Published on November 13th, 2021 | by Mark Dwyer0
Preliminary Report Published into Partenavia Crash in Wexford
The AAIU has published the preliminary report into the accident involving Partneavia P68 F-HIRD near Carnsore Point Co. Wexford in September. The twin-engine aircraft, with one Pilot and three passengers on board, departed Waterford Airport (EIWF) at 11.08 hrs. All of the passengers were part of an environmental research team and the purpose of the flight was to record sightings of a variety of marine wildlife. During the occurrence flight, one passenger was seated in the front right seat next to the Pilot, and the two other passengers were seated in the row directly behind.
The plan for the flight was to fly at low altitude along 16 pre-defined survey lines. Each line was approximately 45 km in length and the lines were spaced approximately 4 km apart. The planned 16 survey lines were completed after 4 hours and 30 minutes of flying. Following a discussion with the passengers, and after assessing the remaining fuel, the Pilot determined that there was approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes of fuel remaining and they decided to complete two more survey lines before returning to Waterford.
The Pilot informed the Investigation that two minutes after commencing the final survey line (i.e. the 18th survey line), an abnormal drop in the indicated fuel quantity was observed, the right engine stopped, and within approximately four minutes the indicated fuel quantity in the right tank dropped to zero.
The Pilot advised that he switched on the fuel pump and pushed the throttle, fuel mixture and propeller levers forward, in an attempt to re-start the engine, which was unsuccessful. At the time of the right engine stoppage, the aircraft was travelling at approximately 108 knots. Recorded data shows that the aircraft then climbed to approximately 500 feet. The Pilot said he carried out the actions required to secure the right engine including feathering the right propeller. The Pilot noted that the left engine and left fuel quantity indicator at this point were stable. The Pilot decided to fly directly to EIWF which he estimated was approximately 20 minutes away. However, the Pilot informed the Investigation that he had difficulty gaining and maintaining altitude on one engine, and that he did not believe the left engine was delivering full power. He said that he verified that the left fuel selector and fuel pump were on, and that he moved the fuel tank cross feed to ON, waited and then turned it OFF again, but it did not make any difference to the engine power. He decided to fly close to the shore so that a forced landing could be carried out if necessary.
The Pilot reported that when the aircraft was turned towards EIWF at an altitude of approximately 250 ft, the left engine stopped. The Pilot attempted to re-start the left engine several times. The Pilot said that the engine did re-start but each time it re-started, it stopped again within a few seconds. The Pilot then flew directly to the shore and when the aircraft reached the shore, he banked the aircraft to the left and carried out a forced landing on the beach. The beach surface consisted of loose shale causing the aircraft to decelerate rapidly on touchdown. This caused the aircraft to pitch down, and the nose of the aircraft impacted heavily with the surface, causing significant structural damage to the cockpit and forward cabin areas. The Pilot informed the Investigation that immediately after landing, the left engine spontaneously re-started and accelerated to full power. The Pilot said he pulled the engine mixture lever back to stop the engine. The passengers exited the aircraft through the aircraft door and the Pilot exited the aircraft through the windscreen which had broken during the impact. The Pilot and one passenger sustained serious injuries during the impact sequence and were airlifted to hospital by two Coastguard helicopters that attended the scene. The two other passengers sustained injuries and were taken to hospital by ambulance.
A full report will be published in due course. The full preliminary report is available to read here. Main photo above taken from the AAIU Report.