ASN Aircraft accident Douglas C-47-DL (DC-3) VH-EWF Sydney-Kingsford Smith International Airport, NSW (SYD)
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Status:Accident investigation report completed and information captured
Date:Monday 4 November 1957
Type:Silhouette image of generic DC3 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Douglas C-47-DL (DC-3)
Operator:East West Airlines
Registration: VH-EWF
MSN: 6007
First flight: 1942
Crew:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Passengers:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 24
Total:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 27
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Aircraft fate: Repaired
Location:3 km (1.9 mls) E off Sydney-Kingsford Smith International Airport, NSW (SYD) (   Australia)
Phase: Initial climb (ICL)
Nature:Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport:Sydney-Kingsford Smith International Airport, NSW (SYD/YSSY), Australia
Destination airport:Tamworth Airport, NSW (TMW/YSTW), Australia
At 19:12 the DC-3 took off from Sydney runway 07 for a flight to Tamworth. At a height of bout 200 feet the one of the engines backfired severely. The pilot-in-command noticed that the no. 1 engine was about 150 rpm below the no. 2 engine. The pilot reduced power on that engine and , not noticing any violent signs of malfunction, applied power again to 32 inches manifold pressure. The engine backfired again, so the no. 1 prop was feathered immediately. A left turn was initiated with the intention of making an approach to runway 16. The aircraft was losing height fast, so the pilot decided to try an emergency landing on runway 25 instead. This wasn't possible also, so the aircraft was eventually ditched in a lake 2 miles east of the airport at 150 feet from the nearest bank where the water was 10-15 feet deep.
It appeared that the pilot had shut down the wrong engine. The no. 2 cylinder head of the no. 2 engine had cracked. No damage was found on the no. 1 engine.

Probable Cause:

PROBABLE CAUSE: "The pilot-in-command, on becoming aware of an engine defect, took action to feather a propeller on the basis of evidence that was insufficient to ensure correct identification of the defective engine."

Shutdown of wrong engine

» ICAO Accident Digest No.9, Circular 56-AN/51 (211-218)


photo of Douglas-C-47-VH-EWF

This map shows the airport of departure and the intended destination of the flight. The line between the airports does not display the exact flight path.
Distance from Sydney-Kingsford Smith International Airport, NSW to Tamworth Airport, NSW as the crow flies is 319 km (199 miles).
Accident location: Approximate; accuracy within a few kilometers.

This information is not presented as the Flight Safety Foundation or the Aviation Safety Network’s opinion as to the cause of the accident. It is preliminary and is based on the facts as they are known at this time.
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