Aviation safety investigations & reports

Fuel starvation - Cessna 210N, VH-OCM, Kununurra Airport, WA, 18 August 2011

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 18 August 2011, at 0755 Western Standard Time, a Cessna Aircraft Company 210N aircraft registered VH-OCM, departed Mitchell Plateau, Western Australia, on a charter flight to Kununurra. On board were the pilot and five passengers. 

Prior to departure the fuel quantity was physically checked and recorded. The pilot completed a normal take-off and climbed to a cruise altitude of 5,500ft above mean seal level (AMSL).  At about 28 NM from Kununurra aerodrome, the pilot commenced descent for a straight-in approach to runway 12.  At 3 NM from the runway threshold, the pilot reduced engine power and lowered the flaps, then commenced the pre-landing checks. The aircraft started to sink below the approach profile during strong wind gusts. The pilot increased engine power to regain the approach profile, and did not complete the pre-landing checks, including selecting the fullest fuel tank for the landing.

At about 0.6 NM from the runway threshold, and approximately 250ft above ground level (AGL) the engine began to splutter then stopped. The pilot lowered the nose of the aircraft to maintain airspeed and checked the fuel mixture, fuel pumps on and both magnetos on. When the engine failed to start, the pilot broadcast a Mayday call. At about 0928 he conducted a forced landing short of the runway threshold. During the landing, the aircraft impacted an earth bank and was seriously damaged and one passenger sustained a minor injury. The pilot secured the aircraft and disembarked the passengers.

In response to the accident, the operator implemented the following actions to reduce the risk of another occurrence.

  • An operations manual amendment was raised to require all pilots to use a standardised fuel log on all flights.
  • For new engines being run-in, increased block fuel flow figures for flight planning will be used.


Download Final report
[Download  PDF: 4.43MB]
General details
Date: 18 August 2011   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 0928 EST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): Kununurra Airport    
State: Western Australia   Occurrence type: Fuel starvation  
Release date: 14 March 2012   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: Minor  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Cessna Aircraft Company  
Aircraft model 210  
Aircraft registration VH-OCM  
Serial number 21064466  
Type of operation Charter  
Damage to aircraft Minor  
Departure point Mitchell Plateau, WA  
Destination Kununurra, WA  
Last update 14 November 2018