The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is highlighting the value of emergency procedures training after it found that recent practice contributed to the successful forced landing of an Airvan 8 in Western Australia.

The aircraft, VH-BFL, was conducting a scenic flight with seven passengers on board from Bellburn airstrip in May last year when the pilot lost power to the engine. After trouble checks failed to correct the issue, the pilot elected to land the aeroplane in scrubland.

During the landing, the aircraft wing struck some small trees, which resulted in the aircraft coming to rest in a ditch, which tore off the landing gear. The pilot and three passengers sustained minor injuries. All other passengers were unhurt.

The ATSB report later found that an intake pipe had come off number six cylinder, which accounted for the power loss, but it was the actions of the pilot that impressed investigators.

"The pilot advised the investigation that recent practice forced landings in the Airvan had helped him to feel more comfortable with the emergency," the report states. "In particular, the recent practice gave him a good appreciation for the aircraft’s glide ratio, which helped when selecting a suitable landing site.

"The ATSB’s safety message from this investigation is the value of frequent emergency procedures training. The pilot’s handling of the forced landing contributed positively to the survivability of this accident.

"Although flight reviews are required every two years as a minimum, the ATSB reminds pilots and operators of the benefits of more frequent practice of emergency procedures."

The full accident report is on the ATSB website.

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