Aviation safety investigations & reports

Fuel starvation event involving a Cessna 210, VH-BKD, 3 km East of Broome Airport, Western Australia on 3 May

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 3 May 2015, after a five-hour flight, a Cessna 210 aircraft, registered VH-BKD, arrived overhead Broome Airport and extensive fog. After circling for about 45 minutes searching for a break in the fog, the pilot conducted a low-level pass over the runway but was unable to sight the runway or land.

Moments later, the aircraft’s engine surged and spluttered. The pilot quickly changed the fuel selector to the other (left) tank, but the engine did not respond. The pilot conducted a forced landing, and the aircraft struck a dirt mound and slid across a dirt track, coming to rest in mangroves.

The pilot, who was the sole occupant of the aircraft was not injured, however the aircraft was substantially damaged.

The ATSB publication Starved and exhausted: Fuel management aviation accidents has information for pilots about similar incidents and strategies to avoid fuel exhaustion and starvation incidents.


Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 43

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General details
Date: 03 May 2015   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 0725 WST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): 3 km East Broome Airport    
State: Western Australia   Occurrence type: Fuel starvation  
Release date: 07 October 2015   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Cessna Aircraft Company  
Aircraft model 210N  
Aircraft registration VH-BKD  
Serial number 21063127  
Type of operation Private  
Sector Piston  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Alice Springs, NT  
Destination Broome, WA  
Last update 14 November 2018