Aviation safety investigations & reports

Abnormal airspeed indications, Enroute from/to Brisbane Qld

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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In August and November 2004, two Bombardier DHC8-315 aircraft, VH-SBJ and VH-SBW, experienced similar abnormal airspeed indications during flight. At the time, both aircraft were being operated in instrument meteorological conditions in cloud and conditions conducive to icing. Examination of flight data recorder information suggested that the pitot heads had become blocked, most probably by ice, preventing air pressure being sensed by the instruments.

The investigation found that the aircraft maintenance manual contained inadequate guidance regarding the continued airworthiness of the pitot head and associated electrical system and that the Quick Reference Handbook for the DHC8-300 did not contain adequate guidance for the flight crew to resolve the abnormal operation of the aircraft systems.

Following the reported incidents, Bombardier, the manufacturer of the DHC8 series aircraft, published a service letter, DH8-SL-34-023. The service letter advised of new procedures regarding the maintenance of pitot head assemblies and associated electrical connectors.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 1.79MB]
General details
Date: 31 August 2004   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 18:06    
Location   (show map): 78km NNW Brisbane, VOR    
State: Queensland   Occurrence type: Icing  
Release date: 08 June 2007   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer de Havilland Canada  
Aircraft model DHC-8  
Aircraft registration VH-SBJ  
Serial number 578  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Brisbane QLD  
Departure time 07:49  
Destination Gladstone QLD  
Last update 13 May 2014