Accident Piper PA-28-181 Archer II VH-FEY,
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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 311188
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Date:Thursday 20 April 2023
Time:c. 17:10
Type:Silhouette image of generic P28A model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Piper PA-28-181 Archer II
Registration: VH-FEY
MSN: 28-7690006
Year of manufacture:1976
Engine model:Textron Lycoming O-360
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:in sea off Leighton Beach, North Fremantle, Perth, WA -   Australia
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Carnarvon Airport, WA (CVQ/YCAR)
Destination airport:Jandakot Airport, WA (JAD/YPJT)
Investigating agency: ATSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
A Piper PA-28-181 Archer II crashed into the sea off Leighton Beach, North Fremantle, Perth, Western Australia, after an engine power loss.
Both occupants survived the crash. The aircraft is damaged beyond repair after being totally submerged in sea water as well as suffering structural damage.

The pilot departed Carnarvon with sufficient fuel for the intended flight to Jandakot via Geraldton but did not carry out regular fuel quantity checks in accordance with regulatory guidance or keep a written log of the fuel consumed from each tank during the flight.

During cruise at 1,900 ft, engine power subsided to low power then returned to normal power. This occurred a number of times, probably because of a lack of usable fuel in the selected (right) tank.

The pilot responded to the engine power anomalies by carrying out some of the emergency procedures but did not select the other (left) tank, which contained usable fuel. Consequently, engine power was not restored and the pilot carried out a forced ditching into the ocean near a beach.

Prior to the first departure from Geraldton on the day of the occurrence, the pilot drained a significant amount of water from both fuel tanks (that had been refuelled to full the night before) and from the fuel strainer. The aircraft was subsequently operated for over 6.5 hrs with a refuelling at Carnarvon without any symptoms of fuel contamination and it is unlikely that there was a significant amount of water remaining in the fuel.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: ATSB
Report number: AO-2023-021
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 7 months
Download report: Final report

Sources: (photo)



Revision history:

20-Apr-2023 10:23 gerard57 Added
28-Nov-2023 09:00 harro Updated [Other fatalities, Embed code, Narrative, Accident report]

Corrections or additions? ... Edit this accident description

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