Aviation safety investigations & reports

Air Tractor AT301, VH-NOW, 6 km West of Emerald QLD, 7 January 1989

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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The pilot was spraying a mature cotton crop adjacent to the company strip. After 20 minutes of flight, and shortly after commencing another spray run, the engine failed suddenly. The aircraft was manoeuvred towards an adjacent paddock with short soyabeans but it could not be aligned with the rows before landing. The wheels dug into the wet ground and the aircraft overturned. While skidding backwards the fibreglass back of the cockpit broke, allowing a large quantity of mud into the cockpit and making the pilot's exit difficult. He eventually used the fire extinguisher to smash a window to facilitate egress. Witnesses saw flame and black smoke emitting from the aircraft at the time of the engine failure. The aircraft operator found that the rear bearing of one magneto had become loose. This allowed the timing to advance and the engine backfired. An air inlet hose between the air filter and the carburettor was split and was sucked into the carburettor, thus stopping the engine. This occurrence was not the subject of an on-site investigation.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 22KB]
General details
Date: 07 January 1989   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1030    
Location: 6 km West of Emerald    
State: Queensland    
Release date: 05 July 1989   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Air Tractor Inc  
Aircraft model AT301  
Aircraft registration VH-NOW  
Serial number 301-0557  
Type of operation Aerial Work  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point 5 km West of Emerald QLD  
Departure time 1010  
Destination 5 km West of Emerald QLD