Aviation safety investigations & reports

Fuel related event involving a Fairchild SA227, VH-UUO, Brisbane Airport, Qld on 28 August 2013

Investigation number:
AO-2013-196
Status: Completed
Investigation completed

Summary

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On 28 August 2013, a Fairchild SA227 aircraft, registered VH‑UUO, arrived at Brisbane Airport, Queensland. The pilot checked the fuel quantity after landing and advised engineering staff that the fuel tanks were out of balance and the left fuel quantity gauge was unserviceable. The unserviceability was recorded on the aircraft maintenance log.

The pilot and engineers rebalanced the fuel tanks in accordance with company procedures. They also refuelled the aircraft for the subsequent flight to Bankstown, New South Wales. The pilot then concluded his duty for the day.

The pilot of the next flight was enroute to Brisbane Airport when he contacted operations staff requesting an additional 200 L of fuel be uploaded due to the forecast weather at Bankstown. Unaware that the previous pilot and engineers had corrected the imbalance, a staff member ordered the additional fuel as requested by the pilot. He requested that 150 L be put in the left tank and 50 L in the right to balance the fuel tanks. The extra 100 L of fuel was subsequently loaded into the incorrect tank, resulting in an estimated 200 L imbalance.

When the pilot arrived at Brisbane, he assessed that the previous pilot and engineers had established the fuel quantity, which complied with the minimum equipment list requirements. The pilot opened the cross-flow valve and the serviceable fuel gauge dropped and then stabilised. He believed that he had removed the fuel imbalance and that the aircraft was now in balance.

At about 0130, the aircraft departed Brisbane. During the initial climb, the pilot reported that the right wing dropped markedly but he was able to maintain control of the aircraft. The pilot raised the right wing and opened the fuel cross-flow valve to rebalance the aircraft. After about 2 minutes, the pilot reported that the aircraft was in trim and he closed the cross-flow valve.

During the approach to Bankstown, the aircraft handled normally until at about 400 ft above ground level, when the right wing dropped again when the final stage of flap was selected. The pilot raised the right wing and elected to continue the approach, landing without further incident.

This incident highlights the importance of thorough pre-flight preparation in particular with regard to fuel planning and loading.

 

Aviation Short Investigation Bulletin - Issue 26

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 111KB]
 
 
Alternate: [Download  DOCX: 182KB]
 
General details
Date: 28 August 2013   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 01:30 EST    
Location   (show map): near Brisbane Airport   Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation  
State: Queensland   Occurrence type: Fuel - Other  
Release date: 25 February 2014   Occurrence class: Operational  
Report status: Final   Occurrence category: Serious Incident  
  Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Fairchild Industries Inc  
Aircraft model SA227  
Aircraft registration VH-UUO  
Serial number AC 530  
Type of operation Charter  
Sector Turboprop  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Last update 14 November 2018