Aviation occurrence briefs

Engine failure and forced landing involving a Cessna 172M, Middalya, WA, on 27 February 2019

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 27 February 2019, at approximately 1800 Western Standard Time, a Cessna 172M with one pilot on board was conducting a private flight from Lindon, Western Australia (WA) to Carnarvon, WA. During cruise at approximately 6,000 ft, the pilot heard a loud bang and observed oil on the windscreen of the aircraft. The engine subsequently ran rough for two minutes before failing completely. The pilot located an appropriate landing area at Middalya Station, WA and conducted a forced landing. The pilot was uninjured and there was no damage to the aircraft as a result of the forced landing. The engineering inspection determined that one cylinder in the engine had broken in half.

Safety message

This incident highlights the importance of frequent emergency procedures training. The pilot’s handling of the forced landing contributed positively to the outcome of this incident. The ATSB investigation report, Engine failure and forced landing involving Gippsland GA-8 Airvan, VH-BFL, 8.5 km NNW or Bellburn Airstrip Western Australia, on 15 May 2018 (AO-2018-036) states, ‘Although, as a minimum, flight reviews are required every two years, pilots and operators are reminded of the benefits of more frequent practice of emergency procedures.’

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: 27 February 2019   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1800 WST    
Location   (show map): Middalya Homestead,    
State: Western Australia    
Release Date: 24 May 2019   Occurrence category: Serious Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Cessna Aircraft Company  
Aircraft model 172M  
Type of operation Private  
Sector Piston  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Lindon, Western Australia  
Destination Carnarvon, Western Australia  
Last update 31 July 2019