On 25 July 2008 at 1033 Central Standard Time a Piper PA-31-350 (Chieftain) aircraft, registered VH-ZMK was being operated on a scheduled passenger flight from Darwin to Bathurst Island, Northern Territory (NT). Moments after takeoff, the right engine began to surge and shortly afterwards, the left engine also began to surge. The pilot declared an emergency and returned to the airfield, landing short of the runway.
The investigation was unable to reconcile the pilot's report that he had selected the inboard tanks before takeoff on the incident flight with the evidence of the fuel remaining in the inboard tanks afterwards. The engine surging and power loss could be explained by fuel starvation resulting from selection of the outboard tanks that contained minimal fuel.
|Date:||25 July 2008||Investigation status:||Completed|
|Time:||1033 CST||Investigation level:||Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels|
|State:||Northern Territory||Occurrence type:||Engine failure or malfunction|
|Release date:||14 October 2010||Occurrence class:||Technical|
|Report status:||Final||Occurrence category:||Serious Incident|
|Highest injury level:||None|
|Aircraft manufacturer||Piper Aircraft Corp|
|Type of operation||Air Transport Low Capacity|
|Damage to aircraft||Minor|
|Departure point||Darwin NT|