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Shortly after takeoff from runway 17, at about 200 to 300 feet above the ground, the left engine lost power. The pilot shut the engine down and feathered the propeller and returned for a safe landing on runway 28. An engineering inspection revealed that the head had completely separated from number three cylinder of the left engine. The separation occurred in such a way that the induction pipe separated from its flange which resulted in there being no power available from the other cylinders. The cylinder that failed was only 200 hours old since new. The engine had been fitted with six new cylinders, all from the same batch from the same manufacturer. Because of this the operator decided to check the five remaining cylinders. Initial compression checks revealed no abnormalities. However, a wet compression check revealed that all five cylinder heads were porous due to faulty manufacture. Details of the operator's findings were passed to CASA and as a result an airworthiness directive (CAO Part 106 AD/LYC/101) was issued requiring some other cylinders from the same manufacturer to be inspected within specified time frames.
Download Final Report
[ Download PDF: 15KB]
General details
Date: 06 October 1996 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 14:22 EST  
 Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
Release date: 10 December 1996 Occurrence class: Technical 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Incident 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Piper Aircraft Corp 
Aircraft model: PA-31-350 
Aircraft registration: VH-NEF 
Sector: Piston 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
Departure point:King Island Tas
Destination:Launceston Tas
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Last update 28 October 2014