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On 4 September 2016, at about 1655 Western Standard Time, an amateur-built Van’s RV-9A aircraft registered VH-KLV (KLV), departed Albany Airport, Western Australia (WA), for a flight to Jandakot Airport, WA. On board the private flight were a pilot and one passenger.

About 15 minutes into the flight, the pilot observed an oil temperature indication greatly exceeding the normal operating limit, all other engine indications appeared normal. The pilot reduced power to idle and elected to conduct a precautionary landing.

The pilot identified a section of disused road as suitable to conduct the precautionary landing. At about 200 ft above ground level, the pilot detected the aircraft becoming low and applied power. The engine responded briefly before losing all power. The pilot identified that they did not have sufficient height to glide to the disused road. To avoid powerlines located next to the disused road, the pilot elected to fly the aircraft into trees.

The aircraft struck the tree canopy before falling onto the disused road. The aircraft landed nose first before overturning and coming to rest inverted. The pilot and passenger exited through the broken windscreen.

The pilot and passenger sustained minor injuries and the aircraft was substantially damaged.

This incident highlights the importance of actively managing an emergency situation. Once an engine malfunction is identified it is important to consider that remaining power may be inconsistent and unreliable.

The US Federal Aviation Administration Airplane flying handbook chapter: Emergency procedures provides information on effective management of precautionary and forced landings.

The RV-9A is not an aerobatic aircraft, however, KLV was fitted with a four-point aerobatic type harness. Four-point harnesses provide superior occupant protection during an accident, in particular when an aircraft overturns. The fitment and use of the four-point harness most likely prevented more serious injuries to the occupants.


Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 54

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General details
Date: 04 September 2016 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 17:15 WST  
Location   (show map):39 km NNW of Albany Airport Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Western Australia Occurrence type: Engine failure or malfunction 
Release date: 22 November 2016 Occurrence class: Technical 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Amateur Built Aircraft 
Aircraft model: VAN'S RV-9A 
Aircraft registration: VH-KLV 
Serial number: 90509 
Type of operation: Private 
Sector: Piston 
Damage to aircraft: Substantial 
Departure point:Unknown
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Last update 14 November 2018