Thursday, December 04, 2014

Cessna 210-5(205), Skydive Sussex, N8296Z: Incident occurred December 04, 2014 near Sussex Airport (KFWN), New Jersey

WANTAGE — Recently published footage from a helmet camera captured a small airplane's crash last December from a skydiver's point of view.

That footage, which contains explicit language, was uploaded to YouTube Friday by Kurt ImpactSN — one of the skydivers who was inside the plane when it crashed on Dec. 4, 2014.

"My friends and I are all experienced licensed skydivers," he said in the video caption. "We asked one of our friends to take us up in his Cessna to jump. After taking off we encountered engine issues and were forced into a muddy field. Landing gear ripped off after hitting a ditch/mud and the plane flipped over nose first. Pilot did a good job handling a bad situation."

The skydiver, who asked to be identified only as Kurt, told NJ Advance Media his group knew something was wrong with the plane pretty quickly.

"There wasn't much to think about at the time because there wasn't anything we could do," he said. "We just had to wait and see what happens."

After it crashed, he said, the only thing they were thinking about was getting out of the plane in case it caught on fire.

"The pilot did an awesome job considering the field he had to put it into," he added.

As reported by New Jersey Herald, only minor injuries were sustained by those on-board. Richard Winstock, one of the owners of Skydive Sussex, was forced to make an "off-field" landing in a muddy field near Route 639 and Route 565 due to engine trouble, the newspaper reported at the time.

Curt Kellinger, who also owns Skydive Sussex, told NJ Advance Media the National Transportation Safety Board — along with Cessna and Continental Engines — did a complete inspection of the aircraft and its engine after the crash.

"It's something that's not really common the way this thing quit," Kellinger said of the engine failure.

The airplane was inspected less than two months before the crash — equivalent to 13 engine operating hours — but "it is likely that maintenance personnel did not adequately inspect" part of the engine, according to the NTSB's report.

"We don't spare a dime when it comes to maintenance," Kellinger said. "We're in these planes all the time. They're our offices. This was an internal part of the engine that a normal pilot would never see. It had nothing to do with anything that we had done."

According to the NTSB report, an "examination revealed that both of the No. 2 cylinder intake valve springs were fractured, and visible rust was observed on the surfaces of the springs. The springs showed evidence of fatigue fractures that had originated from rust pits on the fracture surfaces. After the valve springs were replaced, the engine was capable of operating normally at full power. "

The probable cause of the crash was "maintenance personnel's inadequate inspection of the No. 2 cylinder valve area during the most recent annual inspection, which resulted in the in-flight failure of the intake valve springs due to rust on the spring surfaces and subsequent fatigue cracking," according to the NTSB's report.

Kellinger complimented Winstock's handling of a fully loaded plane.

"It was the safest thing to do with everyone on board," Kellinger said of Winstock's landing in the muddy field. "He did a very good job of putting the plane down without anyone getting hurt. There's not a lot of guys who could do that."

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NTSB Identification: ERA15LA071
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, December 04, 2014 in Sussex, NJ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/19/2015
Aircraft: CESSNA 210 5(205), registration: N8296Z
Injuries: 1 Minor, 5 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot reported that, shortly after the skydiving flight departed, the engine experienced a “mechanical failure” and that he then executed a forced landing in a farm field south of the airport. The airplane nosed over in the mud, which resulted in structural damage to the airframe. 

During a postaccident test run of the engine on the airframe, lower-than-normal exhaust gas temperature indications were observed on the engine’s left-side (Nos. 2, 4, and 6) cylinders. Excessive soot and smoke were also observed on the engine’s left side. During a subsequent test run, the engine initially did not achieve full power. Further examination revealed that both of the No. 2 cylinder intake valve springs were fractured, and visible rust was observed on the surfaces of the springs. The springs showed evidence of fatigue fractures that had originated from rust pits on the fracture surfaces. After the valve springs were replaced, the engine was capable of operating normally at full power.

An annual inspection was completed on the engine less than 2 months (13 engine operating hours) before the accident. As part of the annual inspection, the engine manufacturer’s operating manual required the removal of the cylinder rocker covers and inspection of the valve area for breakage and proper lubrication. It is likely that maintenance personnel did not adequately inspect the No. 2 cylinder valve area during the annual inspection, which allowed the rust to go undetected and resulted in the in-flight failure of the No. 2 cylinder valve springs.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
Maintenance personnel’s inadequate inspection of the No. 2 cylinder valve area during the most recent annual inspection, which resulted in the in-flight failure of the intake valve springs due to rust on the spring surfaces and subsequent fatigue cracking.

On December 4, 2014, about 1100 eastern standard time (EST), a Cessna 205, N8296Z, was force landed in a farm field following a total loss of engine power during the initial climb from Sussex Airport, Sussex, New Jersey (FWN). The commercial pilot had minor injuries and five passengers were not injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to Markelwin Aviation LLC and was operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a skydiving flight. Day, visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

The pilot reported the following. About 1,200 to 1,300 feet above mean sea level, or about 800 to 900 feet above the ground, during the initial climb, a "mechanical failure" of the engine occurred. Due to the low altitude, he force landed the airplane in a muddy farm field, south of the airport. The airplane's nose gear struck a ditch and the airplane nosed over before coming to a stop. The pilot and passengers exited the airplane without further incident.

