Friday, February 17, 2012

Cessna 150J, N60276: Accident occurred February 17, 2012 in Jasper, Georgia

NTSB Identification: ERA12LA186
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, February 17, 2012 in Jasper, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/13/2012
Aircraft: CESSNA 150J, registration: N60276
Injuries: 2 Serious.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot and the flight instructor reported that they conducted an extensive preflight inspection and filled the fuel tanks with fuel prior to departure for the pilot’s biennial flight review in the newly purchased airplane. They further reported that they sumped the fuel tanks before and after the refueling and noted no water or contamination. The takeoff was uneventful, and they remained in the traffic pattern to practice takeoffs and landings. While on final approach for the first landing, the pilot added power, and the engine subsequently sputtered and lost power. The flight instructor completed a forced landing to a field, and, during the landing roll, the airplane impacted a truck. Postaccident examination of the airplane and engine revealed large amounts of water in the fuel strainer bowl and carburetor bowl. Additionally, corrosion was observed inside the fuel tanks and the fuel strainer bowl, and the fuel cap gaskets appeared stiff and cracked. The airplane’s most recent annual inspection was completed about 6 months before the accident. The airplane had been stored outside while it was for sale, and it had only accumulated 4 hours of flight time in the previous 2 years and had not flown at all in the 3 months preceding the accident. Given the amount of water in the carburetor bowl and fuel strainer bowl, the poor condition of the fuel cap gaskets, and the presence of corrosion in the fuel tanks and fuel strainer bowl, it is likely that water had entered the fuel system during the time the airplane was stored outside. Further, it is unlikely that the pilots conducted a thorough preflight inspection, otherwise the water would have been detected.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilots' inadequate preflight inspection that failed to detect water-contaminated fuel, which resulted in a total loss of engine power.


On February 17, 2012, at 1207 eastern standard time, N60276, a Cessna 150J, was substantially damaged during landing at the Pickens County Airport (JZP), Jasper, Georgia. The certified flight instructor (CFI) and certificated private pilot were seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local flight.

According to both pilots, the purpose of the flight was to conduct a biennial flight review (BFR) for the private pilot who had just purchased the airplane. They conducted an extensive preflight inspection, filled the fuel tanks, and performed a run-up inspection prior to departure from runway 16. During the preflight inspection, the pilots sumped the fuel tanks twice and noted no water or contamination. 

The pilots intended to perform several touch-and-go landings in the traffic pattern before transitioning to the practice area to perform maneuvers. The flight instructor performed the takeoff and transferred control of the airplane to the private pilot after the airplane was on the downwind leg of the traffic pattern, at an altitude of 1,000 feet. When the airplane was on final approach, the private pilot noted he was a "little low" and added a small amount of power. The engine subsequently sputtered and the private pilot transferred control of the airplane back to the flight instructor. The flight instructor added full throttle and the engine lost power completely. The pilots prepared for a forced landing and were able to clear power lines and land the airplane in a 400-foot-long field. During the landing roll, the airplane struck a truck with its left wing and continued down an embankment before coming to rest.


The CFI also held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single and multiengine land, and an instrument rating. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) first-class medical certificate was issued on September 27, 2011. At the time of the accident, the flight instructor reported 968 hours of total flight experience, 42 of which were in make and model of the accident airplane. 

The pilot receiving the BFR held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single and multiengine land, and instrument airplane. His most recent first-class medical certificate was issued on February 3, 2012. At the time of the accident, the pilot reported 253 hours of total flight experience, 127 of which were in make and model of the accident airplane. The pilot reported one hour of flight experience in the previous 90 days.


The airplane was manufactured in 1969 and had accumulated 3,443 total aircraft hours. The most recent annual inspection was completed on July 15, 2011, at an aircraft time of 3,441 hours. 

The private pilot completed the paperwork to purchase the airplane just prior to the accident flight. 

The previous owner owned the airplane for approximately 6 months prior to selling it to the private pilot. 

Both owners reported the airplane was always stored outside, and the airplane had reportedly not flown since November 2011.

In the previous 2 years, the airplane accumulated 4 hours of flight time. In the previous 10 years, the airplane accumulated 17 hours of total flight time. 


The weather reported at Cherokee County Airport (CNI), about 9 miles to the south, at 1155, included calm winds, 10 miles visibility, clear skies, temperature 14 degrees C, dew point 7 degrees C, and altimeter setting 30.13 inches mercury. 


The airplane and engine were examined by investigators from Cessna and Continental Engines, under the supervision of the FAA. The examination revealed large amounts of water in the fuel strainer bowl and carburetor float bowl. Almost all of the fluid drained from the fuel strainer and carburetor appeared to be water. A small amount of water was observed in the 15 gallons of blue fluid drained from the aircraft's fuel tanks by the recovery company. 

The integral, metal fuel tanks were not breached. Corrosion was observed inside the fuel tanks, as well as the fuel strainer bowl. Additionally, the fuel cap gaskets appeared stiff and cracked. 

No other discrepancies were observed.

A student pilot and his instructor were seriously injured when their single-engine plane crashed Friday afternoon in Pickens County.

The owner of a Pickens County auto parts store said he's used to hearing planes coming and going from the nearby runway. But the sound he heard Friday afternoon wasn't one he had heard before.

"We heard the plane hit my truck," Mike Hett, who owns a NAPA Auto Parts store, told the AJC.

An instructor and a student pilot were seriously injured when their single-engine plane crashed shortly after noon in Jasper, a North Georgia city about 20 miles north of Canton. But the pilot's actions may have prevented anyone else from being hurt.

The Cessna 150 started having engine trouble shortly after takeoff from nearby Pickens County Airport and attempted to land in a grassy spot near a Wendy's restaurant, which was crowded for lunch time, Bob Howard, Pickens County fire chief, told the AJC.

After hitting the ground, the plane went back up, but not for long.

“They clipped a vehicle and a Dumpster," Howard said. "They ended up in a Georgia DOT holding lot, about 500 feet from the airport runway. If they could’ve stayed up another minute, they could’ve made it."

The struck vehicle was Hett's 1998 Chevrolet pickup truck, which likely was totaled from the impact, Hett said.

The two men aboard the plane, whose names were not released, sustained broken bones and facial injuries and were taken to WellStar Kennestone Hospital in Marietta, Howard said. Their injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.

Hett said he and others in the area credited the pilot with keeping the plane away from hitting people.

"Those two men need to very much count their lucky stars," Howard said. "We're ecstatic we're not working some fatalities."

FAA and NTSB investigators were headed to the scene late Friday, Howard said.

PHOTOS| Photos of plane crash scene 

PICKENS COUNTY, Ga. — A single-engine plane that lost power hit a building, an SUV and a Dumpster before crashing near in a parking lot in Pickens County.

According to the Pickens County Fire Department, a student and an instructor were on board a Cessna that was coming in for landing when it lost power and began to sputter around noon on Friday.

The plane buzzed a Wendy’s on Highway 53 at Camp Road before hitting the corner of a NAPA autoparts store, then hitting an SUV and a Dumpster and crashing near the Georgia Department of Transportation parking lot, the Fire Department said.

The pilot and the student, both men in their 30s, suffered broken bones and facial injuries, and were taken to Kennestone Hospital.

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