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On 9 February 2011, a Piper PA-28-181 (Archer) aircraft, registered VH-NRF, departed Ballina on a private flight to Bankstown, New South Wales.

During the flight, the pilot noted the tachometer fluctuating. After consultation with the operator, it was determined that this was an indication problem and the flight was continued.

When the aircraft was about 8 km NE of Bankstown at 1,200 ft, the engine lost power. The pilot commenced the engine failure response actions and elected to land on a street. During the landing the aircraft collided with powerlines and a power pole. The pilot and passenger sustained minor injuries.

It was considered that the engine failed as a result of fuel starvation. The reason for the tachometer fluctuation was not identified.

The operator conducted an investigation and considered that, as no apparent fuel leaks were found, the aircraft may have experienced excessive fuel burn.

As a result of this accident, the aircraft operator issued an internal circular to all instructors to emphasise to students the importance of fuel tank selection changes when responding to an engine failure; amended their operations manual with regard to fuel mixture leaning, and the use of fuel gauges and calibration cards; included the recording of fuel uplifted at the end of each flight so that accurate fuel flow calculations can be conducted; and a student pilot meeting was held to highlight this accident and the changes to the operations manual.

This accident highlights the risks associated with operating an aircraft that has different procedures from that previously familiar with and the importance of having accurate knowledge of the aircraft's fuel usage.

Download Final Report - Bulletin
[ Download PDF: 5.43MB]
General details
Date: 09 February 2011 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1232 ESuT  
Location   (show map):Bankstown Airport, south-west 8Km Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: New South Wales Occurrence type: Engine failure or malfunction 
Release date: 12 December 2011 Occurrence class: Technical 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: Minor 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Piper Aircraft Corp 
Aircraft model: PA-28 
Aircraft registration: VH-NRF 
Serial number: 28-8290112 
Type of operation: Private 
Damage to aircraft: Serious 
Departure point:Ballina, NSW
Destination:Bankstown, NSW
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Last update 01 March 2016