Aviation safety investigations & reports

Depressurisation - Tamworth, NSW, 26 February 2007, VH-HPB, Fairchild Industries SA227-DC

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 26 February 2007, while in cruise at flight level (FL) 190 on a scheduled passenger flight from Inverell, to Sydney, NSW, with two pilots and six passengers, the crew of a Fairchild Industries SA227-DC (Metro) aircraft, registered VH-HPB, reported that the cabin altitude increased rapidly. The crew immediately donned their emergency oxygen masks and descended the aircraft to 10,000 ft. The flight continued to Sydney and landed safely. There were no injuries.

This was the second reported in-flight depressurisation on VH-HPB. The aircraft operator reported a prior event on 12 February 2007.

Following the 26 February 2007 event, the aircraft operator conducted extensive troubleshooting of the aircraft's pressurisation system and door seals in an attempt to isolate the reason for the depressurisation. Following maintenance actions, the aircraft was returned to service.

The operator reported that the aircraft again depressurised in-flight on two more occasions on 20 March and 4 April 2007. Despite further troubleshooting and maintenance actions, the operator was unable to ascertain the reason for the depressurisations. As a result, following the 4 April event, the operator issued a Pilot Operations Notice to all flight crew restricting the operating altitude of the aircraft to a maximum of 12,000 ft. Subsequent to this action, the aircraft depressurised again in-flight on 16 August 2007.

On 16 October 2007, as a result of fleet changes, the aircraft operator ceased operating VH-HPB. The aircraft subsequently completed a Phase check, including a thorough inspection of all pressurisation components and systems. The aircraft was subject to several pressurisation ground runs, however no anomalies with the pressurisation system were found.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 140KB]
General details
Date: 26 February 2007   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1905 ESuT    
Location   (show map): East of Tamworth,    
State: New South Wales   Occurrence type: Air/pressurisation  
Release date: 03 March 2008   Occurrence category: Serious Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Fairchild Industries Inc  
Aircraft model SA227  
Aircraft registration VH-HPB  
Serial number DC-808B  
Type of operation Air Transport Low Capacity  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Inverell, NSW  
Departure time 1830  
Destination Sydney, NSW  
Last update 18 April 2018