Aviation safety investigations & reports

Engine failure and collision with terrain involving Van's RV-9A, VH-KLV, 39 km NNW of Albany Airport, WA, on 4 September 2016

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed

Final Report

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On 4 September 2016, at about 1655 Western Standard Time, an amateur-built Van’s RV-9A aircraft registered VH-KLV (KLV), departed Albany Airport, Western Australia (WA), for a flight to Jandakot Airport, WA. On board the private flight were a pilot and one passenger.

About 15 minutes into the flight, the pilot observed an oil temperature indication greatly exceeding the normal operating limit, all other engine indications appeared normal. The pilot reduced power to idle and elected to conduct a precautionary landing.

The pilot identified a section of disused road as suitable to conduct the precautionary landing. At about 200 ft above ground level, the pilot detected the aircraft becoming low and applied power. The engine responded briefly before losing all power. The pilot identified that they did not have sufficient height to glide to the disused road. To avoid powerlines located next to the disused road, the pilot elected to fly the aircraft into trees.

The aircraft struck the tree canopy before falling onto the disused road. The aircraft landed nose first before overturning and coming to rest inverted. The pilot and passenger exited through the broken windscreen.

The pilot and passenger sustained minor injuries and the aircraft was substantially damaged.

This incident highlights the importance of actively managing an emergency situation. Once an engine malfunction is identified it is important to consider that remaining power may be inconsistent and unreliable.

The US Federal Aviation Administration Airplane flying handbook chapter: Emergency procedures provides information on effective management of precautionary and forced landings.

The RV-9A is not an aerobatic aircraft, however, KLV was fitted with a four-point aerobatic type harness. Four-point harnesses provide superior occupant protection during an accident, in particular when an aircraft overturns. The fitment and use of the four-point harness most likely prevented more serious injuries to the occupants.


Aviation Short Investigations Bulletin - Issue 54

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General details
Date: 04 September 2016   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 17:15 WST   Investigation level: Short - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): 39 km NNW of Albany Airport    
State: Western Australia   Occurrence type: Engine failure or malfunction  
Release date: 22 November 2016   Occurrence category: Accident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Amateur Built Aircraft  
Aircraft model VAN'S RV-9A  
Aircraft registration VH-KLV  
Serial number 90509  
Type of operation Private  
Sector Piston  
Damage to aircraft Substantial  
Departure point Unknown  
Last update 14 November 2018