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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 211926
Last updated: 24 February 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic BE76 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Beechcraft 76
Registration: VH-BDS
C/n / msn: ME-64
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:49km NW of Cessnock Airport, NSW -   Australia
Phase: Landing
Departure airport:Coonamble Airport, NSW (CNB/YCNM)
Destination airport:Cessnock Airport, NSW (CES/YCNK)
Investigating agency: ATSB
The twin-engine Beech 76 departed Coonamble Airport, with a pilot and two passengers on board. The aircraft was conducting a private flight to Cessnock Airport, NSW.
Prior to departure, the pilot reviewed the fuel quantity and checked the fuel for contamination. The aircraft had about 190 L on board (anticipated fuel use for the flight was 107 L).
At about 18:16, the pilot slightly reduced power and began descending the aircraft for Cessnock. At about 18:21, he felt the aircraft yaw toward the right and observed the right engine indications showing a loss of power.
The pilot immediately commenced the engine failure checklist, which included selecting engine mixtures to full rich, increasing propeller RPM for both engines and advancing the throttles. He then confirmed the landing gear and flaps were retracted. The pilot also considered carburettor icing as a reason for the power loss and selected carburettor heat ‘on’ and ‘off’. The engine did not respond so he then conducted the engine failure checklist again. He also selected the fuel to cross-feed from the left fuel tank.
As the right engine did not respond, the pilot elected to secure the failed engine and configure the aircraft for single-engine flight. When securing the engine, the pilot moved the mixture to idle cut‑off, the propeller control to the feather position and the throttle to idle. He reported that he did not confirm that the right propeller had actually feathered. After securing the failed engine, the pilot did not attempt to unfeather the propeller, or restart the failed engine.
In order to maintain altitude, the pilot focussed on targeting the single-engine best rate of climb speed. He also ensured that airspeed did not reduce and affect aircraft controllability. The pilot observed that in order to maintain the required speed, the aircraft could not maintain altitude and continued to descend. In order to arrest the descent, the pilot increased power on the left engine to maximum but the aircraft continued descending.
The pilot considered diverting to Scone Airport but due to the proximity of housing near that airport, and his familiarity with Cessnock Airport, he decided to continue to Cessnock.
As the aircraft descended through about 5,500 ft, the pilot calculated that the descent rate would not allow the aircraft to clear high terrain between its position and Cessnock. At 18:27, he declared MAYDAY and advised air traffic control that he did not believe the aircraft could reach Cessnock.
At about 18:30, the pilot elected to conduct a forced landing. While it was about 40 minutes after last light, enough daylight remained for the pilot to select a generally suitable landing area. He then selected a clear area and configured the aircraft for landing with the landing gear retracted.
With no intercom-connected headsets to communicate with the passengers, the pilot did not attempt to warn them and focused on flying the aircraft. The front seat passenger later reported that he was not aware of the impending forced landing.
The aircraft touched down in a grassy field on the underside of the fuselage and slid over a slope. The pilot yawed the aircraft sideways in an attempt to slow down but it continued over the slope before coming to rest. The pilot and passengers then evacuated the aircraft using the left cabin door; they were not injured but the aircraft was substantially damaged.

- During descent, the right engine of VH-BDS failed, possibly due to carburettor icing.
- After the right engine failed, the propeller was not feathered, or did not feather. The increased drag of the unfeathered propeller prevented the aircraft from maintaining altitude.
- The inability to maintain altitude led the pilot to conduct a forced landing, which resulted in substantial damage to the aircraft.


Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: ATSB
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 7 months
Download report: Final report


Photo of VH-BDS courtesy

Brampton Island (YBPI / BMP)
June 1980; (c) Gavin Hughes

Revision history:

08-Jun-2018 07:04 Pineapple Added
17-Jan-2019 17:52 harro Updated [Operator, Total occupants, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Narrative, Accident report, ]

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