Sunday, October 19, 2014

Lancair Legacy, N550AC: Accident occurred October 18, 2014 in Livingston, Texas

NTSB Identification: CEN15LA018
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, October 18, 2014 in Livingston, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/22/2015
Aircraft: VIGUIE G/VIGUIE M LANCAIR LEGACY, registration: N550AC
Injuries: 1 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 reported that he was returning from an air race competition and that, about 15 minutes into the flight, he heard a “thump” and thought the airplane had struck a bird. The pilot then heard a second “thump” along with a “rattle and vibration,” so he found a place to make a forced landing. While preparing to land, he heard an “explosion” and then saw flames by his left foot and black smoke fill the cockpit. The pilot made a forced landing to a field and exited the airplane before it was destroyed by fire.

Postaccident examination of the engine revealed that the No. 3 cylinder’s exhaust rocker cover was present but that it was only installed on the cylinder by one screw. The other four screws were missing. The No. 3 cylinder’s intake rocker cover and aft rocker arm bolt were missing. The forward rocker arm bolt was installed but loose, and visible rubbing was observed on the boss where the missing bolt was supposed to be installed. According to the engine manufacturer, if a rocker cover is not installed, the engine will port out most of its oil is several minutes. Therefore, the missing rocker cover likely resulted in the engine losing a significant amount of oil during the flight, which led to a catastrophic and uncontained engine failure. It is also likely that, when the crankcase was breached, the fuel lines and the electronic fuel transducer were compromised, which resulted in the subsequent in-flight fire. The No. 3 cylinder intake rocker cover was not located at the accident site, and the pilot reported that he did not know why the rocker cover and aft rocker arm bolt were not installed or why the exhaust rocker cover was only partially installed. He said that the engine performed great during the air race and that he did not perform engine maintenance after the race. 

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
A catastrophic and uncontained engine failure due to oil starvation. Contributing to the accident was the missing No. 3 cylinder intake rocker cover for reasons that could not be determined based on the available evidence.

On October 18, 2014, about 1815 central daylight time, N550AC, an experimental-home built Viguie Lancair Legacy, was destroyed by post-impact fire after the pilot made a forced landing to a field near Livingston, Texas. The air transport pilot sustained serious injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot. A visual flight rules flight plan was filed for the flight that departed Jasper County Airport (JAS), Jasper, Texas, about 1815 and was destined for a private airstrip in Buchanan Dam, Texas. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight conducted under the provision of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. 

A witness was standing out in his pasture when he first heard and saw the airplane. He said the engine was running rough and there were flames under the engine. The airplane made a descending turn and prepared to land in a pasture across the road. As the witness responded to help the pilot, he heard a "loud crunch" and saw a "fireball." When he got to the field, the pilot was walking toward him.

The pilot stated he was returning from an air race competition and had just leveled off at 8,500 feet when he heard a "thump", about 15 minutes into the flight. The pilot thought he struck a bird and told air traffic control that he needed to land. The pilot then heard a second thump along with a "rattle and vibration" and immediately found a place to make a forced landing. While preparing to land, there was a third "explosion." The pilot said that this was when he saw a fire near his left foot and black smoke started to fill up the cockpit. The pilot declared an emergency, secured the engine, unlatched the canopy, and made a forced landing to a field. He said the landing was hard and the instrument panel flexed downward and trapped his feet. Once the airplane came to a stop, he realized his shirt was on fire as he struggled to free his legs. The pilot was finally able to exit the burning wreckage and rolled on the ground to put the flames out. He then got up and was met by the witness, who stayed with him until help arrived.

An inspector with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) performed an on-scene examination of the airplane. The inspector stated that the airplane landed hard then slid for several hundred feet before it came to rest and was consumed by fire. The propeller and the engine cowling separated from the airplane. The inspector also stated that when he looked at the engine, the #3 cylinder's intake rocker-cover and the aft bolt for the rocker- arm were missing. The rocker-cover for the #3 exhaust valve was attached to the engine by one screw. The inspector said he looked for the #3 cylinder's intake rocker-cover, but was unable to find it at the accident site.

According to a representative of the company that recovered the airplane and engine, they were aware of the missing rocker-cover. They had searched for the cover but it was never found.

The engine was examined on November 14, 2014, under the supervision of the National Transportation Safety Board Investigator-in-Charge (NTSB IIC). Also present for the examination was a representative of Continental Motors Incorporated and Lancair. The examination revealed that the engine sustained fire and impact damage, with the most extensive fire damage to the top and aft-left side. The interior section of the composite engine cowling exhibited oil splatter and fire damage. The bottom left side of the cowling was consumed by fire.

