Aviation occurrence briefs

Abnormal engine indications involving Cessna 425, Archerfield Airport, Qld, on 19 May 2018

Status: Reactivated


Occurrence Briefs are concise reports that detail the facts surrounding a transport safety occurrence, as received in the initial notification and any follow-up enquiries. They provide an opportunity to share safety messages in the absence of an investigation.

What happened

On the afternoon of 19 May 2018, a Cessna Aircraft 425 departed Archerfield Aerodrome, Queensland. There was one pilot and four passengers on board. Shortly after take-off, at about 1525 Eastern Standard Time, the pilot received an annunciator warning, indicating the right engine starter generator was engaged in its starting function. The annunciator in this instance is illuminated when the starter is in the ‘start’ function and not acting as a generator and is normally illuminated during the start sequence only.

After identifying the problem, the pilot conducted the actions required to shut down and secure the right engine as detailed in the aircraft checklist procedures. The pilot declared a PAN PAN[1] and informed Archerfield tower that the aircraft would require an immediate return to the runway.

With clearance from the tower received, the crew then conducted a non-standard right circuit to runway 10L and landed safely. A subsequent engineering inspection found the starter annunciation to be a false indication, due to a chafed wire in the engine electrical system.

Safety message

Although this occurrence was an indication issue, not an actual fault, it demonstrates the importance of identifying system failures as presented to the pilot and carrying out the corrective actions required. It also demonstrates the knowledge required by the pilot, having to conduct non-standard operations and to state their intentions to the controllers, to enable a safe return to the airfield.

The ATSB has published a research report, Power plant failures in turboprop-powered aircraft (AR-2017-017), which is available from the ATSB website. It highlights the importance of reporting all power plant-related occurrences. By doing so, the ATSB hopes that the wider aviation industry will be able to learn from the experience of others.

About this report

Decisions regarding whether to conduct an investigation, and the scope of an investigation, are based on many factors, including the level of safety benefit likely to be obtained from an investigation. For this occurrence, no investigation has been conducted and the ATSB did not verify the accuracy of the information. A brief description has been written using information supplied in the notification and any follow-up information in order to produce a short summary report, and allow for greater industry awareness of potential safety issues and possible safety actions.



  1. PAN PAN: an internationally recognised radio call announcing an urgency condition which concerns the safety of an aircraft or its occupants but where the flight crew does not require immediate assistance.
General details
Date: 19 May 2018   Investigation status: Reactivated  
Time: 1525 EST    
Location   (show map): Archerfield Aerodrome    
State: Queensland    
Release Date: 17 December 2018   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Cessna Aircraft Company  
Aircraft model C425  
Type of operation General Aviation  
Sector Turboprop  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Archerfield, Qld  
Last update 17 December 2018