Expert shows his air crash theory
This apparatus was used at Essendon aerodrome yesterday before the court of inquiry into the Amana air disaster to demonstrate an expert's theory of the cause of the crash.
It is a model of an air- craft's fuel tank and booster pump.
The expert was Mr. C. W. J. Gibbs, chief engine specialist of the Civil Aviation De- partment.
His theory was that water en- tered one of the Amana's engines after a petrol booster pump had been turned off, causing a stop-
Samples of petrol taken during the demonstration yesterday showed a high water content im- mediately after the aircraft booster pump had been turned
Mr. Gibbs told the inquiry that an "independent agency" intro- duced water into the tank of the Amana, which crashed near York (W.A.) on June 26, 1950, killing 29 people.
"Despite all precautions taken by oil companies, water still finds its way into aircraft fuel tanks," he said.
"I suggest that Captain Chapple, with all respects to the company's procedure, might have left his booster pumps on after taking off."
He suggested that Captain Chapple later switched off his boosters, permitting water to enter one of the engines.
Some pilots could have formed the habit of leaving the booster pump on during war service, he said. This was a minor breach of company procedure.
The taking-off phase of an air- craft was one of the most hazard-
"There is a real danger of vapor formation in fuel, especi- ally in aircraft with high-powered engines, like the DC-4," he said. "But by operation of the booster pump during take-off every measure is taken to ensure that the fuel is free of vapor."
The inquiry will be resumed at 10 a.m. today.