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During preflight inspection the pilot visually checked that both fuel tanks were full. About two hours after DEPARTURE, whilst cruising at 7000 feet, the engine suffered a sudden and total loss of power. The pilot immediately selected the left fuel tank but was unable to restore power. As both fuel contents gauges were indicating above half, the pilot reselected the right fuel tank and unsuccessfully continued attempts to restart the engine. The aircraft was force-landed in a swamp, coming to rest intact, but partially submerged. The occupants were able to escape onto the right wing and were rescued by helicopter a short time later. Investigation revealed the right fuel tank cap was unfastened and the tank contained only one litre of fuel. Although the left tank cap was partially unlocked, the tank opening was sealed. That tank contained about 65 litres of fuel. The locking mechanism on both tank caps was extremely stiff and difficult to operate. The unfastened right fuel tank cap had allowed most of the fuel to vent from the tank opening during flight. The engine, which was operating from the right tank, lost power when all fuel was exhausted from the tank. The venting action also caused the bottom of the fuel cell to rise, biasing the fuel contents gauge to indicate about half full. It is believed the engine did not restart with the left tank selected because the pilot did not allow sufficient time for air to be purged from the engine fuel injection system.

Download Final Report
[ Download PDF: 23KB]
General details
Date: 11 June 1990 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 434  
Location:1.6 km south-east of Medowie Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: New South Wales  
Release date: 15 May 1991  
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Beech Aircraft Corp 
Aircraft model: 36 
Aircraft registration: VH-MAO 
Serial number: E-1226 
Type of operation: Private 
Damage to aircraft: Substantial 
Departure point:Coolangatta Qld
Departure time:0229
Destination:Bankstown NSW
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