Saturday, July 21, 2012

Cessna 182P, N640AM: Accident occurred July 20, 2012 in Corona, California

NTSB Identification: WPR12FA316 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, July 20, 2012 in Corona, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/14/2013
Aircraft: CESSNA 182P, registration: N640AM
Injuries: 2 Serious.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

At the end of a 3-hour-long traffic-watch flight, the pilot began to return to the departure airport. As the airplane transitioned the airspace of an adjacent airport, the engine speed dropped to idle and surged twice. The pilot performed a precautionary landing at the adjacent airport. After an uneventful landing, the pilot performed an engine run-up and more troubleshooting steps and was unable to replicate the engine problem. The pilot then decided to depart for the home airport; however, shortly after departure, the engine speed variations began again, eventually resulting in a total loss of engine power. The pilot performed a forced landing in a nearby field, where the majority of the airplane, including most of its fuel supply system, was consumed by postimpact fire. The engine sustained minimal damage, however, and postaccident examination revealed no evidence of preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.


The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
A loss of engine power shortly after takeoff for reasons that could not be determined because postaccident examination did not reveal any anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s decision to take off with a known but unidentified airplane deficiency.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On July 20, 2012, about 1815 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 182P, N640AM, collided with power lines during a forced landing near Corona, California. The certificated commercial pilot/owner was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, as an aerial observation flight. The pilot and passenger sustained serious injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage during the accident sequence, and was subsequently consumed by post impact fire. The local flight departed Riverside Municipal Airport, Riverside, California, about 1800, with a planned destination of Corona Municipal Airport. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The pilot was a traffic reporter, and the flight was a traffic-watch mission for a local radio station. He stated that he had previously been a full time traffic reporter, utilizing the airplane on a regular basis for such missions until November 2007. After that time, he began reporting directly from his studio, but retained the airplane for breaking news. He continued to fly traffic-watch missions once a month in order to keep the airplane active. The accident flight was one such mission.

On the day of the accident, the pilot and passenger departed from Corona at 1450, and for the next 3 hours, the flight proceeded uneventfully. While returning to Corona, the engine speed dropped twice from 2,200 to approximately 1,000 rpm. The pilot performed troubleshooting steps, with no resolution, and as such, elected to land at Riverside as a precaution. After landing, he taxied to the departure end of the runway, and performed an engine run-up, which included cycling the propeller, and checking the carburetor heat and both magnetos. All checks were normal, and he was unable to replicate the problem. After discussing the anomaly with his passenger, he elected to proceed to Corona.

The departure and climbout were normal, and after about 5 minutes, the engine speed again began to oscillate, followed by a loss of power sufficient to prevent the airplane from maintaining altitude. The pilot began troubleshooting procedures, and having deduced that he would not be able to reach Corona Airport, prepared for a forced landing. As the descent progressed, and they passed over a housing development, the pilot realized he would not be able to reach his intended landing point. He subsequently turned the airplane towards a field adjacent to the houses. During the final approach, the airplane struck a set of power lines, and then collided with the ground.

The airplane came to rest on a heading of 280 degrees magnetic, at the end of a dirt field, about 6,500 feet east of the arrival end of runway 25 at Corona. 

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

A review of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airman records revealed that the 62-year-old pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, helicopter, and instrument airplane. He held an expired second-class FAA medical certificate issued in April 2, 2010, with the limitation that he possess corrective lenses that correct for near vision. The pilot reported 35,326 total hours of flight experience, 12,000 of which were in the accident airplane make and model. He stated that his last flight review was performed in the accident airplane, and took place on October 23, 2009.

AIRPLANE INFORMATION

The high-wing, single-engine airplane was manufactured in 1975, and was equipped with a Continental Motors O-470-R engine, serial number 133000-6R. Maintenance records indicated that the engine was overhauled, and installed in the airplane in August 2006. At the time of the most recent annual inspection, dated August 5, 2010, the engine had accrued a total flight time of 1,609 hours since overhaul. At that time, the airframe had accrued 15,253 total flight hours. Fire damage precluded an accurate determination of the total flight time prior to the accident, however, the pilot reported a total airframe time of 15,400 hours.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

An automated surface weather observation at Corona was issued about 20 minutes prior to the accident. It indicated wind from 300 degrees at 13 knots; 10 miles visibility with clear skies; temperature at 32 degrees C; dew point 14 degrees C; and an altimeter setting at 29.88 inches of mercury.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

The airplane was recovered from the accident site, and examined by the NTSB investigator, and representatives from the FAA, Cessna Aircraft, and Continental Motors, Inc.

