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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.

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General details
Date: 31 August 2004 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 18:06  
Location   (show map):78km NNW Brisbane, VOR Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Queensland Occurrence type: Icing 
Release date: 08 June 2007 Occurrence class: Environment 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
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
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Last update 13 May 2014