The crankshaft could not be rotated due to fire and impact damage and there were two large holes in both sections of the crankcase above the #2, #3, and #4 cylinders. The #3 cylinder intake rocker-cover and the aft bolt for the rocker-arm were missing. The forward bolt was in place and loose. Rubbing damage was visible on the boss where the bolt was missing. The #3 cylinder exhaust rocker-cover was not damaged and was only attached to the engine by its lower aft screw. The other four screws were missing. The rocker covers for the remaining cylinders were not damaged and were tightly secured to the engine.

The engine was equipped with fuel metering unit and fuel manifold. The fuel metering unit sustained extensive heat damage and was partially melted. The output line for the metering unit was separated from impact and the throttle was in the "idle" position and the mixture was in the "cut-off" position.

The fuel manifold was still installed on the top of the engine but was fire damaged. The unit was disassembled and the spring was in place, but the rubber diaphragm was destroyed from heat damage. The plunger could not be removed due to heat damage.

The fuel nozzles sustained heat damage and were all blocked except for the #5 nozzle, which was partially blocked.

The engine had an electronic Floscan fuel transducer installed in the fuel line between the fuel pump and metering unit. The transducer was installed over the top of the engine and sustained extensive heat damage and melting.

The engine was equipped with an electronic ignition system, which sustained extensive heat damage.

When the engine was disassembled, the #2, #3, and #4 connecting rods were found separated from their respective journals on the crankshaft. The oil sump sustained fire and impact damage and contained numerous metal pieces and particles. This was also true for the oil filter. The #1, #2, and #3 main oil journals were dry and heat discolored, consistent with oil starvation. The #2 and #4 pistons were stuck in their respective cylinder due to heat and impact damage. The #3 piston sustained heavy fire/impact damage and most of the skirt was broken away. The #1 cylinder could not be removed. The #5 and #6 were removed from their respective cylinder and exhibited light deposits on the piston heads.

The pilot said he did not know how or why the #3 cylinder intake rocker-cover and aft rocker-arm bolt were not installed and did not have an explanation as to why the exhaust rocker-cover was partially installed. He said the engine ran great during the air race and he did not remove the cowling and perform engine work after the race. 

The pilot stated the logbooks were in the airplane at the time of the accident. However, the last condition inspection on the engine was conducted on August 27, 2014, at a total engine time of 646.8 hours.

According to Continental Motors, it would have taken several minutes for the engine to port most of its oil out without the rocker cover installed.


NTSB Identification: CEN15LA018  
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, October 18, 2014 in Livingston, TX
Aircraft: VIGUIE G/VIGUIE M LANCAIR LEGACY, registration: N550AC
Injuries: 1 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. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On October 18, 2014, about 1830 central daylight time, N550AC, an experimental-home built Viguie Lancair Legacy, was destroyed by post-impact fire after the pilot reported smoke in the cockpit and made a forced landing to a field near Livingston, Texas. The air transport pilot sustained serious injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot. A visual flight rules flight plan was filed for the flight that departed Jasper County Airport (JAS), Jasper, Texas, about 1800. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight conducted under the provision of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91.

The airplane was recovered and taken to a secure facility for further examination.

FAA Flight Standards District Office:   FAA Houston FSDO-09


http://sportairrace.org

http://registry.faa.gov/N550AC


At around 5:45 pm on October 18, 2014, a Lancair Legacy plane crashed in the 5966 block of FM-942 West, on private property. 

According to a witness, the Lancair Legacy was on fire, circled the R&R Ranch and made a crash landing sliding onto some open terrain.

The witness stated that the pilot, Richard Allen Crawford, 64, of Buchanan Dam, Texas crawled from the plane on fire and rolled on the ground to extinguish the flames.  He then rose to his feet and began to yell for help.

Americare Ambulance Service was dispatched to the scene along with the Livingston Volunteer Fire Department, Deputies from the Polk County Sheriff's Office, Game Warden David Johnson, and Trooper Barett Duren with the Texas Highway Patrol.

Crawford was treated at the scene and a PHi Air Medical helicopter landed at R&R Ranch near the crash scene.

Crawford was flown to Hermann Hospital in Houston in extremely critical condition.

Trooper Barett  Duren conducted a preliminary investigation.

