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On 14 November 2010, a Piper PA-31-350 aircraft registered VH-MKK  was being operated on a passenger charter flight from Marree, South Australia to Broken Hill, New South Wales. During the climb the pilot detected an unusual noise in the right engine followed by a gradual decrease in engine performance. The pilot elected to return to Marree Airport, however during the turn back the aircraft was unable to maintain altitude and the pilot elected to conduct a forced landing about 22 km south-east of the Airport.

The pilot did not feather the right engine as he assessed that the right engine was still producing some power.

The aircraft was substantially damaged during the landing, however all passengers and crew were able to exit the aircraft safely.

A post-flight engine inspection found four bearing retainer plate screws missing from the magneto which allowed oil to enter the magneto. It is probable that this lead to a magneto failure and subsequent engine failure.

As a result of the accident, the aircraft operator conducted a brief with all company pilots revising engine failure procedures. They also discussed the symptoms of a windmilling propeller and partial engine failure indications and procedures.

The operator has also amended their procedures to mandate that all IFR renewal flights are to be conducted in the Piper PA-31 Chieftain aircraft type.

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General details
Date: 14 November 2010 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1051 CSuT  
Location   (show map):22 km SE of Marree Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: South Australia Occurrence type: Engine failure or malfunction 
Release date: 16 May 2011 Occurrence class: Technical 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Piper Aircraft Corp 
Aircraft model: PA-31 
Aircraft registration: VH-MKK 
Serial number: 31-7652068 
Type of operation: Charter 
Departure point:Marree, SA
Destination:Broken Hill, NSW
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Last update 14 November 2018