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The pilot reported that while spraying a crop in a scrubby paddock, the engine lost power during a pull-up manoeuvre over a scrub line. There was no suitable landing area ahead so the pilot turned left through 100 deg in an attempt to reach a suitable clear area. He dumped the load to clear a fence but the angle of approach into the clearing was encroaching on another fence line running in approximately the same direction as the intended landing direction. This required a shallow right turn which was still being completed at touchdown. This resulted in the right wing spray boom catching in the crop which in turn resulted in a ground loop and left main landing gear collapse. The maintenance engineer who recovered the aircraft, advised that the engine operated normally when test run. The aircraft is fitted with two fuel tanks, one in each wing. The tanks feed into a common sump and the fuel selector only has two positions - ON or OFF. One tank contained 28 lt of fuel and the other one was empty. The tank vent line for the tank containing fuel was found to be blocked by a wasp's nest. Normally the two tanks would feed evenly to the common sump but the blocked vent line probably prevented this from occurring and in turn starved the engine of fuel.
Download Final Report
[ Download PDF: 13KB]
General details
Date: 11 October 1996 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 17:00 CST  
 Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
 Occurrence type: Fuel starvation 
Release date: 09 December 1996 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Piper Aircraft Corp 
Aircraft model: PA-36-285 
Aircraft registration: VH-BQD 
Sector: Piston 
Damage to aircraft: Substantial 
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Last update 28 October 2014