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The Piper Tomahawk aircraft was being used to conduct a series of touch-and-go landings during a dual instructional flight. During the climb after the second takeoff, and when the aircraft was at a height of about 200 ft, the engine failed without warning. The instructor manoeuvred the aircraft to avoid landing in a lake located just beyond the end of the runway and landed in an adjacent paddock. Although the aircraft hit some low bushes during the landing roll, the pilots were not injured and the aircraft was not damaged.

The aircraft was moved to a maintenance facility and, prior to conducting any maintenance or inspections, the engine was started and ground-run without any obvious problems. The maintenance inspection revealed a contact mark had been worn through the Teflon coating of the wear area of the carburettor float needle. When the carburettor was reassembled and tested, it was found that the carburettor float needle would stick in the valve seat and prevent fuel flowing into the carburettor bowl. The float needle and seat were replaced, and the aircraft test-flown without further incident.

General details
Date: 31 January 2000 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1145 hours ESuT  
Location   (show map):Point Cook, Aero. Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Victoria Occurrence type: Fuel starvation 
Release date: 01 August 2000 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Piper Aircraft Corp 
Aircraft model: PA-38 
Aircraft registration: VH-ZWG 
Serial number: 38-78A0234 
Type of operation: Flying Training 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
Departure point:Essendon, VIC
Departure time:1100 hours ESuT
Destination:Essendon, VIC
Crew details
RoleClass of licenceHours on typeHours total
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Last update 13 May 2014