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During an IFR pre-licence test the pilot of a Beech 76 aircraft, enroute from Maitland to Bankstown, made a MAYDAY call advising that both engines had failed. No location was given and the pilot did not respond to calls from Flight Service. A distress phase was declared and the appropriate authorities notified. A short time later a telephone call was received from the operator, advising that the aircraft had made a forced landing on the Galston sports oval. Both occupants were uninjured, although the aircraft was substantially damaged. Emergency services were in attendance. The distress phase was then cancelled. The aircraft had touched down on a small sporting oval, but the pilot was unable to stop within the confines of the field. The aircraft struck the top of an embankment, where the left wingtip collided with a power pole, and the right main landing gear was torn off. The aircraft then collided with a chain mesh fence, coming to rest in a right wing low attitude. The pilot subsequently reported that about ten minutes prior the event, whilst at 6,000 ft, the left engine had surged and stopped. The propeller was feathered and the fuel crossfeed was selected to the right tank. The engine was restarted and developed normal power. The aircraft was then descended to 1,500 ft, but shortly after, both engines began to surge, causing the aircraft to yaw violently. A MAYDAY call was transmitted but there was insufficient time to report position before the forced landing. The investigation determined that only an unusable quantity of fuel remained on board the aircraft after the accident. Although both left and right fuel tanks had been holed during the accident sequence, testing determined that both tanks were capable of retaining substantial quantities of fuel whilst the aircraft remained in the right wing low attitude at the accident site. An examination of fuel records determined that the aircraft had not been refueled on the day of the accident. Calculations using the previous recorded flying times, and fuel uplifts on the day prior to the accident, determined there had been insufficient fuel on board, prior to takeoff, to complete the flight.
Download Final Report
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General details
Date: 05 December 1997 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 17:50 ESuT  
 Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
 Occurrence type: Fuel exhaustion 
Release date: 24 December 1997 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: Minor 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Beech Aircraft Corp 
Aircraft model: 76 
Aircraft registration: VH-HJS 
Sector: Piston 
Damage to aircraft: Substantial 
Departure point:Maitland NSW
Destination:Bankstown NSW
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Last update 28 October 2014