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Final Report

Summary

On 2 October 2015, the pilot of a Cessna 182 aircraft, registered VH-DNZ (DNZ), was tasked to conduct parachute operations. The pilot planned to depart from Parafield Airport, and drop parachutists to land at Victoria Park, Adelaide, before returning to land at Parafield, South Australia.

The target landing zone for the parachutists was Victoria Park, which would require the pilots to obtain a clearance from Adelaide air traffic control (ATC) to enter Adelaide control zone.

At about 1331, DNZ departed from Parafield with the pilot, four parachutists, and 110 L of fuel on board. The aircraft tracked outside controlled airspace, and at about 1340, ATC cleared the pilot of DNZ to track to overhead Mt Lofty at 3,500 ft, where the pilot then conducted orbits. At about 1406, after completing seven orbits, ATC advised the pilot to expect a 30-minute delay.

At about 1420, the engine ran roughly. The pilot abandoned the parachute drop and requested a clearance to track directly to Parafield, due to fuel. The rough running then got worse, so the pilot requested a landing at Adelaide Airport.

At about 1425, the approach controller cleared the pilot of DNZ to descend to 2,000 ft and then for a visual approach to left base for runway 23. Just then, the engine stopped. The pilot made a MAYDAY call, and conducted a forced landing at Victoria Park. The aircraft landed very heavily and two of the parachutists were ejected from the aircraft during the impact. Two parachutists sustained serious injuries, and two were uninjured. The pilot sustained minor injuries and the aircraft was substantially damaged.

Pilots are reminded of the importance of careful attention to aircraft fuel state. ATSB Research report Avoidable accidents No. 5 Starved and exhausted: Fuel management aviation accidents, discusses issues surrounding fuel management and provides some insight into fuel related aviation accidents.

Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 48

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