Aviation occurrence briefs

Engine failure and forced landing involving American Aircraft Corp. AA-5B, 3km south of Lilydale, Vic., on 28 August 2018

Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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 28 August 2018, the pilot of the American Aircraft Corp. AA-5B departed Lilydale, Victoria to conduct a private flight. The pilot was the only occupant.

During initial climb, at about 300 ft above ground level, the engine failed. The pilot lowered the nose of the aircraft and searched for a suitable landing area, finding a nearby paddock to be suitable. The pilot conducted a successful forced landing on the surface of the paddock. The aircraft did not sustain any damage as a result of the landing.

Following the incident, the engineer suspects the likely cause of the engine failure was an unserviceable air filter, parts of which were missing. The air filter had not been replaced in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendation. Metal contamination was also detected in the residual fuel in the carburettor. The source of the contaminants were rusty metal fragments traced back to the electric fuel pump which was found to have an incorrectly installed filter.

Safety message

Simulated total loss of power and a subsequent practice forced landing is at the core of a pilot’s emergency training. Following the engine failure, the pilot involved in this incident had to make important decisions in a short space of time, including where to land and how to manage the remaining altitude.

Pre-flight self-briefing is an important tool in reinforcing planned emergency actions, including in circumstances of unfavourable terrain immediately past the aerodrome. It is also important that aircraft are maintained in accordance with the aircraft’s maintenance manual, to ensure aircraft performance is maintained.

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.


General details
Date: 28 August 2018   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1200 EST    
Location   (show map): 3 km south of Lilydale    
State: Victoria    
Release Date: 28 November 2018   Occurrence category: Serious Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer American Aircraft Corp  
Aircraft model AA-5B  
Type of operation Private  
Sector Piston  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Lilydale, Victoria  
Last update 31 July 2019