The U.K. AAIB issued a Special Bulletin, detailing their facts so far of an engine-out emergency landing of a BN-2B Islander airplane on the island of Jersey. Initial findings suggest that fuel was selected from the tip tanks and that both tanks were empty at the time of the crash.
The Channel Islands Air Search operated the plane on a SAR mission on the night of November 3, 2013. The Islander aircraft was flying off the north coast of Jersey, Channel Islands when the right engine rpm began to vary, repeatedly reducing and then increasing. The observer seated to the right of the pilot, observed the fuel pressure fluctuating but this was not noticed by the pilot. The pilot selected the alternate intake air but the engine then stopped. The pilot feathered the propeller and then completed the engine shutdown checks. Following a brief conversation with the search director, the pilot turned the aircraft towards Jersey Airport and declared a MAYDAY to ATC, while the search director made a similar call on the maritime frequency. The pilot applied full power on the left engine and put the aircraft into a climb.
The aircraft had climbed to approximately 1,100 ft amsl when the left engine rpm began to fluctuate before the engine ceased to produce power. The pilot informed ATC that the aircraft was “going down” and the search crew stowed their equipment. No attempt was made to re-start either engine.
As it continued its descent the aircraft’s landing lights suddenly illuminated ground ahead and the pilot manoeuvred for a touchdown. Between rocky cliffs and roughly undulating terrain, there was a small area suitable for a forced landing. Following a ground roll of 140 m, during which the left main landing gear collapsed rearwards, the aircraft’s progress was halted when its nose lodged, in a gentle impact, in the base of a tree.
The pilot and search crew were uninjured.
Initial examination of the aircraft revealed that both main fuel tanks were found almost full and the tip tanks were empty. Switches in the cockpit were found in the ‘tip tank’ position.
It appears that the tip tanks had been selected on a flight the previous day and the selection had not been changed. At the commencement of the accident flight, each tip tank contained approximately 5-6 USG.
The investigation is ongoing.
- AAIB Special Bulletin (PDF)
- ASN Accident Description BN-2B Islander G-CIAS
- Fund raising for Channel Islands Air Search