The Federal Aviation Administration will take over the investigation as representatives are expected early in the morning (October 19).


  
NTSB Identification: CEN10LA008

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, October 03, 2009 in San Saba, TX
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/19/2010
Aircraft: CRAWFORD ALAN R GLASAIR II, registration: N550AC
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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

While approaching the initial approach fix (IAF), in instrument conditions and heavy rain, the airplane's engine experienced a partial loss of power. Unable to maintain altitude, the pilot declared an emergency and established a descent at best glide speed. Once below the 1,000-foot ceiling, the pilot secured the engine and performed an emergency landing on rolling terrain among mesquite trees and cacti. The airplane came to rest on its left side with the firewall and engine separated from the fuselage. The pilot was able to exit the airplane unassisted. Following the accident, the airplane was recovered to a secure hangar and examined. No preimpact anomalies were identified during the examination that contributed to the partial loss of engine power.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
A partial loss of engine power for undetermined reasons.

On October 3, 2009, about 1515 central daylight time, a single engine Crawford Alan R Glasair II amateur built airplane, N550AC, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a partial loss of engine power near San Saba, Texas. The pilot, the sole occupant, sustained minor injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules flight plan (IFR) was filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The cross country flight originated from the Bridgeport Municipal Airport (XBP), Bridgeport, Texas, at 1430, and was en route to the Llano Municipal Airport (AQO), Llano, Texas.

According to the pilot, both of the airplane’s main fuel tanks were "topped off" prior to departure. Approximately 45 minutes into the flight and while approaching the AQO initial approach fix (IAF), in instrument conditions and heavy rain, the airplane's engine started to run "extremely rough." Unable to maintain altitude, the pilot declared an emergency and established a descent at best glide speed. Once below the 1,000 foot ceiling the pilot "secured" the engine and performed an emergency landing on rolling terrain among mesquite trees and cacti. The airplane came to rest on its left side with the firewall and engine separated from the fuselage. The pilot was able to exit the airplane unassisted.

Following the accident the airplane was recovered to a secure hangar and the engine placed on an engine stand for examination by an airframe and powerplant (A&P) certificated mechanic. According to the airplane's records, the Superior XP-IO-360 four cylinder engine had accumulated approximately 462 hours since new and around 10 hours since its last conditional inspection.

The valve covers were removed and continuity was established throughout the engine. Both magnetos produced spark when turned. Compression was established in two of the four cylinders. An examination of the two leaking cylinders revealed tree debris holding the valves in an open position. The fuel screen was found unobstructed. The oil filter was cut opened and no abnormalities were found.

The reason for the reported partial loss of engine power was not determined.



Picture taken just before Crawford flew out from Jasper. He was enroute to Lake Buchanan Municipal airport.


Richard Allen Crawford (right) in a picture taken just before his fateful flight from Jasper. 


 Firemen from Livingston put out the flames.



 


 A PHi Air Medical Helicopter was landed at the R&R Ranch off FM-942 (Deputy Terri Mayer at right).


 Crawford was transferred to care of PHi Air Medical.


Crawford was flown to Hermann Hospital in Houston in extremely critical condition.

 




 Trooper Barett Duren conducted a preliminary investigation.


 Dark areas on the ground show the path of Crawford's pane when he slid it in to the R&R Ranch while the plane was on fire.


  


























A 64 year old former resident of Jasper is undergoing treatment for the injuries he received on Saturday evening after the aircraft he was piloting crashed and burned north of Livingston.

Alan Richard Crawford, who lives at Lake Buchannan, northwest of Austin, had attended an air race in Jasper and was headed home in his 2008 Lancair Legacy single engine aircraft, when he radioed fellow pilots shortly after his departure from Jasper County Bell Field and told them that his aircraft was on fire and he was going down.

Pilots from Jasper immediately jumped in airplanes and flew to Crawford’s last known location and later reported that his aircraft could be seen burning on Farm to Market Road 942, about 10 miles north of Livingston.

Crawford was treated at the scene by emergency medical technicians and then transported to the Shriner’s Burn Center in Houston, where he was at last word still undergoing treatment for severe burns.

Crawford, who had participated in the Sport Aviation Racing League Ghost Run held in Jasper, had just prior to his departure, received the top award for his achievement in the aircraft, which sometimes exceeded 275 miles per hour.

It is not known what happened to the airplane and investigators are expected to soon be at the scene of the crash in an attempt to find out what caused the incident.

Crawford who has been a pilot since his early teens is a commercial airline pilot.

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