Aviation safety investigations & reports

Piper Aircraft Corp PA-38-112, VH-ZWG

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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.    
State: Victoria   Occurrence type: Fuel starvation  
Release date: 01 August 2000   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

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
Role Class of licence Hours on type Hours total
Pilot-in-Command Commercial 503.0 1021
Last update 13 May 2014