Saturday, September 01, 2018

Cessna 172S Skyhawk SP, VH-EWE: Fatal accident occurred June 08, 2018 near Moorabbin Airport, VIC (MBW/YMMB), Australia

NTSB Identification: WPR18WA187
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, June 08, 2018 in Moorabbin, Australia
Aircraft: CESSNA 172, registration:
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On June 8, 2018, about 0713 coordinated universal time a Cessna 172S airplane, VH-EWE, impacted terrain about 1 kilometers from the Moorabbin Airport, Moorabbin, Victoria, Australia. The pilot in command was fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed. The flight was operated by Oxford Aviation Academy as a personal flight.

The investigation is under the jurisdiction of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB). This report is for information purposes only and contains only information released by the ATSB. Further information pertaining this accident may be obtained from: 

P.O. Box 967, Civic Square
Canverra A.C.T. 2608
Tel: (61) 2 6230-4408 
Fax: (61) 2 6274-6434

Collision with terrain involving Cessna 172S, VH-EWE, near Moorabbin Airport, Victoria, on June 08, 2018

Preliminary report published: 18 July 2018

On June 08, 2018, a Cessna Aircraft Company C172S, registered VH-EWE (EWE), was being operated on a private flight from, and intending to return to, Moorabbin Airport, Victoria. The flight was the first one after scheduled maintenance. The pilot, an employee of the maintenance organization, was the sole occupant.

The aircraft departed Moorabbin Airport at about 1600 Eastern Standard Time. Recorded Air Traffic Control (ATC) data showed that the aircraft climbed to an altitude of 3,000 ft above mean sea level and tracked towards Tyabb, Victoria.

At 1707, the pilot reported to Moorabbin ATC that EWE was at reporting point GMH at 1,500 ft, inbound to Moorabbin. ATC instructed the pilot to join base for runway 35 Right (R). At 1710, ATC requested EWE change runways to 35 Left (L), due to the number of aircraft tracking for 35R. The pilot accepted the runway change and at 1712, EWE was cleared to land on runway 35L. At 1713, the pilot of EWE broadcast a MAYDAY[2] radio call and stated “we’ve got engine failure”. Shortly after, the aircraft was observed in a descending left turn.

The aircraft initially contacted a power line and fence before coming to rest on a residential street against a parked car. The pilot was fatally injured and a post-impact fuel-fed fire destroyed the aircraft. There was also damage to a residential property and the parked car.

Aircraft information

The Cessna 172S aircraft was manufactured in 2006. It had 6,348 hours in service prior to the accident flight and was predominantly used for flight training. The aircraft was fitted with a Lycoming IO-360-L2A fuel injected engine and McCauley two-blade, fixed pitch propeller.

The maintenance carried out on EWE before the accident flight included a periodic inspection and scheduled engine change. A valid maintenance release had been issued just prior to the accident flight.

The installed engine had recently undergone a scheduled inspection and overhaul at another maintenance facility. As part of that process, the engine had been run on a test bed at the overhaul facility for about 2 hours. Post installation into EWE, it was reported that the engine was twice operated on the ground for a total of about 30 minutes.

Wreckage examination

On-site examination of the wreckage and surrounding ground markings indicated that the aircraft collided with terrain in a nose‑down attitude. The tail of the aircraft twisted clockwise as a result of the impact with the fence and was inverted. Evidence of the fire extended down the street, and was indicative of fuel being released with the rupturing of the fuel tanks.

The degree of propeller damage observed on-site was consistent with the engine not producing power at the time of impact. The engine, propeller and several other components were retained for further examination.

The aircraft was not equipped with a flight data recorder or cockpit voice recorder, nor was it required to be.

Engine and propeller examination

The engine and propeller were subsequently examined at an independent engine overhaul facility, under ATSB supervision. Representatives from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, the aircraft maintenance organisation, the engine overhaul facility, and the aircraft insurer were present at the engine disassembly.

This examination did not identify evidence of a mechanical failure of the engine. Some additional components, including those associated with the fuel system, were retained for further examination.

Ongoing investigation

The investigation is continuing and will include consideration of the:

examination of retained aircraft and engine components
maintenance documentation
pilot’s experience
aircraft fuel records
audio analysis of engine sound (from ATC radio recordings)
available electronic data.

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