'NO WATER IN PETROL' OF AIRLINER AMANA Experts Fail To Discover Cause Of W.A. Crash CANBERRA, Thurs.: The most painstaking inquiries by experts had left the cause of the crash of the Australian National Airways Skymaster Amana last year a mystery, the Minister for Civil Aviation (Mr. Anthony) told the House of Representatives today.
"I am satisfied that there was no water in the petrol when the Amana left Sydney on the morning of June 26, and that no water was in the petrol when the Amana was refuelled at Essendon, Melbourne, Para- field, Adelaide and Guildford. Mr. Justice Simpson, president of the court of inquiry, re- ported. The Amana crashed on the night of June 26 last year 18 minutes after taking off from the Guildford aerodrome, kill ing its crew of five and 24 pas sengers. Mr. Anthony today tabled in the House a report and supple- mentary report of the court of inquiry. The House adjourned the debate on a motion that the re- ports be printed. Engine Failure In a Ministerial statement de- tailing the findings of the court and Government decision on its recommendations, Mr. An- thony said that painstaking in quiries by Civil Aviation De- partment experts had also failed to reveal the cause of the crash. There was sufficient petrol in the tanks, and, therefore, it was extremely difficult to explain a simultaneous loss of power in all four engines. The court of inquiry, the Minister said, found that the plane had a properly qualified crew, a valid certificate of air worthiness, and its load was well within its capacity. It took off normally, but 18 minutes, later it had crashed. Mr. Jus- tice Simpson had reported that, though there was no discover- able reasons, the Amana had suddenly lost height and all its four engines had failed. The evidence did not explain why there was this sudden loss of height or why the four engines had simultaneously ceased to deliver power. Corrosion Mr. Anthony said that Mr. Justice Simpson's finding con tinued: "An examination of the engines proved there was some corrosion in parts of No. 1 en gine fuel system, and consider able corrosion in parts of No. 4 engine fuel system. I am not satisfied that this corrosion, or any of it, is to be attributed to there being water in the petrol." The court, the Minister added, had investigated thoroughly the possibility that water had con taminated the petrol. The court, after completing its sitting and making a first report, had later obtained permission to reopen the inquiry. Its second series of sittings only confirmed its opinion that the engines' loss of power was not caused by water in the petrol. The reason for the accident must, therefore. remain a mystery. Mr. Anthony said the court had made three recommenda- tions, of which two were de- signed to be further safeguards against water getting into air craft petrol and causing trouble. Mr. Anthony said that the first recommendation was that oil companies which supplied petrol to planes should be re- quired to test every compart- ment of their tanker waggons
after each refilling to detect any presence of water. The Government had no power to direct petrol companies how they should test their products, but he had no doubt that they would heed the court's recom- mendation. He had brought it to their attention. The second recommendation was that the air navigation or- der which provided for the draining of weatherheads in air- craft fuel systems at each air- port to make a test for water should be amended to provide that the weatherheads should be drained into transparent containers, in which the pres- ence of water could be more easily detected. The Govern- ment would amend the order accordingly. For Pilots The third recommendation, the Minister said, was that the department should reconsider Air Navigation Order 40. This order provided that pilots in their six-monthly tests for re- newal of their licences should be tested in assymetric flying --flying a plane with one of its engines cut out. The recom- mendation of the court was that this test should be carried out on a plane of the type which the pilot was flying regu larly. The test generally was carried out in a two-engine plane. The recommendation was that pilots flying Skymasters should be tested in them. The department considered the difficulty of operating a two-engine plane with one en- gine cut out to be much greater than that of operating a four- engine plane with an engine cut out, Mr. Anthony said. He felt, therefore, that there should be no change in the existing order.