Engine power loss caused Maryborough plane crash

INVESTIGATIONS have revealed a partial engine power loss caused a fiery plane crash which claimed the lives of two men at Maryborough Airport in January.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) investigation revealed the aircraft experienced a partial, intermittent power loss after take off.

In their findings, investigators said the power loss may have been due to a blockage in the aircraft’s fuel cock.

Unable to gain sufficient height to clear trees located beyond the runway, the aircraft crash landed, igniting on impact.

“The partial engine power loss was probably a result of a partial blockage of the aircraft’s fuel cock,” the report read.

“Although sufficient runway remained ahead to allow a safe landing, the flight was continued under limited power without gaining sufficient height to clear the trees beyond the runway.

“Approaching the trees the aircraft climbed, lost airspeed, stalled and collided with terrain.”

The investigation is now closed.

The ATSB used the report to urge pilots to land at the earliest opportunity following loss of power.

“There would have been a safer outcome had the pilot immediately landed the aircraft straight ahead.

“Pilots are reminded that continued power in such circumstances is unpredictable and risk can be reduced by conducting a controlled landing at the earlier opportunity.”

Maryborough Aero Club president David Oxley and vice-president John Fisher died after Mr Fisher’s vintage Tiger Moth burst into flames at the northern end of the bitumen runway on January 27.

The ATSB undertook preliminary investigations at the scene of crash in January, pending further inquiries.

Three ATSB investigators, two from Canberra and one from Perth, combed the site for evidence. Investigations into the crash were halted briefly after the discovery of asbestos in the Tiger Moth wreckage.

Police at the scene described the incident as “horrific”.

A Country Fire Authority spokesman said seven trucks were dispatched from Maryborough, Carisbrook and surrounding areas. He said it took them 10 minutes to douse a grass and scrub fire started by the crash.

Maryborough Aero Club secretary Marcus Taylor told the Bendigo Advertiser in January that the death of the well-respected Maryborough and Harcourt residents had rocked both the club and wider community.

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