Aviation AO-2002-006

Partenavia P68 ZK-ZSP inadvertent in-flight fuel transfer, power loss and precautionary landing, 15 May 2002
Status: Closed
Legacy Inquiry Number: 
Occurrence Date: 
15 May 2002
Report Publication Date: 
20 December 2002
Jurisdiction: NZ
On Wednesday 15 May 2002, at about 0918, ZK-ZSP, a Partenavia P68B, was on a scheduled flight from Gisborne to Napier, when its right engine lost power because of fuel starvation. The aeroplane was 5 km from Wairoa, at 5000 feet and in cloud, at the time. On board were 4 passengers and the pilot.

Although sufficient fuel was on board the aeroplane, the fuel was not made available to the engine. The propeller was not feathered and the aeroplane, unable to maintain its height, descended until it broke clear of the cloud, near the coastline. The pilot landed the aeroplane safely on a metalled road. There were no injuries, and the aeroplane was undamaged.

Safety issues identified were:
• inadvertent tank-to-tank fuel transfer
• stiff fuel selector knobs
• the adequacy of the aircrew licensing written examination system.

Safety recommendations addressing these issues were made to the Director of Civil Aviation.
Related Safety Recommendation(s):
near Wairoa (-39.0651,177.4023) [may be approximate]