Aviation safety investigations & reports

Collision with terrain - Piper Aircraft PA-30, VH-EFS, 2 km NE Camden Airport, 23 December 2010

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 23 December 2010, a flight instructor and student pilot in a Piper Aircraft Corporation PA-30 (Twin Comanche) aircraft, registered VH-EFS, departed Camden Airport, New South Wales on an instrument training flight.

Shortly after takeoff, the instructor simulated an engine failure by moving the mixture control on the right engine rearwards. In response, the student reduced the engine control/s on the left engine.

The airspeed decayed and the aircraft stalled. The aircraft rolled abruptly, with the right wing dropping to a 120° angle and the aircraft entered a spin.

The instructor regained control of the aircraft at about 10 ft above ground level (AGL), with the aircraft in a relatively level attitude. The instructor then reduced the throttles to idle and the aircraft impacted the ground. The student was not injured; however, the instructor sustained minor injuries.

As a result of this accident, the operator has implemented a number of safety actions:

  • Introduced a minimum of 1 hour simulator training into their multi-engine endorsement syllabus for conducting asymmetric operations in more extreme situations.
  • Intends to introduce an additional 1 hour of asymmetric operations in the simulator, and a minimum of 1.5 hours flight time conducting asymmetric operations under simulated instrument flight rules conditions, into their command (multi-engine) instrument rating syllabus.
  • Amended their operations manual stating that simulated engine failures conducted below 2,000 ft AGL will be by the use of the throttle only.

This accident highlights the critical importance of conducting the appropriate response actions following both an actual or simulated engine failure in a multi-engine aircraft; and the inherent risks of using the mixture control to simulate a failure at low altitude.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 4.28MB]
General details
Date: 23 December 2010   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 0832 ESuT   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): 2 km NE Camden Airport    
State: New South Wales   Occurrence type: Collision with terrain  
Release date: 12 September 2011   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Minor  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Piper Aircraft Corp  
Aircraft model PA-30  
Aircraft registration VH-EFS  
Serial number 30-1377  
Type of operation Flying Training  
Damage to aircraft Serious  
Departure point Camden, NSW  
Destination Bathurst, NSW  
Last update 14 November 2018