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On 31 August 2012, at about 1230 Eastern Standard Time, a Piper Seneca aircraft, registered VH-BTW (BTW) departed Hobart Airport, Tasmania for Bankstown Airport, New South Wales on a private flight under the instrument flight rules.  The pilot was the only person on board.    

Both engines stopped during cruise at 9,000 ft above mean sea level and 19 kilometres south of Nowra, New South Wales.  The pilot ascertained that the fuel selector for the right engine was in the cross-feed position and consequently both engines were drawing fuel from the left wing tank which was empty.  The pilot repositioned the fuel selector, was able to restart both engines and continued to Bankstown Airport. 

On landing at Bankstown, the aircraft had a significant lateral imbalance, as the left wing tank was empty and the right wing tank was almost full.  As a result, the aircraft departed the runway after landing.  The pilot regained control and the aircraft taxied to the parking area without further incident.  The aircraft was not damaged and the pilot was not injured.   

The incident highlights the importance of checklists in capturing errors made before and during flight and the need to conduct them diligently during all stages of flight. 

Aviation Short Investigation Bulletin – Issue 14

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General details
Date: 31 August 2012 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1230 EST  
Location   (show map):19 km S of Nowra Airport Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: New South Wales Occurrence type: Fuel starvation 
Release date: 20 December 2012 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Serious Incident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Piper Aircraft Corp 
Aircraft model: PA-34 
Aircraft registration: VH-BTW 
Serial number: 34-7450107 
Type of operation: Private 
Damage to aircraft: Nil 
Departure point:Hobart, TAS
Destination:Bankstown, NSW
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Last update 18 April 2018