At about 1545 Eastern Standard Time on 7 August 2010, while returning to Moorabbin Airport, Victoria after conducting aerial photography work, the pilot of a Cessna 152 aircraft, registered VH-KKW, experienced a total loss of power that resulted in an emergency landing approximately 200 m short of the airport. The aircraft was significantly damaged. The pilot and single passenger sustained minor injuries.
The investigation found that the pilot, when preparing for the flight, had misread the aircraft's initial fuel state and had subsequently uplifted a lesser quantity of fuel than required for the flight. Although the fuel remaining was greater than the manufacturer's stated unusable quantity, the investigation determined that the accident was the result of fuel starvation. The aircraft was prone to asymmetric fuel delivery allowing one tank to deplete quicker than the other. That action may have led to the aircraft unporting fuel from the low quantity tank during manoeuvring, which allowed air to be drawn into the engine. The investigation identified inconsistencies in the application of the operator's procedures for recording aircraft fuel states.
As a result of the accident, the operator re-designed the flight time and serviceability log to provide clearer application and recording of aircraft pre and post-refuel fuel state. It also advised that it had: introduced a requirement that a formal 'Fuel Required' calculation be made for all flights leaving the circuit or training area, with a copy to be attached to the passenger list/weight and balance data; inspected the seat-locking mechanisms on all club aircraft and reminded all staff/students/members of the importance of ensuring all seats are locked; and reviewed training requirements for engine failure
Pilots are reminded that there is the potential for asymmetric fuel delivery on Cessna 152 aircraft and as well as monitoring fuel use, they need to be alert to such situations, particularly in minimal fuel states.