Aviation safety investigations & reports

Engine failure involving a Jabiru J430, VH-SZQ, 56 km WNW of Oakey Airport, Qld on 19 November 2015

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed

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On 19 November 2015, at about 1455 Eastern Standard Time (EST), a Jabiru J430 aircraft, registered VH-SZQ (SZQ), departed Kingaroy for Goondiwindi, Queensland.The pilot was the only person on board the private flight.

Earlier that day, the pilot had departed Bundaberg, where the aircraft engine had undergone maintenance that involved the installation of new engine cylinder barrels and piston rings.

During the cruise at about 6,500 ft, and about 40 minutes after departing Kingaroy, the pilot heard a noise coming from the aircraft engine, which then started to vibrate. The pilot moved the engine throttle control to the idle position, and about 8 seconds later the pilot heard a metallic noise and the engine stopped.

The pilot established the aircraft in a glide and looked for a suitable forced landing area. The pilot turned towards a property where they could see people, houses, sheds and a highly visible white road.

The pilot completed the downwind and forced landing checks, and left the electrical master switch on to adjust the flap position when required.

At about 50 feet on final approach, the pilot selected full flap and selected the electrical master switch off. The pilot sideslipped the aircraft to descend quicker. Consequently, the pilot realised that the aircraft’s speed was too fast to land on the landing area before a cattle grid and climbed slightly to clear the cattle grid.

The left main landing gear collided with the grid and failed, partially remaining attached to the aircraft. The pilot flared for a landing and the left landing gear dug into the ground and swung the aircraft to the left. The aircraft subsequently collided with a fence and came to a stop about 100 m beyond the cattle grid. The pilot was not injured. The aircraft was substantially damaged.

Pilots should consider regularly updating forced landing options during a flight, particularly in the event of a time critical situation. Where emergency situations arise, an early in-flight emergency notification will assist in expediting the desired outcome – a safe landing. 


Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 49

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General details
Date: 19 November 2015   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 16:00 EST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Oakey Airport, 56 km WNW    
State: Queensland   Occurrence type: Engine failure or malfunction  
Release date: 27 July 2016   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Amateur Built Aircraft  
Aircraft model Jabiru J430  
Aircraft registration VH-SZQ  
Serial number 313  
Type of operation Private  
Sector Piston  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Bundaberg, Qld  
Destination Bendigo, Vic.  
Last update 14 November 2018