Airframe

Fire consumed the entire cabin from the empennage, through to the firewall, along with the inboard wing sections. The empennage and the outboard section of the right wing sustained minimal damage; the left wing sustained leading edge crush damage midspan to the tip. The threaded portion of the flap actuator was not visible, which the Cessna representative stated was consistent with a fully retracted flap position.

With the exception of the fuel filler caps, which remained securely in place at their respective filler necks, the entire fuel supply and storage system from the bladder tanks, through to the gascolator inlet fitting, was completely consumed by fire. The gascolator sustained thermal damage and was disassembled; its screen was clear of obstruction.

Engine

The engine remained attached to its mounts, and sustained crush damage to the forward section of oil sump. The lower section of the number six cylinder head exhibited a similar damage, just below the rocker boss. The magnetos remained firmly attached to their mounting pads, and the spark plugs were secure at each position, with their respective leads attached. The throttle, propeller governor, mixture, and carburetor heat control cables were continuous from the cockpit controls through to their respective control arms.

The top spark plugs were removed and examined. Their electrodes remained mechanically undamaged, were coated in light gray deposits, and displayed “worn out–normal” wear signatures when compared with the Champion Spark Plugs AV-27 Check-A-Plug chart. The crankshaft turned freely when rotated by hand utilizing the propeller, and cylinder compression was observed throughout. Sparks were observed at the termination of each top spark plug lead, and both magneto impulse couplings audibly triggered simultaneously.

The carburetor sustained extensive thermal damage, with pink discoloration to its outer surface. Disassembly revealed that all gaskets and seals had become charred, fragmented, and thermally destroyed. The float was of the metallic type, and remained attached to the pivot arm.

The propeller and hub remained attached at the crankshaft flange; both blades sustained minimal damage, and displayed similar pitch angles at the hub.

A post impact examination did not reveal any anomalies with the remnants of the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation. Refer to the engine and airframe report included in the public docket for further details.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

A fuel receipt provided by Corona Air Ventures revealed that the airplane was serviced with the addition of 36.70 gallons of aviation gasoline at 1020. The pilot reported that at that time, the airplane (which was equipped with two wing fuel tanks of 42 gallons capacity each) was serviced to capacity.

http://registry.faa.gov/N640AM

NTSB Identification: WPR12FA316
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, July 20, 2012 in Corona, CA
Aircraft: CESSNA 182P, registration: N640AM
Injuries: 2 Serious.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On July 20, 2012, about 1815 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 182P, N640AM, collided with power lines during a forced landing following a loss of engine power near Corona, California. The pilot was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, as an aerial observation flight. The certificated commercial pilot and passenger sustained serious injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage during the accident sequence, and was subsequently consumed by post impact fire. The local flight departed Riverside Municipal Airport, Riverside, California, about 1800, with a planned destination of Corona Municipal Airport. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The pilot reported that he was a traffic reporter, and the flight was a traffic-watch mission for a local radio station. They initially departed from Corona at 1450, and for the next 3 hours, the flight proceeded uneventfully. While returning to Corona, the engine speed dropped twice from 2,200 to approximately 1,000 rpm, and as such, the pilot elected to land at Riverside as a precaution. After landing, he taxied to the departure end of the runway, and performed an engine run-up, which included cycling the propeller, checking the carburetor heat, and both magnetos. All checks were normal, and he was unable to replicate the problem. After discussing the anomaly with his passenger, he elected to proceed to Corona.

The departure and climbout were normal, and after about 5 minutes, the engine speed again began to oscillate, followed by a loss of power sufficient to prevent the airplane from maintaining altitude. The pilot began troubleshooting procedures, and having deduced that he would not be able to reach Corona Airport, prepared for a forced landing. As the descent progressed, and they passed over a housing development, he realized he would not be able to reach his intended landing point. He subsequently turned the airplane towards a field adjacent to the houses. During the final approach, the airplane struck a set of power lines, and collided with the ground.

The airplane came to rest on a heading of 280 degrees magnetic, at the end of a dirt field, about 6,500 feet east of the arrival end of runway 25. Fire consumed the entire cabin from the empennage, through to the firewall, along with the inboard wing sections. The engine sustained minimal damage, and was recovered with the airframe remnants for further examination.



 Traffic reporter Mike Nolan, injured Friday in a crash, served on a Corona airport safety committee 

 Radio station traffic reporter Mike Nolan, who was injured Friday, July 20, when his four-seat Cessna airplane crashed near Corona Municipal Airport, is a veteran pilot familiar in name and reputation to fellow Corona pilots.

He was so well respected that he was named four years ago to serve on the city’s Air Safety Advisory Committee, which was formed to study the Corona airport area after a midair collision in January 2008 killed five people, including a man on the ground.