An inspector with the Federal Aviation Administration responded to the accident site and examined the wreckage. The aft fuselage and empennage exhibited structural damage from impact forces. The propeller was bent aft and the engine remained attached at the firewall. The engine turned freely when the propeller was rotated manually.

On December, 17, 2014, the engine was test run on the airframe, which was equipped with a digital engine monitor, displaying EGT for each cylinder. Due to vibration as a result of impact damage, the engine was not run higher than 1,700 rpm. During the run, the left side cylinders (numbers 2, 4, and 6) experienced a drop in EGT while the right side of the engine ran within the normal range. Black exhaust smoke was observed from the left side engine exhaust manifold. After the test run, the fuel nozzles for the left side of the engine were observed to be clogged with a black substance and the spark plugs were soot-covered. The fuel manifold valve was opened and no anomalies or obstructions were observed. Additionally, each spark plug lead produced spark when the propeller was rotated by hand. The fuel nozzles and spark plugs were then cleaned and the engine was test run again, with the same result of the left side exhibiting significantly less EGT verses the right side (200 degrees F versus 1,000 degrees F) after about 1 minute of operation. Prior to the EGT drop, a magneto check was performed at 1,700 rpm with no anomalies noted. After the second test run, the air intake and exhaust were inspected and observed to be free of obstructions. Some oil was noted inside the number 2 cylinder.

The engine was shipped to the manufacturer's facility for further examination. After an initial inspection, the engine was prepared for a run in the test cell. Once installed, the engine started on the first attempt without hesitation. The engine speed was brought to 1,000 rpm to warm up the engine to normal operating temperatures. The engine was run at 1,200 rpm for five minutes to stabilize. The engine throttle was advanced to 1,600 rpm, 2,100 rpm, and 2,450 rpm and held for five minutes at each rpm setting to stabilize. The engine throttle was then advanced to the full open position and the engine began to "stumble" and lose power.

Investigators then began troubleshooting the fuel system. Subsequent engine runs would result in the engine only being capable of attaining 1,800 rpm. Further troubleshooting revealed both number 2 cylinder intake valve springs were broken. Visible rust was observed on the surfaces of the springs. The broken valve springs were replaced and the engine was run again. After replacing the valve springs, the engine was capable of operating normally at full power. The engine throttle was rapidly advanced from idle to full throttle six times, where it performed normally without any hesitation, stumbling or interruption in power. No further anomalies noted that would have prevented normal operation or production of rated horsepower.

The fractured inner and outer intake valve springs from the number 2 cylinder were subsequently examined by investigators. Both springs showed fatigue fractures originating from rust pits on the surfaces.

A review of the engine maintenance logbooks revealed that a 100 hour/annual inspection was completed on October 14, 2014, at 7,857.8 hours tachometer time. About 13 hours of operating time had accrued since the last inspection of October 14. About 1,501 hours had accumulated on the engine since its last major overhaul. According to the engine manufacturer's operating manual, under the 100-hour inspection procedures, it states, "Remove valve rocker covers, and inspect visible parts of the valve mechanism for breakage and lack of lubrication. All parts should be covered with oil."

WANTAGE — A Cessna 210-5 (205) with a pilot and five skydivers aboard flipped in a field near the Sussex Airport after a forced off-field landing December 04, 2014. 

Forty-six-year-old Richard Winstock, the pilot of the plane and co-owner of Skydive Sussex, confirmed that the plane was boarded with passengers who were going to skydive. Winstock is also the national director of the U.S. Parachute Association.

Classified by New Jersey State Police as an “airplane incident,” the emergency landing occurred Thursday around 11 a.m. near Routes 639 and 565 in Wantage.

The passengers on board were Ryan Leak, 41, of Paterson; Caig Vanetten, 48, of Saugerties, N.Y.; Matthew Vidusek, 26, of Hampshire, Ill.; Chris Delpozzo, 28, of Troy; and Kurt Steinbruch, 25, of Wyckoff, according to state police.

New Jersey State Trooper Alina Spies said the state police received the call around 10:58 a.m.

Winstock said that engine troubles resulted in the forced landing.

“Everyone's fine,” he said.

He added that the plane landed on its three wheels, but the muddy field caused the aircraft to flip while it was slowing down.

State troopers at the scene reported some minor injuries that were being assessed by the Wantage Emergency Squad.

Spies said the six men onboard the aircraft declined any further medical attention.

The matter has been handed over to the Federal Aviation Administration, she said Thursday afternoon.

According to the FAA registry, the plane is a 1963 Cessna 210-5(205). The status of the aircraft is listed as “in question,” and the registration was pending.

According to, the aircraft model contains six seats and can hold a maximum weight of 3,300 pounds.

A spokesperson with the FAA said that the current status listing and registration of the plane is due to the aircraft recently being sold and re-registered. It is quite common, the spokesperson said.

“A Cessna 210 made a forced landing in a field south of Sussex, New Jersey at approximately 10:50 a.m.,” a statement from the FAA reads. “The pilot reported a problem with the aircraft's engine shortly after it took off from Sussex Airport. The FAA will investigate.”

In March, Winstock broke a leg when he misjudged a skydive landing, colliding with fellow skydiver Tyfani Detky, of Stockholm, on the ground. Detky was knocked unconscious, and the two were transported and

treated at Morristown Medical Center.

At the time, Winstock said that it was his first accident in 25 years of skydiving. He has made more than 14,000 jumps.

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