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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 62842
Last updated: 1 January 2021
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Time:c. 0705
Type:Pellarini PL-11 Airtruck
Owner/operator:Barr Brothers Ltd, Auckland
Registration: ZK-CKE
C/n / msn: 002
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Close to Tangihua airstrip, Maungakaramea, Northland -   New Zealand
Phase: Initial climb
Departure airport:
Destination airport:
Pilot: Richard Druce Tatham . R.I.P.

The PL-11 took off on a sowing flight and, almost immediately after crossing the departure end of the airstrip the pilot began to jettison the fertiliser load, turning at the same time about 30 degrees to the right towards the only area in the vicinity suitable for a forced landing.

Just before reaching this area the plane lightly struck the top of a tree and dived steeply into the ground. The aircraft was wrecked by the ground impact and the engine was separated from the airframe. A small fire broke out at the engine but did not spread to the main body of the wreckage, about 12 feet away.
The pilot was killed in the crash.

On inspecting the cockpit the investigators found that the engine control lever friction nut was loosened, or backed off. This could not have happened in the crash.
All three engine control levers were in the fully forward position. The throttle lever was through the emergency "gate", though this could have been caused by the shock of the crash or the detachment of the engine.
A witness mark on the quadrant showed that the RPM or propeller pitch control lever was in a position at the time of impact that would have produced engine revs of about 1,800 rpm, far less than the usual 2,200 rpm used in take off and climb.
Examination of the quadrant also showed a curve or bow in the slot in which the throttle lever ran. This caused an inherent stiffness in the throttle action which pilots who had flown the aircraft previously said made them keep the friction control nut loosened off, as otherwise the throttle lever was too difficult to move.

The investigation concluded that the RPM control lever moved back towards a coarse pitch position after the aircraft became airborne. This would have the effect of reducing the thrust of the engine.
The investigators believed that this movement of the lever was caused either by vibration or the pressure exerted on the pitch control bellcrank by the propeller governor. This unwanted movement of an engine control lever would normally be prevented by the pilot tightening the friction control prior to take off.


Aircraft Accident Report No. 1712.

Revision history:

22-May-2009 12:58 XLerate Added
24-May-2009 18:03 angels one five Updated
24-May-2009 18:04 angels one five Updated
11-Nov-2009 10:35 angels one five Updated
17-Nov-2009 14:08 angels one five Updated
31-May-2011 19:59 angels one five Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Operator, Location, Phase, Source, Narrative]
10-Oct-2011 12:23 angels one five Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Operator, Location, Narrative]
13-Mar-2020 01:38 angels one five Updated [Narrative]

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