Aviation safety investigations & reports

Cessna 177, VH-DZK, Near Samsonvale QLD, 3 January 1991

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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The pilot reported that he had refuelled at Dubbo enroute from Albury and departed Dubbo for Redcliffe with full tanks. Flight planned endurance was 300 minutes, the planned flight time was 210 minutes and the flight was to be conducted below 5000 feet. The pilot stated that during the flight he had encountered light to moderate turbulence and that frequent increases to the power setting had been made, to compensate for the effect of turbulence on aircraft performance. Passing Warwick, 160 kilometres from Redcliffe, the fuel gauges were reading one quarter and below one quarter, which was assessed by the pilot to be adequate to continue the flight. As the aircraft crossed the ranges to the west of Redcliffe, the turbulence became more severe and the pilot noticed the fuel gauge needles on or close to the empty stops, but expected that there would still be sufficient fuel remaining. Shortly after this, at 2000 feet, the fuel pressure dropped to zero and the engine failed. The pilot turned on the auxiliary fuel pump, selected a field and was about to land, when the engine restarted at about 100 feet above ground level. The pilot stated that he commenced a climb towards Redcliffe but passing 1500 feet the engine failed again. A forced landing was carried out onto a 500 metre long disused strip which was overgrown by tall grass. The pilot was forced to land downwind, and was unable to use the full length of the strip due to high trees on the approach end. During the landing roll, the aircraft ran off the end of the strip and down an embankment, before colliding with a dead tree and a fence cornerpost. Higher than normal power settings, stronger headwinds than planned for and turbulence contributed to fuel exhaustion after 260 minutes of flight. This accident was not the subject of an on-scene investigation.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 22KB]
General details
Date: 03 January 1991   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1450    
Location   (show map): Near Samsonvale    
State: Queensland    
Release date: 01 March 1991   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Cessna Aircraft Company  
Aircraft model 177  
Aircraft registration VH-DZK  
Serial number 17700134  
Type of operation Private  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Dubbo NSW  
Departure time 1041  
Destination Redcliffe QLD  
Last update 13 May 2014