UPDATED – The RAAF has grounded its fleet of Pilatus PC-9/A turboprop trainers after PC-9 A23-039 callsign ‘Aladin 71’ crashed on May 18 at RAAF East Sale after a “suspected engine failure” during a routine training flight.
The accident, which occurred at around 3.15pm, saw the two crew – QFI SQNLDR Bruce Collenette and instructor trainee FLTLT Steve Andrews from Central Flying School – eject safely “about 1 kilometre short of a runway, on the edge of the base”, according to Defence.
“On climb out of the airfield, the aircraft lost power approximately 9 kilometres from the airfield and turned back towards East Sale,” a Defence statement reads.
“Power could not be restored to the engine, so the crew followed the engine shutdown procedures checklist. The crew did not have sufficient glide potential to reach the runway, so ejected from the aircraft in line with standing procedures.”
Base emergency personnel responded, with medics assessing the pilots as being in a stable condition before they were transferred to a local hospital where there were kept for an overnight stay for X-rays and precautionary observation. FLTLT Andrews was subsequently transferred to Melbourne for further tests and “specialist care”.
The RAAF has decided to ground all PC-9/A flying operations as a precaution “while the cause of the incident is fully investigated.”
An Aviation Accident Investigation Team has been despatched to East Sale to begin the investigation.
This is the second engine incident and subsequent grounding to afflict the RAAF PC-9 fleet this year, after an engine fire on a 2FTS PC-9 taking off from RAAF Pearce in February.