 35  
Aircraft registration N8849A  
Serial number N/K  
Type of operation Private  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Yulara NT  
Departure time 0800  
Destination Alice Springs NT