On 14 February 2010, the pilot of a Cessna Aircraft Company
TU206C (C206), registered ZK-JAO, was being operated on a private
ferry flight under the
visual flight rules (VFR) from Lord Howe Island, New South Wales (NSW) to Coolangatta, Queensland (Qld) via Port Macquarie, NSW. Those sectors comprised the final stage of the ferry flight, which had originated from New Zealand. The pilot was the only person on board the aircraft.
The pilot reported that he had experienced intermittent ferry tank fuel flow problems during the flight from Lord Howe Island, NSW to mainland Australia. The pilot consequently selected the aircraft's main fuel tanks to ensure a reliable supply of fuel to the engine. At approximately 19 km east of South West Rocks, NSW, when the fuel was exhausted from the aircraft's main fuel tanks, the pilot selected fuel from the ferry tank, but was unable to restart the engine. The fuel flow from the ferry tank had been disrupted and the remaining 300 L in that tank was unable to be accessed. The pilot conducted a successful forced landing at an airstrip in the vicinity of South West Rocks, NSW. There was no reported damage to the aircraft or injuries to the occupant.
The reason why the ferry tank's fuel flow was disrupted could not be established; however, the pilot stated it was likely that an air pocket somewhere in the fuel system between the ferry tank and the aircraft's main fuel lines starved the engine of fuel.
The pilot had installed the ferry tank in New Zealand without the appropriate regulatory authorisations and qualifications to do so.
Although there was no evidence as to whether the installation of the ferry tank played a role in the incident; it is a reminder that approved modifications, carried out by appropriately qualified and licensed people are likely to reduce risk.