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On 12 June 2014, a Piper PA-46 aircraft, registered VH-TSV, departed Dubbo, New South Wales for a private flight to the Sunshine Coast, Queensland with a pilot and one passenger on board. About an hour after departing Dubbo, when about 26 NM south of Narrabri, at about 13,500 ft AMSL, the pilot observed the engine manifold pressure gauge indicating 25 inches Hg manifold pressure, when the throttle position selected would normally have produced about 28 inches Hg. The pilot elected to descend to 10,000 ft, where the gauge still indicated only about 25 inches Hg. He turned the aircraft towards Narrabri in an attempt to fly clear of the Pilliga State Forest.

As the aircraft descended through about 8,000 ft, the oil pressure gauge indicated decreasing pressure. When passing about 6,500 ft, the oil pressure gauge indicated zero and the pilot heard two loud bangs. The pilot established the aircraft in a glide, secured the engine and completed the emergency checklist. He broadcast a ‘Mayday’ call and looked for a clear area below in which to conduct a forced landing but only identified heavily treed areas. The pilot extended the landing gear and selected 10° of flap and, when at about 1,000 ft, shut the fuel off, deployed the emergency beacon then switched off the electrical system.

As the aircraft entered the tree tops, the pilot flared to stall the aircraft. The pilot was seriously injured and the aircraft sustained substantial damage. A post-accident inspection of the engine found a hole in the right side of the crankcase, indicating an internal mechanical failure.


Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 34

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