“Mike Nolan was chosen for the committee due to his years of experience,” Corona Mayor Eugene Montanez said Saturday, July 21, in a phone interview. “He knows airplanes and helicopters well, and it shows in his ability to come out OK after mechanical difficulties.”

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said Saturday that the single-engine Cessna 182 Nolan was flying Friday apparently lost engine power and then caught fire after striking power lines along Harrington Street just south of the Parkside Green housing development about 1 ½ miles east of the Corona airport.




FAA IDENTIFICATION
  Regis#: 640AM        Make/Model: C182      Description: 182, Skylane
  Date: 07/21/2012     Time: 0122

  Event Type: Accident   Highest Injury: None     Mid Air: N    Missing: N
  Damage: Substantial

LOCATION
  City: CHINO   State: CA   Country: US

DESCRIPTION
  AIRCRAFT CRASHED UNDER UNKNOWN CIRCUMSTANCES. CHINO, CA

INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   0
                 # Crew:   0     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:   1
                 # Pass:   0     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:   1
                 # Grnd:         Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    


OTHER DATA
  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Unknown      Operation: OTHER


  FAA FSDO: RIVERSIDE, CA  (WP21)                 Entry date: 07/23/2012 

A veteran KFI traffic reporter remained hospitalized in serious condition today, and about 505 residential and business accounts remained without electricity at midday due to a plane crash that downed power lines in Corona. 

Mike Nolan, a Corona resident, and a passenger identified only as Nolan’s 18-year-old nephew crashed in a Cessna 182 in a field about 1-1/2 miles east of the Corona Minicipal Airport at 6:18 p.m. Friday, said Allen Kenitzer of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Television pictures showed the plane on fire, upside down and broken into pieces.

Kenitzer said the crash site was an open field near North Lincoln Avenue and River Road.

“Mike Nolan was seriously hurt, but injuries do not appear to be life-threatening,” a KFI spokesman said today.

Nolan’s nephew, who is a flight student, was also injured but was expected to recover.

Nolan was reportedly not on the air for KFI when his plane hit the power lines and went down. He had regularly worked as an airborne reporter — for KOY in Phoenix and then KFI in Los Angeles — for decades, but had moved into a studio in recent months.

“Originally, there were 3,545 customers without power, but now that number is down to 505,” said Edison spokeswoman Vanessa McGrady.

“We hope to have final restoration by 6 p.m. tomorrow.”

The outage was affecting customers between River Road on the north and Harrington Street to the south, and North Lincoln Avenue on the west to Cota Street to the east, McGrady said.


West Covina, El Monte police assist victims following crash of traffic reporter's airplane in Corona   

CORONA - A West Covina officer pulled two people to safety when a plane piloted by a local radio traffic reporter crashed in Corona Friday night and burst into flames, officials and the radio station said.

Radio station KFI identified the victims as "KFI in in the Sky" traffic reporter Mike Nolan and a nephew of a friend. Their injuries were described as serious but not believed to be life-threatening.

The single-engine Cessna 182 lost power, struck power lines and crashed shortly before 6:30 a.m. in a field about one and a half miles east of the Corona Municipal Airport, according to Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer.

West Covina police Lt. Jerry Pearman said one of their flight observers, Officer Mike Weathermon, was training in the El Monte police helicopter on Friday.

The helicopter was being piloted by Fontana police Captain Dave Faulkner, who also serves as a reserve officer and pilot for the El Monte Police Department, El Monte police Lt. Dan Burlingham said.

The aircraft was flying over Corona when Weathermon and the Faulkner heard a mayday broadcast from a plane around 6 p.m. The helicopter got behind a Cessna. They told the plane's pilot they will try to escort him to the airport, according to Pearman.

The longtime traffic reporter for Los Angeles radio station KFI-AM (640) was seriously hurt Friday night, July 20, in a plane crash east of the Corona Municipal Airport.  KFI confirmed on its Facebook page that Mike Nolan, known as "KFI in the Sky," was injured in the crash.

"KFI traffic’s Mike Nolan has been seriously hurt in a plane crash in Corona," the station said. "Injuries do not appear to be life-threatening."

In a telephone conversation, the station’s marketing director, Neil Saavedra, said station personnel were relieved to hear that Nolan’s injuries were survivable.

A second person aboard the plane was identified by Saavedra as Nolan’s 18-year-old nephew, who is a flight student. He, too, was injured, but is expected to recover. He was not identified.

Both Nolan, a longtime Corona resident, and his nephew were taken to a hospital for treatment, the dispatch center said.

The crash of the plane, identified by FAA spokesman Allen Kenitzer as a Cessna 182P, was reported at 6:18 p.m., the Corona police/fire dispatch center confirmed. The crash happened at Lincoln Avenue and River Road, about 1½ miles east of the airport.

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