Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Aeronca 7AC Champion, N84580: Fatal accident occurred March 20, 2016 in Ellsworth, Nebraska

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Analysis 

The private pilot departed for a local personal flight on a winter day with an outside air temperature of about 6°C. About 1 hour after takeoff, the pilot's brother saw the airplane maneuvering near his home, which was in a rural area about 31 miles from the departure airport. The airplane did not return to the departure airport, and the accident site was located in an open field 2 days later, about 4 miles from the pilot's brother's home. Examination of the accident site revealed wreckage and impact signatures consistent with the pilot losing control of the airplane. Examination of the engine's exhaust muffler revealed cracks in several locations, and the muffler's shroud contained a layer of exhaust residue. Six months before the accident, the pilot and the mechanic who had previously performed an annual inspection on the airplane became aware of a crack in the muffler near a weld that the pilot had performed. The pilot had purchased a replacement muffler, but it was not installed before the accident. A carbon monoxide detector was not on board the airplane.

Toxicology testing of the pilot's blood revealed a carbon monoxide level of 40%, which was more than enough to severely impair the pilot. The carbon monoxide likely entered the airplane's cabin because of the cracked engine exhaust muffler. The toxicology testing also revealed several non-impairing medications and two potentially impairing medications (temazepam and buspirone). According to the pilot's medical records, he was being treated for anxiety with temazepam and buspirone, and he may have been fatigued from insufficiently treated sleep disorders (insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea). However, it could not be determined whether the pilot's anxiety, the medications used to treat it, or fatigue contributed to his poor judgment in flying the airplane with known cracks in the exhaust muffler. 

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's impairment due to carbon monoxide poisoning from a known cracked engine exhaust muffler, which resulted in a loss of aircraft control. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's decision to continue flying the airplane without properly repairing the exhaust muffler. 

Findings

Aircraft
Engine exhaust - Incorrect service/maintenance (Cause)
Engine exhaust - Damaged/degraded (Cause)

Personnel issues
Carbon monoxide - Pilot (Cause)
Decision making/judgment - Pilot (Factor)

Ben F. Andrick, Jr., 68, passed away March 20, 2016 flying his Aeronca 7AC Champion. Flying was his true passion in life.


The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Lincoln, Nebraska
Lycoming Engines; Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

http://registry.faa.gov/N84580

Location: Ellsworth, NE
Accident Number: CEN16FA130
Date & Time: 03/20/2016, 1110 MDT
Registration: N84580
Aircraft: AERONCA 7AC
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

On March 20, 2016, about 1110 mountain daylight time, an Aeronca 7AC airplane, N84580, impacted terrain near Ellsworth, Nebraska. The private pilot sustained fatal injuries, and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 as a personal flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local flight, which departed without a flight plan from Alliance Municipal Airport (AIA), Alliance, Nebraska.

At 1000, an airport surveillance camera captured the airplane departing from AIA. About 1100, the pilot's brother observed the airplane maneuvering near his home, which was in a rural area about 31 miles northeast of AIA. After concerned family members reported the pilot missing, the accident site was subsequently located on March 22, 2016, about 4 miles southwest of the pilot's brother's home.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 68, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 07/07/2005
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 02/26/2016
Flight Time: (Estimated) 355 hours (Total, all aircraft), 39 hours (Total, this make and model), 294 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 5 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

The pilot, age 68, held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. The pilot was last issued a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third-class medical certificate on July 7, 2005. The pilot held a valid driver's license.

The Aeronca 7AC is defined by the FAA as a light sport aircraft (LSA). Pilots flying LSAs are only required to possess a valid driver's license and comply with 14 CFR 61.53(b), which states that no person may act "as pilot in command, or in any other capacity as a required pilot flight crewmember, while that person knows or has reason to know of any medical condition that would make the person unable to operate the aircraft in a safe manner."

A review of the pilot's logbook showed that the pilot had accumulated 355 flight hours of which 3 flight hours were in the last 30 days. The pilot's most recent flight review was completed on February 22, 2016. 



Photo courtesy Andrick Family


Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: AERONCA
Registration: N84580
Model/Series: 7AC
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1946
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 7AC-3289
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 07/25/2015, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1220 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 7 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 1855 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C91  installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-235-C1
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 115 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

The airplane, serial number 7AC-3289, was manufactured in 1946 and registered to the pilot on September 10, 2013. It was a two-place, tandem, high-wing monoplane equipped with a Lycoming O-235-C1 engine, rated at 115 horsepower at 2,600 rpm.

Review of the maintenance records showed that the most recent annual inspection was completed on July 25, 2015, at a total time of 1,848.2 hours. At the time of the accident, the airplane had accumulated 7 hours since the annual inspection. Although the airplane held a standard airworthiness certificate, it met the definition of an LSA as contained in 14 CFR Part 1.1.

