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Old 30th Jul 2022, 09:10
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: down under
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From RAAus:

STATUS: Under review OCCURRENCE DETAILS SUBMITTED TO RAAUS: The Jabiru departed YMKT first light with full wing tanks (135 litres) for a non-stop flight to YBKS. A planned flight time of 5.7 hours. The pilot had been tracking fuel use via fuel flow meter ranging between 13.5 - 15 litres an hour which was as expected, however 27 miles on the 320 radial short of the destination at 2500’ the engine stumbled once and caught again the pilot immediately switched on the electric pump and focused on a landing area on the black soil before flying over a highly treed area that separated the aircraft from Barkley. The engine ran for another 10-15 seconds before winding back to 1250-1300 RPM at full throttle. The pilot had been monitoring the LED fuel lights for the last hour of flight as they were dropping into the red then back to one green bar continuously. They find them notoriously unreliable and always use Fuel Flow Vs take of fuel as my reference. The pilot declared a MAYDAY on area frequency 126.7 and when they received no answer switch to 121.5 and retransmitted the MAYDAY. Response was heard from QANTAS international flight who contacted Brisbane on their behalf. After landing successfully on the desert floor QANTAS handed the pilot over to another aircraft. They do not have the details as all the flight planning and flight log have remained with the aircraft. The pilot of that aircraft stayed in touch with the Jabiru and Brisbane Centre for around 5 minutes. After losing contact with that aircraft on 126.7 the pilot was still unsure if their position was fully known so they activated their beacon and waited for further contact to be made. They tried Brisbane Centre several times with no success and each time transmitted in the blind their position. The pilot tried both area frequency and Brisbane Centre on the hour and half hour times to conserve battery life but received no answer. Approx. 3.5 hours on the ground they heard a helicopter in the distance and contacted it on area frequency to be notified they were coming to assist. R22 landed 5-6 minutes later and remained on the ground at idle until the Jabiru pilot was ready to climb aboard. All they could take was their overnight bag and one Jerry can for fuel. R22 flew them to Barkley Homestead where they spoke to SARWATCH who had contacted the manager by phone. They confirmed there was only 1 POB and the EPIRB was deactivated before they left the landing area. Once on the ground it was immediately obvious that the fuel drain for the header tank had failed open as the last litre had drained onto the desert floor and the remains fuel (approx. 40 litres over 5.7 hours had drained away in flight) at no time did the pilot smell any fuel leak. When the fuel total seemed to be low they visually checked both wing drains and fuel filter clamps and no obvious leak, visual or using smell was present.
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