Aviation occurrence briefs

Engine malfunction during take-off involving Piper PA-31, Moorabbin, Vic., on 11 Apr 2018

Status: Completed
Investigation completed


Occurrence Briefs are concise reports that detail the facts surrounding a transport safety occurrence, as received in the initial notification and any follow-up enquiries. They provide an opportunity to share safety messages in the absence of an investigation.

What happened

On 11 April 2018, at about 1250 Eastern Standard Time (EST), the pilot of a Piper PA-31 aircraft was preparing for departure on a freight charter flight from Moorabbin, Victoria (Vic.), to Wynyard, Tasmania (Tas.). Once lined up on the runway and cleared for take-off, the pilot advanced the throttle to the required settings, to stabilise the engines and check the temperatures and pressures, which were all in the normal operating range. The pilot released the brakes and commenced the take-off run. During the take-off, the aircraft yawed to the left and the pilot immediately closed the throttles and a rejected take-off was conducted. The pilot observed that the left propeller was stationary and therefore completed the shutdown procedure for the left engine. The pilot notified air traffic control and taxied to the parking area where the aircraft was shut down. The pilot observed fuel draining from the left engine for 5 to 10 minutes after both engines had been shut down. The engineers and the chief pilot were notified of the sequence of events.

Engineering inspections, ground and flight tests were carried out. No maintenance or mechanical issues could be identified which may have contributed to the power loss or fuel venting.

Safety message

This incident reinforces the importance of conducting a rejected take-off if any aircraft malfunctions or abnormalities are detected. In this instance, the pilot followed standard operating procedures to ensure a safe outcome was achieved. Decisive actions by the pilot ensured this emergency situation was contained safely before it could develop further.

About this report

Decisions regarding whether to conduct an investigation, and the scope of an investigation, are based on many factors, including the level of safety benefit likely to be obtained from an investigation. For this occurrence, no investigation has been conducted and the ATSB did not verify the accuracy of the information. A brief description has been written using information supplied in the notification and any follow-up information in order to produce a short summary report, and allow for greater industry awareness of potential safety issues and possible safety actions.

General details
Date: 11 April 2018   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 12:50:00 EST    
Location   (show map): Moorabbin    
State: Victoria    
Release Date: 05 July 2018   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Piper Aircraft Corp  
Aircraft model PA-31-350  
Type of operation Charter  
Sector Piston  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Last update 12 December 2018