Jump to Content

The owner/pilot of the Cessna 402 was conducting a check circuit following the installation of a repaired engine-driven fuel pump. He occupied the left control seat. The intended lessee, who was also a pilot, occupied the right control seat.

A witness observed the aircraft fly downwind on a left circuit for runway 18 and complete what appeared to be a normal base turn. When the aircraft was on final approach, with the landing gear extended, it briefly pitched nose up and yawed left before the nose pitched down and the yaw was corrected. The aircraft then rapidly lost altitude and crashed into scrub short of the airport boundary fence and approximately 200 m from the runway threshold. Both occupants sustained serious injuries. The intended lessee later indicated that both engines had ceased operating almost simultaneously when the aircraft was on final approach. He said that he then moved both fuel selectors from main tanks to auxiliary tanks.

The aircraft was examined shortly after the accident. Very little fuel remained in any of the four fuel tanks. Three days later, after the aircraft was removed to a maintenance facility, the fuel tanks were drained. The amount of fuel recovered from each tank was measured as follows:

Left main: 2.50 US gallons / 9.5 litres
Left auxiliary: 2.75 US gallons / 10.45 litres
Right auxiliary: 3.0 US gallons / 11.4 litres
Right main: 1.25 US gallons / 4.75 litres

Total 9.5 US gallons / 36.1 litres

The aircraft was equipped with optional 20 US gallon auxiliary fuel tanks. The Cessna 402 Pilot's Operating Handbook stated that the total unusable fuel for this configuration was 3 US gallons, consisting of 1 US gallon in each main tank, and 0.5 US gallons in each auxiliary tank.

Both engine-driven fuel pumps were removed for testing. They functioned correctly. The engine-driven fuel pump from the left engine had been re-installed the day before the accident after being repaired. During subsequent engine ground runs, maintenance personnel noted that the fuel gauges indicated less than 5 US gallons in each main tank. Although there was a small amount of usable fuel recovered from the main tanks, it is possible that aircraft attitude changes during the approach allowed the relatively small amount of fuel remaining to move away from the fuel pick-up points inside the main tanks, thereby starving the engines of fuel.

No documentary or witness information was found to suggest that the aircraft had been refuelled after the engine runs were completed, and prior to conducting the check circuit. Two witnesses stated that

 
General details
Date: 18 May 2001 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 0728 hours EST  
Location   (show map):Maroochydore/Sunshine Coast, Aero. Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Queensland Occurrence type: Collision with terrain 
Release date: 24 June 2002 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: Serious 
 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Cessna Aircraft Company 
Aircraft model: 402 
Aircraft registration: VH-RJH 
Serial number: 4020023 
Type of operation: Private 
Damage to aircraft: Substantial 
Departure point:Maroochydore, QLD
Departure time:0725 hours EST
Destination:Maroochydore, QLD
Crew details
RoleClass of licenceHours on typeHours total
Pilot-in-CommandPrivate
 
Injuries
 CrewPassengerGroundTotal
Serious: 1102
Total:1102
 
 
 
Share this page Provide feedback on this investigation
Last update 13 May 2014