Aviation safety investigations & reports

Cessna Aircraft Company 210N, VH-TFI

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


The Australian Transport Safety Bureau did not conduct an on scene investigation of this occurrence. The report presented below was derived from information supplied to the Bureau.

The pilot of a Cessna 210 aircraft, registered VH-TFI, who was the sole occupant of the aircraft, was conducting a freight charter flight to several locations in the Northern Territory.

At Baikal airstrip the pilot added 100 L of fuel to the aircraft's left fuel tank from drum stock stored at the airstrip.

Shortly after takeoff, the pilot selected the left fuel tank. The engine then began to surge and run roughly. After seeking advice from the company maintenance staff, he attempted, unsuccessfully, to identify the problem before landing at Utopia station.

The pilot again sought advice from the company maintenance staff before departing Utopia station. Soon after departure, engine oil sprayed onto the windscreen and the engine caught fire and lost power. The pilot intended to return to Utopia station, but almost immediately, the engine failed completely. During the forced landing in an area of low scrub and scattered trees, the pilot sustained facial injuries and the loss of some teeth, but after regaining consciousness was able to vacate the aircraft unassisted. The aircraft was substantially damaged.

Examination of the aircraft by a company engineer revealed that the engine had failed after sustaining catastrophic damage due to contamination of the aircraft's fuel by Jet A1 fuel. The operator reported that when refuelling the aircraft at Baikal, the pilot inadvertently used a drum of Jet A1 fuel.

The operator advised the ATSB that they have amended their refuelling procedures to preclude a recurrence of this accident.

General details
Date: 04 June 2004   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1531 hours CST    
Location   (show map): Utopia Station, (ALA)    
State: Northern Territory   Occurrence type: Fuel contamination  
Release date: 29 July 2004   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Minor  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Cessna Aircraft Company  
Aircraft model 210  
Aircraft registration VH-TFI  
Serial number 21064255  
Type of operation Charter  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Utopia Station, NT  
Departure time 1525 hours CST  
Destination Alcoota Station, NT  
Crew details
Role Class of licence Hours on type Hours total
Pilot-in-Command Commercial 105.0 2748
  Crew Passenger Ground Total
Minor: 1 0 0 1
Total: 1 0 0 1
Last update 13 May 2014