Aviation safety investigations & reports

Engine fire involving a Beech BE36, VH-FFY, near Caloundra (ALA), Queensland, 6 September 2013

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 6 September 2013, at about 1545 Eastern Standard Time, the pilot of a Beech A36 aircraft, registered VH‑FFY, taxied for a private flight from the Caloundra aeroplane landing area (ALA) to Archerfield, Queensland.

The pilot reported that, during the take-off run, all engine indications were normal. When at about 200 ft above ground level (AGL), the pilot detected a burning smell and observed smoke entering the cockpit from the pilot foot-well. The engine continued to produce power. At about 300 ft AGL, as the area was heavily forested, the pilot commenced a turn back to the runway for landing.

The pilot opened the left side storm window to draw the smoke out of the cockpit and reduced power. The engine then began to run rough. The pilot elected to conduct a forced landing and selected a suitable paddock. The pilot shut down the engine and prepared the aircraft for landing.

During the landing roll, the nose landing gear separated from the aircraft due to the uneven terrain and the propeller subsequently contacted the ground. One passenger sustained minor injuries.

After the accident, the exhaust tailpipe from the turbocharger assembly was found on the runway at Caloundra. An engineering inspection revealed that the tailpipe had separated at a weld joint.

As a result of this occurrence, the turbo-normalizing system manufacturer has advised the ATSB that the requirement to complete the circumferential weld will be highlighted in the installation instructions. The tailpipe supplied will also be clearly marked as supplied tack-welded, with additional instructions showing the requirement to perform the circumferential weld prior to flight. 

Aviation Short Investigation Bulletin - Issue 24

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Alternate: [Download  DOCX: 915KB]


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General details
Date: 06 September 2013   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1600 EST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): near Caloundra (ALA)    
State: Queensland   Occurrence type: Fumes  
Release date: 10 December 2013   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Minor  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Beech Aircraft Corp  
Aircraft model 36  
Aircraft registration VH-FFY  
Serial number E1583  
Type of operation Private  
Sector Piston  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Caloundra, Qld  
Last update 14 November 2018