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On the morning of 15 June 2017, the pilot of a Beech 58 aircraft, registered VH-PBU, operated by Savannah Aviation, contacted a refueller at Mount Isa Airport, Queensland (Qld) and requested 400 L of fuel be added to the aircraft. The refueller attended the aircraft and provided 200 L of fuel, however the refueller recorded the amount provided as 400 L.

At the end of the day, the refueller totalled the daily fuel delivery quantities and detected a 200 L discrepancy between the recorded deliveries and the meter readings. The refueller identified that the discrepancy was due to an error in the refuelling of VH-PBU. The refueller immediately went to the aircraft to notify the pilot of the error, however the refueller was not able to locate the pilot. The refueller was then distracted by a phone call and forgot about the refuelling error.

On the morning of 26 June 2017, another pilot prepared to conduct a ferry flight in the aircraft from Burketown to Normanton Airport, Qld. At about 0815 Eastern Standard Time, the flight departed Burketown, the pilot was the only person on board. The take-off and climb were uneventful.

About 5 NM north of Normanton, both engines failed. The pilot conducted a forced landing in a paddock. During the landing roll the aircraft impacted a number of bushes.

The pilot was not injured during the incident, however, the aircraft sustained substantial damage.

This incident underlines the importance of communication once an error has been discovered. The refuelling error was discovered 11 days prior to the incident flight, however, this was not communicated to the operator or pilots. Knowledge of the error would have enabled the pilots to correct the fuel log and avoid the incident.


Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 62


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General details
Date: 26 June 2017 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 8:10 EST  
Location   (show map):6 km N of Normanton Airport Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Queensland Occurrence type: Fuel exhaustion 
Release date: 05 September 2017 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: None 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Beech Aircraft Corp 
Aircraft model: 58 
Aircraft registration: VH-PBU 
Serial number: TH-407 
Operator: Savannah Aviation 
Type of operation: Charter 
Sector: Piston 
Damage to aircraft: Substantial 
Departure point:Burketown, Qld
Destination:Normanton, Qld
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Last update 14 November 2018