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The accident flight was intended to recover the aircraft which had been force landed that morning, due to a massive oil loss accompanied by a propeller overspeed. After takeoff, the pilot left the landing gear down and climbed the aircraft over land to 1500 feet as he checked the engine instruments. He reported an initial increase in cylinder head temperataure but this was attributed to the landing gear-down climb by the engineer who was following in a helicopter. A short time later, the pilot reported rough running and then the engine vibrated and seized. An attempt was made to reach a clear area on an island, but despite retracting the landing gear, the pilot was forced to land the aircraft in a mangrove-covered tidal plain. The pilot levelled the aircraft over the tree-tops and stalled before cutting through the trees. A heavy ground contact was felt and the aircraft came to rest in about 13 metres. The pilot egressed unaided after closing down the aircraft. The engine was recovered for inspection. Massive internal damage from a progressive failure of components, due lack of lubrication, is considered to have been the most probable cause of the engine failure. This is traceable to the previous occurrence that day when a massive oil loss and overspeed occurred. Inadequate inspection of the aircraft following the previous unserviceability including a failure to comply with the manufacturer's recommendations, allowed the aircraft to depart on the recovery flight in an unairworthy condition.

Download Final Report
[ Download PDF: 23KB]
General details
Date: 29 June 1990 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1323  
Location:SW Vernon Island NT ( 40 Km NNE Darwin ) Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Northern Territory  
Release date: 29 August 1990  
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: Serious 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Piper Aircraft Corp 
Aircraft model: PA-28 
Aircraft registration: VH-SWB 
Serial number: 28R-7635097 
Type of operation: Private 
Damage to aircraft: Destroyed 
Departure point:Cape Gambier NT
Departure time:1310
Destination:Darwin NT
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