Thursday, January 23, 2014

Cessna 414A Chancellor, N414CJ: Accident occurred January 23, 2014 in Ashland, Missouri

NTSB Identification: CEN14LA120 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, January 23, 2014 in Ashland, MO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 09/24/2014
Aircraft: CESSNA 414A, registration: N414CJ
Injuries: 3 Uninjured.

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 reported that, during the descent to the destination airport, the airplane’s left engine experienced a partial loss of power and that he attempted to troubleshoot the issue. Unable to restore the engine power, he secured the left engine, feathered the propeller, and advised air traffic control of the situation. Shortly after, the right engine experienced a partial loss of power and eventually only produced idle power. Unable to reach the destination airport, the pilot conducted a forced landing to a field. A postaccident examination of the airplane revealed ice buildup in the fuel manifold valves, the fuel strainer bowls, and the fuel strainer screens. The left fuel strainer bowl contained a 1 3/8-inch thick piece of ice. Fuel samples from both of the airplane’s fuel tanks and from the fuel supplier at the airport used to the fuel the airplane earlier in the day were tested, and no water contamination was found; the source of the water contamination could not be determined. It is likely that the loss of engine power resulted from water contamination and subsequent ice buildup in the fuel system.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The in-flight failure of both engines due to water contamination.

On January 23, 2014, about 1430 central standard time, a Cessna 414A airplane, N414CJ, experienced a loss of engine power near Ashland, Missouri. The pilot and two passengers were not injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was registered to and operated by Alelco, Inc., under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a business flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed. The flight originated from the Council Bluffs Municipal Airport (KCBF), Council Bluffs, Iowa, at 1326 and was destined for the Jefferson City Memorial Airport (KJEF), Jefferson City, Missouri. 

The pilot report, at 0700 on the morning of the accident flight the pilot completed a preflight inspection. During the inspection no anomalies were noted and no water was observed in the fuel sumps. The pilot flew from KJEF to KCBF at 6,000 feet mean sea level (msl) where the outside air temperature (OAT) was about negative 11 degrees Celsius (C). No anomalies were noted during the flight. 

While on the ground at KCBF about 1030, the airplane was filled with 74 gallons of 100LL aviation fuel. The OAT at KCBF was negative 4 degrees C. At 1130 the pilot stared both engines and let them run for about 10 minutes to prevent cold soaking. This process was repeated again at 1300. With the absence of another preflight inspection, the pilot and two passengers departed for KJEF about 1330. 

During cruise flight at 15,000 feet msl, where the OAT was negative 19 degrees C, the pilot noticed "a very quick/short miss" in one of the engines but could not identify a specific problem. This happened again during the initial descent. 

During the descent to KJEF, about 7,000 feet msl, the pilot noted that engines got out of sync and the airplane yawed as if an engine had lost power. The left engine then began to lose power so the pilot attempted to troubleshoot the issue. When he was unable to remedy the issue, he secured the left engine, feathered the propeller, and advised air traffic control (ATC) of the situation. Then the right engine began to lose power and eventually would only produce idle power. Unable to maintain altitude and reach the intended airport, the pilot elected to conduct a forced landing into a field. 

A postaccident examination was conducted by the responding Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector and representatives from the engine and airframe manufacturers. The examination revealed substantial damage to the fuselage. The fuel manifold valves on both engines contained pieces of ice. The fuel strainers bowls both contained significant amounts of ice. The ice in the left fuel strainer bowl measured 1 3/8 inches thick. Also, the fuel strainer screen contained ice. The fuel from both fuel tanks was sampled and tested and was negative for water contamination. Fuel samples taken from the fuel supply at KCBF were negative for water contamination.

Engine failure forced a twin-engine prop plane to make an emergency landing in a field west of Ashland on Thursday afternoon.

The Southern Boone County Fire Protection District, Columbia Fire Department and a University Hospital ambulance responded to the scene near routes DD and M at about 2:30 p.m.

The plane, a 1979 Cessna 414A, according to FAA records, landed in a soybean field. A passenger said three passengers were on board the aircraft. No one was injured, said Southern Boone County Fire Protection District Lt. Corey Sapp.

A landing gear wheel could be seen lying about 100 yards from the aircraft, with another wheel about 50 yards from where the aircraft came to a stop.

The plane is registered to Alelco Inc. of New Bloomfield, according to FAA records. The company designs, installs and maintains "Electrical, Cathodic Protection and Instrumentation systems" for the water tank industry, according to its website.

A passenger who didn't want to be named said one of the craft's two engines failed, then the other engine failed.

The plane's flight plan showed it left Council Bluffs, Iowa at 1:26 p.m. on its way to Jefferson City.

A man reached at Alelco said the company didn't want to comment about the incident.

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