Jump to Content
Download Final Report
[ Download PDF: 120KB]

VH-SPP departed Cloncurry on a low level aero-magnetic survey flight at the estimated time of 0730 EST with an endurance of about 7 hours. The aircraft was due to return to Cloncurry by 1230 but failed to arrive. Attempts were made to contact the aircraft throughout the afternoon before it was declared overdue at about 2030. The burnt-out wreckage of the aircraft was found by search aircraft the following morning about 9 km north of the survey area and 30 km south of Cloncurry.

The aircraft had struck the ground in a nose-down, inverted attitude. It bounced from this position and came to rest upright, facing the opposite direction. At impact, the left propeller was in the feathered position and fuel to this engine had been shut off. The right engine was operating normally at impact, with fuel being fed from the centre tank.

The investigation revealed that, apart from a 2-hour flight the previous day, the pilot had no other experience in SPP. It was also revealed that there were two significant differences between the fuel system in SPP and that of other Aero Commander models the pilot had flown. These differences concerned the time taken for the outboard fuel tanks to empty and the orientation of the cockpit fuel selector switches.

The analysis concludes that these differences probably led to mismanagement of the fuel system by the pilot and to failure of the left engine due to fuel starvation, followed a short time later by failure of the right engine, also due to fuel starvation. It is possible that the pilot realised what had happened and was able to restart the right engine but not before the performance of the aircraft had deteriorated to such an extent that control of the aircraft with one engine operating could not be maintained.

Download Final Report
[ Download PDF: 120KB]
General details
Date: 09 November 1994 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1221 EST  
Location   (show map):33 km S Cloncurry Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Queensland Occurrence type: Fuel starvation 
Release date: 01 March 1997 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: Fatal 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Aero Commander 
Aircraft model: 680 
Aircraft registration: VH-SPP 
Serial number: 680F-1128-74 
Type of operation: Aerial Work 
Damage to aircraft: Destroyed 
Departure point:Cloncurry, QLD
Departure time:0000 hours
Destination:Cloncurry, QLD
Crew details
RoleClass of licenceHours on typeHours total
Fatal: 2002
Share this page Provide feedback on this investigation
Last update 13 May 2014