On 16 August 2015, the pilot of a Beech A36 aircraft, registered VH-PAK, conducted a private flight from Pacific Haven to Southport, Queensland. The pilot reported that the aircraft engine ran normally throughout the cruise. At about 0945 Eastern Standard Time, the pilot joined the circuit at Southport Airport, with the intention to land on runway 19.

About 800 m from the runway threshold, at about 150 ft above ground level, the aircraft engine stopped. The pilot broadcast a Mayday call and conducted a forced landing. The aircraft collided with trees, resulting in substantial damage. The pilot was not injured.

The ATSB assessed that the engine ceased operating as a result of fuel exhaustion. This conclusion was due to the combination of starvation of fuel to the engine and the lack of fuel remaining on board.

Fuel management starts with knowing exactly how much fuel is on board at the commencement of each flight. It also relies on a method of knowing how much fuel the aircraft consumes. The likelihood of fuel starvation is reduced by adhering to procedures, maintaining a record of the fuel tank selections during flight and ensuring appropriate tank selections, particularly for take-off and landing.


Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin Issue 46

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