ATSB response to Findings

The Coroner’s Court of New South Wales (NSW) recently made findings and recommendations into a 2010 fatal accident involving a Piper PA-31P-350 Mojave aircraft, registered VH-PGW, which occurred 6 km north-west of Bankstown Airport, NSW.

The ATSB summary  explains that on 15 June 2010, the pilot of a Piper PA-31P-350 Mojave aircraft and a flight nurse passenger took off from Bankstown Airport. At about 0806 Eastern Standard Time, the aircraft collided with terrain. At the time of the accident the pilot was attempting to return to Bankstown following a reported in-flight engine shutdown.

The Coroner made two recommendations, the first of which reflects a minor safety issue identified by the ATSB in its report:

Coroner’s Recommendation

That the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) finalise the guidance material for Civil Aviation Advisory Publication (CAAP) 5.23 Multi-engine Aeroplane Operations and Training such that the guidance material is completed and released as soon as possible. The coroner noted that the guidance material provides for multi‑engine aeroplane operations and training to support the flight standard in Appendix A of s.1.2 of the CAAP. This relates to engine failure in the cruise.

Safety message

This accident reinforces the importance when flying twin-engine aircraft with one engine shutdown that the optimal speed be selected, along with maximum continuous power on the operative engine, and that the aircraft’s performance should be verified prior to conducting a descent. Pilots should also use the appropriate PAN or MAYDAY phraseology when advising air traffic control of non-normal or emergency situations.

What has been done as a result

CASA has started a project to amend advisory material relating to multi-engine aircraft training and operations to include guidance information about engine problems encountered during the climb and cruise phases of flight. This amended guidance material will include information about aircraft handling, engine management, and decision making during these phases of flight. Updates on this work by CASA are available on the ATSB website

Inquests are separate to ATSB investigations

Coronial investigations are separate to ATSB investigations. In this matter the respective authorities are largely in accord as to the factors that contributed to the development of the accident involving VH-PGW.

The ATSB's report can be downloaded by clicking on the link: Final report

The Coroner's report can be obtained from the Coroner's Court of NSW. Contact details are available at: Queries regarding the Coroner's findings should be directedto the NSW Coroner’s Court.