Aviation safety investigations & reports

Piper PA28-181, VH-WJZ, 10 km N of Gunnedah NSW, 2 December 1990

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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During descent, approximately 20 kilometres from the destination aerodrome, the engine lost power. The pilot turned on the electric fuel pump, resulting in the engine briefly regaining power before stopping. By this time the aircraft was near the edge of a thunderstorm with associated rain and turbulence. The pilot attempted a forced landing onto a grass field but overshot the approach due to poor visibility and a tailwind. While manoeuvring to avoid obstacles, the left wing struck the ground, resulting in the aircraft landing heavily, collapsing both nose and right main landing gears. The pilot advised that the engine had lost power due to fuel exhaustion. He attributed this to the use of extra power during the flight to maintain altitude in the hot and turbulent conditions. The mixture had not been leaned to best economy due to an instruction to avoid high engine temperatures following recent maintenance work.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 22KB]
General details
Date: 02 December 1990   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1605    
Location   (show map): 10 km N of Gunnedah    
State: New South Wales    
Release date: 11 April 1991   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Piper Aircraft Corp  
Aircraft model PA-28  
Aircraft registration VH-WJZ  
Serial number 28-8090006  
Type of operation Private  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Ballina NSW  
Departure time 1411  
Destination Gunnedah NSW