ATSB investigation into Serpentine light aircraft accident to examine engine, propeller and fuel system components

Key points:

  • Aircraft was conducting a post-maintenance check flight
  • Wreckage examination found no evidence of pre-existing defects with the aircraft’s flight controls or structure
  • Fuel system components including the fuel flow indicator were recovered from the site for further examination

The ATSB will continue its examination of recovered components and the analysis of downloaded recorded data as part of its on-going investigation into the fatal accident involving a Dynaero MCR-01 light aircraft near Serpentine Airfield, south of Perth, on 28 December 2020.

The aircraft, with the pilot the sole occupant on-board, had departed Serpentine’s runway 09 at about 1438 local time to conduct a second post-maintenance check flight. Shortly after take-off, at about 300 feet above ground level, witnesses heard an audible change in the aircraft’s engine noise.

The preliminary report notes that the aircraft was then observed to make a slow turn to the left. A further change in engine noise was then heard before the left wing dropped and the aircraft was seen to enter a steep, nose-down rotating descent. The pilot was unable to recover the aircraft before it impacted the ground in relatively flat, open farmland about 200 metres east of the threshold of Serpentine’s runway 23.

The pilot sustained fatal injuries, and the aircraft was destroyed.

“To date, ATSB transport safety investigators have examined the accident site and aircraft wreckage, interviewed witnesses, and retrieved aircraft components for further examination. The retrieved components include a damaged GPS unit, aircraft instrumentation, the engine, propeller and fuel system components including the fuel flow indicator,” said ATSB Director Transport Safety Dr Mike Walker.

“No pre-impact defects were identified with the aircraft’s flight controls or structure,” Dr Walker noted.

“In addition, the aircraft’s fuel tank had ruptured and a quantity of fuel had leaked into the soil.”

Dr Walker noted the preliminary report does not include any safety findings or analysis, which will be detailed in the investigation’s final report.

“As well as the analysis of data from the aircraft’s fuel flow meter and other electronic devices, and considering witness information, the ATSB’s investigation will examine the recovered aircraft components and review the aircraft’s maintenance history and flight characteristics,” he said.

A final report will be released at the conclusion of the investigation.

“However, should a critical safety issue be identified during the investigation, the ATSB will immediately notify relevant parties so appropriate and timely safety action can be taken,” Dr Walker noted.

You can find here the report: Collision with terrain involving Dynaero MCR-01 VLA, VH-SIP, near Serpentine Airfield, WA, 28 December 2020

Last update 15 March 2021

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