Aviation safety investigations & reports

Total power loss - Cessna 177 aircraft, VH-DSA, South of Grafton, NSW, 15 August 2011

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 15 August 2011, a Cessna Aircraft 177 aircraft, registered VH-DSA, departed Ballina, New South Wales, for a private flight to South Grafton, New South Wales. The pilot was the sole occupant. When the aircraft was about 12 minutes from South Grafton and cruising at 2,500 ft above mean sea level (AMSL), the pilot observed traffic below him at 1,500 ft AMSL. The pilot elected to remain at his cruising altitude until closer to the South Grafton aerodrome. When about 5 NM from the aerodrome, he made a right turn into downwind while approaching the runway from the west. He then reduced engine power and quickly descended.

At 1,000 ft, the pilot stated that when he advanced the engine throttle, there was no response from the engine. He then completed the normal recovery procedures for an engine failure, including activation of carburettor heat. He advanced the throttle again but there was still no response from the engine. The aircraft descended at 500 ft/min with flaps extended, and the pilot attempted to reduce speed from 80 kts to 70 kts. At 300 ft with full flap extension and the stall warning sounding, he selected the master switch to OFF, and prepared to land into wind. The aircraft landed about 70 m short of the runway threshold and continued along the ground for a short distance before impacting a shallow earth drain, seriously damaging the aircraft.

Download Final Report - Bulletin
[Download  PDF: 5.43MB]
General details
Date: 15 August 2011   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1130 EST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): South of Grafton    
State: New South Wales   Occurrence type: Engine failure or malfunction  
Release date: 12 December 2011   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Cessna Aircraft Company  
Aircraft model 177  
Aircraft registration VH-DSA  
Serial number 17700460  
Type of operation Private  
Damage to aircraft Serious  
Departure point Ballina, NSW  
Destination South of Grafton, NSW  
Last update 14 November 2018