Aviation safety investigations & reports

Engine failure involving Piper PA-32, VH-FAJ near Yea, Vic., 22 September 2012

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 22 September 2012, a Piper PA-32 aircraft, registered VH-FAJ, was being operated on a private flight had an engine failure, 3 minutes after changing the fuel selection to the right tip fuel tank. The pilot changed the fuel selection back and conducted a forced landing. During the forced landing, the aircraft impacted two fences and sustained serious damage. The pilot and passenger were uninjured.

The aircraft had been stored in a hanger for nine months prior to the accident. An inspection of the aircraft wreckage found evidence of water in the right tip tank and airframe fuel filter bowl.

While the pilot stated that he conducted a thorough pre-flight inspection he considered that it was possible that he did not notice the water in the right tip tank fuel sample.

It is important that the testing of fuel drainage samples for water contamination are positive in nature and do not rely exclusively on the sensory perceptions of colour and smell, both of which can be unreliable.

Aviation Short Investigation Bulletin – Issue 14

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 293KB]
Alternate: [Download  DOC: 3.6MB]
General details
Date: 22 September 2012   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1200 EST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): near Yea    
State: Victoria   Occurrence type: Engine failure or malfunction  
Release date: 20 December 2012   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Piper Aircraft Corp  
Aircraft model PA-32  
Aircraft registration VH-FAJ  
Serial number 32-866  
Type of operation Private  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Murrindindi, VIC  
Destination Murrindindi, VIC  
Last update 14 November 2018