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The pilot of the Pawnee Brave was conducting a procedure turn to the right, at the end of a spray run. At a height of about 150 ft he heard a loud bang, felt the aircraft shudder, and saw flames passing down the left side of the engine cowling. From the apex of the turn, at a height of about 250 ft, the pilot elected to land in an open field adjacent to the wheat crop he had been spraying. He kept the engine running, as it was still developing some power, until the landing was assured Before he had crossed the boundary fence, the cockpit had started to fill with smoke. Once the landing was assured, the pilot completed the emergency shut down checks and landed. His vision was obscured by engine oil on the windscreen, smoke in the cockpit and flames and smoke outside the aircraft. After landing, the pilot found that directional control and braking were hampered due to the left brake failing. Once the aircraft had stopped the pilot was able to escape safely, but was unable to extinguish the fire with the portable fire extinguisher. The aircraft was totally burnt out within 30 minutes. A subsequent examination of the wreckage found that a cylinder had separated on the left side of the engine, fracturing a fuel injector line. Fuel had sprayed onto an adjacent high tension ignition lead conductor, which was shorting to the sparkplug body. The left brake failed due to the airborne fire burning through a flexible hydraulic brake line.
Download Final Report
[ Download PDF: 14KB]
General details
Date: 29 August 1996 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 9:30 EST  
 Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
 Occurrence type: Forced/precautionary landing 
Release date: 14 October 1996  
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Piper Aircraft Corp 
Aircraft model: PA-36-375 
Aircraft registration: VH-OOZ 
Sector: Piston 
Damage to aircraft: Destroyed 
Departure point:'Uley' Ardlethan NSW
Destination:'Uley' Ardlethan NSW
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Last update 28 October 2014