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Summary

Summary

Witness evidence indicates the aircraft and pilot were hired so the passengers, Federal and State officers, could complete an aerial inspection of some unidentified drums located in a small bay 45 km east of Albany. An attempt to reach the drums on foot had failed because of dense undergrowth.

The pilots flight information sheet shows the flight departed Albany Airport at 0901. Passengers watches indicate the crash occurred between 0920 and 0925. There were no witnesses to the route flown or the crash.

The aircraft was reported missing at 1500 and the wreckage was located at 1615, on the edge of the bay containing the drums.

The investigation determined that neither engine was producing power at impact. The rear engine had been starved of fuel. It is probable that an unbalanced right turn caused unporting of the fuel line to the right sump.

As the right sump fuel contents approached the unusable level it is likely the rear engine began to surge rather then just lose all power immediately. Re-establishment of fuel supply from the auxiliary tank would have corrected the situation and prevented complete power loss. The pilot probably attempted to change the tank selection. The lack of fuel in the rear fuel supply lines indicates that this did not occur. Although there is no substantive evidence to explain the loss of power on the front engine it is possible the pilot inadvertently selected it off instead of selecting the rear engine to the auxiliary tank.

Failure of the rear engine alone may have been sufficient to cause the loss of control; particularly, if the pilot was distracted from flying the aircraft by the engine/fuel situation. Failure of both engines at a critical point in a maximum-performance turn in a confined area would almost certainly lead to loss of control.

The low operating altitude probably prevented recovery from the loss of control situation before impact.

 
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