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At approximately 500 ft after take-off the engine began to run roughly. The aircraft was immediately positioned for a landing back on to the departure runway. The engine was still developing sufficient power at this point to complete a climbing turn to 800 ft. Approximately mid-down wind, the engine began to run very roughly and then lost all power. In the subsequent forced landing the aircraft touched down approximately one third of the way along the runway. The pilot was unable to bring the aircraft to a halt in the distance remaining to avoid overrunning the the end of the strip. The aircraft came to rest part way down the sloping sea wall at the end of the runway. All three occupants were able to evacuate the aircraft safely. Examination of the engine found that the centre electrodes for both spark plugs in the number four cylinder were excessively lead fouled and unable to fire. The porcelain surrounding the electrode on the top spark plug for number two cylinder was also cracked and indications were that this plug was firing intermittently. No other faults were found that could have contributed to to the power loss.
Download Final Report
[ Download PDF: 14KB]
General details
Date: 15 July 1994 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 16:50 EST  
 Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
 Occurrence type: Forced/precautionary landing 
Release date: 20 February 1996  
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Piper Aircraft Corp 
Aircraft model: PA-28-181 
Aircraft registration: VH-FTL 
Sector: Piston 
Damage to aircraft: Substantial 
Departure point:Keswick Island QLD
Destination:Mackay QLD
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Last update 21 October 2014