On 22 September 2013, the pilot of a Piper PA‑28-140 aircraft, registered VH‑RVJ, was conducting a pre-flight inspection in preparation for a local private flight from the Kilcoy aeroplane landing area (ALA), Queensland. The pilot conducted fuel drains checks, with nil contaminants found.

The pilot taxied the aircraft to the threshold of runway 27 and conducted engine run-ups. The pilot reported that the engine operated as normal. In preparation for take-off, he selected the right fuel tank and turned the fuel pump on.

During the take-off on runway 27, the pilot reported that the engine performed as expected, but at about 50-80 ft above ground level, the engine suddenly stopped. The pilot immediately confirmed that the fuel tank selection and fuel pump were on. He also noted that the engine revolutions per minute were reading zero.

The pilot elected to land ahead on the remaining runway. The aircraft touched down with about 50 m of runway remaining, but the pilot was unable to brake sufficiently to stop the aircraft prior to the end of the runway.

The aircraft collided with a fence, and continued through a paddock and a ditch before coming to rest after colliding with a second fence. 

This accident highlights the importance of remaining proficient in emergency procedures. Having a plan prior to an emergency situation may mitigate some of the effects of decision making under stress.

Aviation Short Investigation Bulletin - Issue 24