Final Report


On 15 November 2016, at about 1150 Eastern Daylight-saving Time, a Ryan STA-SPL aircraft, registered VH-SQD, departed from Tyabb aircraft landing area, Victoria, for a private local pleasure flight. The pilot was the sole occupant of the aircraft.

About 10 minutes after take-off, when at about 1,000 ft above mean sea level, the aircraft’s engine suddenly stopped, then briefly restarted and then stopped again. The pilot conducted a forced landing into a field. The aircraft landed heavily and with a tailwind, and the pilot assessed that the aircraft may not slow down sufficiently before a fence up ahead. The pilot therefore used the available airspeed to take-off again and fly the aircraft about 15 ft over the fence. The pilot aimed the aircraft’s wing at a tree to reduce the remaining speed and ensure it stopped prior to a major freeway. The aircraft collided with the tree, then the ground and was substantially damaged. The pilot sustained a minor injury.

The engine probably failed due to carburettor icing, at relatively low level and with few options for the pilot to safely conduct a forced landing.

It is essential to have a plan and practise simulated forced landings to assist in reducing the consequences of conducting one in the event of engine failure. The height above ground at which an engine failure occurs affects the time available to complete failure management checks and select an appropriate landing site.

Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 56

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