The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is investigating a propeller strike that involved a Beech 1900D aircraft at Fortnum Aerodrome, Western Australia.
Fortnum Aerodrome has a gravel runway, taxiways, and parking area. In the parking area, there were some pieces of conveyor-belt matting fixed to the ground to allow engines to be operated without propeller damage.
After refuelling and boarding passengers, the flight crew of VH-NYA started the engines and taxied from the refuelling area to allow another company aircraft to refuel.
The crew positioned the aircraft propellers over another area of matting to complete pre-flight checklists, in accordance with operator instructions. On completion of the checklists, the crew applied engine power to taxi to the runway. Immediately there was a loud bang and severe vibration.
The captain observed that the left propeller was damaged and shutdown the engines. The crew found that one of the matting pieces had come loose and been struck by the propeller. One blade had been liberated from the hub and ejected some distance into the air before landing in the vicinity. Another blade was damaged and there was engine and cowling damage.
As part of the investigation, the ATSB will interview involved parties, examine recorded data, review relevant procedures and collect other evidence as required.
A final report will be released at the conclusion of the investigation. Should a critical safety issue be identified during the investigation, the ATSB will immediately notify relevant parties, so that appropriate safety action can be taken.