On 22 January 2013, the pilot of a Cessna 182R aircraft registered VH-OWZ (OWZ), took off from Kununurra Airport, Western Australia on a charter flight with one passenger. When at about 100 ft above ground level, with insufficient runway distance remaining to abort the takeoff, the pilot retracted the landing gear. Immediately after, the engine failed.
Due to the low altitude, the pilot confirmed that the engine controls were in the full forward position and that the fuel tank selector was on ‘both’. The pilot then looked for a suitable place to land and saw a suitable field to the north.
After extending the landing gear and selecting full flap, the main landing gear touched down in long grass and the aircraft decelerated rapidly. When the nose gear touched down, it dug into boggy ground and the aircraft flipped over, coming to rest inverted. The pilot and passenger received minor injuries and the aircraft sustained substantial damage.
An examination of the aircraft was carried out by an independent Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (LAME). No contaminants, including water, were found in the fuel or filters. An engine tear down was not performed and the reason for the engine failure could not be determined.
As a result of this occurrence, the aircraft operator has advised the ATSB that they are taking the following safety actions:
- Fuel contamination procedures: They will create a log for all company aircraft that will contain details of any water contamination found in fuel drains. In addition, after heavy rain is experienced, all aircraft fuel tanks will be tested for water contamination.
- Emergency response equipment: Equipping a vehicle with an ‘accident kit’, which includes fire extinguishers, a fire suit, and first aid kit for use in an on-airport emergency.
This accident highlights the benefits of conducting a self-briefing before takeoff and ensuring that emergency procedures, particularly those related to critical phases of flight, are clear and familiar. This assists pilots with responding to an abnormal or emergency situation promptly and ensuring the best possible outcome can be achieved. Generally speaking, if you self-brief your plan of action just before flight, you have more chance of ‘staying ahead’ of the aircraft and being able to concentrate on flying.