Aviation safety investigations & reports

Engine failure and collision with terrain involving a Cessna 210, VH-ERU, 77 km ENE of Cue, Western Australia on 1 August 2015

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 1 August 2015, at about 1110 Western Standard Time, a Cessna 210 aircraft, registered VH-ERU, departed Gidgee Gold mine for a private flight to Cue, Western Australia. The pilot was the sole occupant of the aircraft.

About 25 minutes into the flight, the pilot observed the engine oil temperature rising rapidly. The pilot opened the cowl flaps in an attempt to reduce the engine oil temperature, and noted that the cylinder head temperature and engine oil pressure were still in the normal range. As the pilot tried to determine the cause of the problem, the manifold pressure started to increase. The pilot reduced the throttle to try to decrease the manifold pressure, but it continued to rise.

The pilot then felt a slight vibration in the engine and through the aircraft controls, and broadcast an emergency radio call, but did not receive any response. The aircraft was descending steadily, and the pilot looked for a suitable place to conduct a precautionary landing. However, the surrounding area was heavily treed. After turning towards the north and more open country, the vibration increased, and the pilot broadcast two Mayday calls. Again, the pilot did not receive any response.

When about 500 ft above ground level, the vibration further increased and the engine failed with a bang. Smoke emanated from the engine compartment and over the windscreen, reducing the pilot’s visibility through it. The pilot then sighted a fence line to the right and prepared for a forced landing, aiming to touchdown in a cleared area alongside the fence.

The pilot lowered the landing gear and extended the flap. As the pilot flared the aircraft to land, the right wing and strut collided with a tree. The pilot suffered minor injuries and the aircraft sustained substantial damage.

This incident provides a reminder of the importance of importance of letting people know your flight plans, carrying supplies and a satellite phone for communicating in case of emergency in case.


Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin Issue 44

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General details
Date: 01 August 2015   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1200 WST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): 77 km ENE of Cue    
State: Western Australia   Occurrence type: Engine failure or malfunction  
Release date: 04 November 2015   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Minor  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Cessna Aircraft Company  
Aircraft model 210E  
Aircraft registration VH-ERU  
Serial number 21058520  
Type of operation Private  
Sector Piston  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Gidgee Gold Mine, WA  
Destination Cue, WA  
Last update 14 November 2018