Aviation safety investigations & reports

Cockpit fumes and smoke - Aero Commander, VH-KAV, 333 km E of Brisbane Airport Qld, 14 December 2010

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 14 December 2010, the crew of an Aero Commander 500-S aircraft, registered VH-KAV, departed Norfolk Island for Brisbane, Queensland.

When about 180 NM (333 km) east of Brisbane, the crew noticed intense fumes in the cockpit followed by smoke emanating from the avionics panel. The pilot in command (PIC) shutdown the aircraft's electrical system and discharged the portable fire extinguisher. The smoke dissipated immediately after.

About 30 minutes later, the crew noticed that the hydraulic pressure had declined and the unsafe landing gear light was illuminated. The crew reinstated the electrical system and attempted to restore the auxiliary hydraulic pump, but it did not respond.

In preparation for their arrival into Brisbane, the crew conducted an emergency landing gear extension.  The aircraft landed and vacated the runway. While taxiing to the parking area, smoke was observed emanating from the left engine. The PIC immediately shut down the aircraft and the crew egressed. It was determined that fluid from the hydraulic reservoir in the left engine was leaking onto the aircraft's brakes causing smoke.

A subsequent examination of the automatic direction finder (ADF) receiver found a burnt resistor and that a circuit board in close proximity had been damaged. A capacitor was found to have short circuited, which caused the resistor to burn.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 2.6MB]
Alternate: [Download  DOC: 5.49MB]
General details
Date: 14 December 2010   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1530 EST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): 333 km E of Brisbane Airport    
State: Queensland   Occurrence type: Smoke  
Release date: 16 May 2011   Occurrence category: Serious Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Aero Commander  
Aircraft model 500  
Aircraft registration VH-KAV  
Serial number 3164  
Type of operation Private  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Norfolk Island  
Destination Brisbane, Qld  
Last update 14 November 2018