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Emergency landing blamed on electrical problem

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October 10, 2007 - 2:41PM


Melb Age


A charter aircraft carrying 10 tourists was forced to make an emergency landing in Tasmania when its engine failed, an investigation has found.


The Australian Transport Safety Bureau today released its findings into the incident in February last year involving the Cessna Aircraft Company 208 floatplane.


The pilot and passengers left Strahan, on Tasmania's west coast, on a chartered tourist flight headed for the rugged mountain of Frenchmans Cap, in the South West National Park.


When the aircraft was over Frenchmans Cap at an altitude of 4,500ft above mean sea level, the pilot observed that a chip detector light on the master caution warning panel had illuminated.


The pilot decided to land the plane as soon as possible.


During the diversion, five minutes after the chip detector light came on, a loud noise was heard and the engine lost power, the ATSB report stated.


"The pilot immediately feathered the propeller and carried out a forced landing on Lake Burbury," it said.


"The pilot reported that the aircraft landed heavily and its forward speed could not be controlled.


"The aircraft came to a stop on a mud bank on the edge of Lake Burbury with its floats clear of the water. There were no reported injuries."


The engine was removed, taken apart and inspected, revealing damaged components with characteristics consistent with electrical discharge damage, the report said.


"The source of the electrical discharge damage was a starter-generator that was replaced due to a malfunction 18.7 hours prior to the engine failing.


"This was the 43rd reported starter-generator electrical discharge damage event reported to have taken place on PT6A series engines world-wide since 1992."


As a result of this investigation several safety recommendations have been issued to the aircraft manufacturer, the engine manufacturer, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, Transport Canada and the US Federal Aviation Administration.





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