Final moments of fatal Mordialloc plane crash revealed
MYSTERY remains over the cause of a fatal Mordialloc plane crash that left an experienced pilot dead with aircraft investigators unable to pinpoint the mechanical failure.
Pilot and aircraft mechanic Anthony Liddell, 50, died when the single-engine Cesna 1725 crashed into Scarlet St, bringing down powerlines and bursting into flames on June 8.
"We've got engine failure," Mr Liddell said in a mayday call broadcast to air traffic control minutes before the fiery crash.
Prior to take off that day the plane had undergone maintenance, the preliminary Australian Transport Safety Bureau report found.
"The ATSB's on-site examination found that the damage to the propeller was consistent with it not producing power at the time of impact," the bureau's executive director Nat Nagy said.
"An examination of the engine also found that there was no evidence of any mechanical failure," he said.
The report, released today, found Mr Liddell was killed when the plane crashed and the aircraft was destroyed by a "post-impact fuel-fed fire", the report found.
The plane hit power lines before crashing into the road and a car.
Scarlet St residents praised the pilot's ability in avoiding further tragedy on the densely populated suburban strip.
David Trotter, who lived metres from the crash site with his young family, hailed Mr Liddell as a "hero" for missing homes.
"That's what they're trained for," Mr Trotter said.
"His instinct would have kicked in."
The ongoing investigation will probe the remaining plane and engine components, maintenance and fuel records and any engine sound recordings and electronic data available.
Mr Liddel's experience will also be looked into.
"If critical safety issues are identified during the course of the investigation, we will immediately notify the relevant parties so appropriate safety action can be taken."
The craft was not fitted with a flight data recorder or cockpit voice recorder, as it is not required in such planes.
The final report into the crash is expected to be released mid next year.
In an email to staff following the crash, CAE Oxford Aviation Academy general manager Michael Drinkall expressed "deep regret" over the tragedy.
"The company is co-operating fully and working closely with the relevant authorities to determine the cause of this accident," he said.
Mr Liddell was a married dad of two kids and a respected member of the Mt Martha community.