Aviation safety investigations & reports

Collision with terrain - Piper PA-46-310P, VH-FAL, Meekatharra WA, 15 June 2011

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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At 0720 Western Standard Time on 15 June 2011, a Piper Aircraft PA-46-310P Malibu, registered VH-FAL, departed from Doolgunna Station, on a private flight to Meekatharra WA, with the pilot and one passenger on board.

While on finals to land at Meekatharra, the pilot initiated a go-around due to another aircraft occupying the runway.

On the downwind leg of the second approach, the engine lost power and the aircraft impacted terrain about 500 m short of the runway threshold. Both occupants sustained injuries.

The pilot stated that his usual actions were to set the aircraft fuel selector to  the fullest fuel tank for takeoff, then manage the fuel balance by appropriate tank selection during the flight. He stated that as this process was routine for him, he could not actually recall having made a change to the tank selection during the flight

To ensure the safe conduct of a flight, it is crucial that pilots establish a disciplined cockpit routine that covers all critical aspects of in-flight management.

Download Final Report - Bulletin
[Download  PDF: 5.43MB]
General details
Date: 15 June 2011   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 0845 WST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Meekatharra    
State: Western Australia   Occurrence type: Collision with terrain  
Release date: 12 December 2011   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Minor  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Piper Aircraft Corp  
Aircraft model PA-46  
Aircraft registration VH-FAL  
Serial number 4608073  
Type of operation Private  
Damage to aircraft Serious  
Last update 14 November 2018