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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 62620
Last updated: 2 June 2020
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Time:c. 1915
Type:Silhouette image of generic P28A model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Piper PA-28-180C
Owner/operator:Wellington Aero Club
Registration: ZK-CUE
C/n / msn: 28-4343
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:Otamarakau, western Bay of Plenty -   New Zealand
Phase: Landing
Departure airport:Wellington NZWN
Destination airport:Rotorua NZRO
Pilot: R J Nickalls.

The aircraft was on a VFR flight from Wellington to Rotorua, via Palmerston North and Taupo.
The pilot took-off believing he had about 37 imperial gallons of fuel aboard. At a fuel consumption rate of 9 to 10 gph he would have a safe endurance of 3 hours and 30 minutes. With an estimated elapsed time to Rotorua of 1 hour and 50 minutes it appeared that sufficient fuel was being carried.

Unfortunately in his flight planning the pilot had made no allowance for the strong winds forecast for his route.
This resulted in the aircraft being only in the vicinity of Taupo when there were just a few minutes of daylight left. The pilot was not night rated, but instead of landing at Taupo in the remaining light he elected to continue on to Rotorua.
It was not long before he had become lost so he then decided to fly eastward to the coast and follow the coastline north to Tauranga, where night landing facilities were available. He believed he had enough fuel left for this.
Unfortunately this was not the case and after 2 hours and 49 minutes in the air the the Piper's engine failed owing to fuel exhaustion.

A forced landing was made in darkness on Ohinepanea Beach, some 20 n.m. south of Tauranga, where a collision with an obstruction caused considerable damage to the aircraft. None of the 4 POB were injured.

Reconstruction of events showed that the plane must have left Wellington with about 28 imperial gallons of fuel, and not the 37 imperial gallons the pilot thought he had.
NOTE: despite what is mentioned in official reports etc, actual location is Otamarakau, well east of Te Puke...Ohinepanea is located inland.

Aircraft Accident Report No. 2036
D Stafford (1983) Flying The Thermal Skies, Holmes Printing

Revision history:

22-May-2009 12:58 XLerate Added
03-Jun-2009 01:23 angels one five Updated
03-Jun-2009 01:50 angels one five Updated
15-Mar-2016 06:39 angels one five Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Cn, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Other fatalities, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
15-Mar-2016 06:53 angels one five Updated [Narrative]
23-May-2018 20:47 Ron Averes Updated [Location, Source, Narrative]

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