Aviation occurrence briefs

Engine power loss involving Gippsland Aeronautics GA-8 Airvan, 40 km SE of Bundaberg, Qld, on 14 May 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 14 May 2018, a Gippsland Aeronautics GA-8 Airvan departed Bundaberg, Queensland (Qld) for Hervey Bay, Qld. The pilot was the only occupant.

During cruise at 2,500 feet, the pilot recalled hearing a loud noise from the engine area and immediately after experienced airframe vibration. The pilot observed the engine instruments fluctuating and the engine running rough.

The aircraft lost airspeed and was unable to maintain altitude. The pilot elected to conduct a forced landing on Woodgate beach approximately 40 km SE of Bundaberg. The pilot completed a successful forced landing and was uninjured.

Engineering inspection

The post-flight inspection revealed the engine crankcase to be cracked adjacent to the number six cylinder. The operator replaced the engine and the aircraft returned to service.

Safety message

Following a complete engine failure, a forced landing is inevitable. For a partial power loss, pilots are faced with the decision as to whether to continue the flight or land immediately.

Pilots should:

  • Conduct a thorough pre-flight and engine ground run to reduce the risk of a partial power loss occurring
  • Plan their decision making for emergencies and abnormal situations prior to flight. ATSB investigations Engine failure involving Gippsland Aeronautics GA-8, VH-AJZ (AO-2011-125) and Partial engine failure involving a Gippsland Aeronautics GA-8, VH-FGN (AO-2015-123) highlight the importance of having thoroughly rehearsed emergency procedures.
  • Constantly monitor engine instruments as they can provide early indication of a problem
  • Take positive action and maintain aircraft control when conducting a forced landing until on the ground, while being aware of flare energy and aircraft stall speeds.

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: 14 May 2018   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1710 EST    
Location   (show map): 40 km SE of Bundaberg    
State: Queensland    
Release Date: 12 July 2018   Occurrence category: Serious Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Gippsland Aeronautics Pty Ltd  
Aircraft model GA-8  
Type of operation Aerial Work  
Sector Piston  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Last update 12 December 2018