The mechanic who performed the last annual inspection stated that he and the pilot became aware of an engine exhaust muffler crack in September 2015. The crack was located near a weld that the pilot had performed. The pilot had intended to replace the muffler; a new muffler was in the pilot's hangar when the accident occurred. 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KAIA, 3929 ft msl
Observation Time: 1053 MDT
Distance from Accident Site: 27 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 255°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: 6°C / -12°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Light and Variable, Variable
Visibility (RVR): 
Altimeter Setting: 30.23 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV): 
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: ALLIANCE, NE (AIA)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: ALLIANCE, NE (AIA)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1000 MDT
Type of Airspace: Class G 

At 1053, the weather observation station at AIA, located about 27 miles southwest of the accident site, reported the following conditions: wind variable at 6 knots, 10 miles visibility, clear skies, temperature 6°C, dew point minus 12°C, and an altimeter setting of 30.23 inches of mercury. 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 42.173056, -102.209167 (est) 

The aircraft impacted rolling terrain on a southeasterly heading. The main wreckage came to rest upright on a northerly heading, about 340 ft from the initial impact point. The left and right wings separated from the fuselage with the front and rear wood spars of both wings fractured near the wing roots. Both spars of the right wing were also fractured near the wing tip. The right wing was about 210 ft northwest of the main wreckage, and the left wing was about 5 ft to the right of the main wreckage. The propeller separated from the engine and came to rest about 180 ft northwest of the main wreckage.

The flight control surfaces remained attached to their respective airframe surfaces. The elevator, rudder, and elevator trim tab cables had normal continuity with their respective cockpit controls. The aileron flight control cable was fractured in four locations. The fractures had a broomstraw appearance consistent with overload. Both aileron bellcrank connecting rods were fractured adjacent to the bellcranks, and the fracture surfaces were consistent with overload. No preimpact anomalies were noted with the flight control system.

The engine remained attached to the airframe. The top Champion REM40E spark plugs were removed from the cylinders. All displayed a normal worn condition when compared to the Champion Aviation Service Manual (AV-27). A borescope inspection of the four cylinders was conducted, which revealed no anomalies with the pistons, cylinder barrels, cylinder heads, valves or valve seats. Both magnetos were rotated by hand and produced spark at all leads. The carburetor float bowl was removed with no anomalies noted.

Both propeller blades were significantly twisted and curled aft with chord-wise polishing. The engine and propeller exhibited damage consistent with operation at impact. The cabin heat control was in the "off" position. The left muffler shroud was removed, and the muffler was found rusted and cracked in several locations. The muffler shroud contained a layer of exhaust residue. A carbon monoxide detector was not located in the wreckage.

Medical And Pathological Information

The pilot had reported no chronic medical conditions and no medications during his last FAA medical exam in 2005. However, according to his personal medical records, he had been treated for prostate cancer in 2000 and had intermittently been treated for hypertension. In 2009 and 2011, he underwent a series of interventions (angioplasty and stenting) for severe coronary artery disease. Since 2013, he had been treated for stress, insomnia, and anxiety with two antianxiety medications, temazepam and buspirone; both of these drugs carry warnings about behavior changes. In 2011, he had been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and instructed to use a continuous positive airway pressure machine. A physician's review in 2016 revealed that he was not using his machine to the desired extent (at least 4 hours/night).

As of February 18, 2016, the pilot was taking the following medications that are not generally considered impairing:

aspirin (an antiplatelet drug to decrease the risk of recurrent heart attack),

finasteride and tamsulosin to treat symptoms from his prostate gland (known also as Proscar and Flomax, respectively),

simvastatin (a cholesterol lowering drug also known as Zocor),

metoprolol (a blood pressure medication that also decreases the risk of recurrent heart attacks), and

clopidogrel (an antiplatelet drug used to prevent clots in coronary stents, also known as Plavix).

As previously mentioned, the pilot was also taking the potentially impairing anti-anxiety medications buspirone and temazepam. Finally, the pilot used nitroglycerin as needed for chest pain.

According to the autopsy performed by the Regional West Medical Center, Western Pathology Consultants, P.C., Pathology Departmentin Scottsbluff, Nebraska, the pilot's cause of death was blunt force trauma, and the manner of death was accident. The autopsy also identified coronary artery disease with a 50% stenosis in the proximal left anterior descending artery.

Toxicology testing performed by the FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory identified carbon monoxide (carboxyhemoglobin) at 40% in subclavian blood. In addition, metoprolol, buspirone, and temazepam (0.123 ug/ml) were identified in subclavian blood. These drugs and clopidogrel, diazepam, oxazepam, and ranitidine (a heartburn medication) were identified in urine. The finding of diazepam and oxazepam only in urine and not in blood was consistent with their presence as metabolites of temazepam.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless, colorless, nonirritating gas formed by hydrocarbon combustion. Carbon monoxide binds to hemoglobin with much greater affinity than oxygen, forming carboxyhemoglobin; elevated levels result in impaired oxygen transport and utilization. Nonsmokers may normally have up to 3% carboxyhemoglobin in their blood; heavy smokers may have levels of 10% to 15%. The pilot was not a smoker.

Carboxyhemoglobin levels between 10% and 20% can result in confusion, impaired judgment, and difficulty concentrating. The primary effects of acute carbon monoxide poisoning are on the brain and heart and include headache, arrhythmias, confusion, coma, and death.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

FAA Advisory Circular 91-59A, Inspection and Care of General Aviation Exhaust Systems, emphasizes the safety hazards of poorly maintained exhaust systems and highlights points at which exhaust system failures occur.



NTSB Identification: CEN16FA130
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, March 20, 2016 in Ellsworth, NE
Aircraft: AERONCA 7AC, registration: N84580
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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 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.

On March 20, 2016, about 1110 mountain daylight time, an Aeronca 7AC airplane, N84580, impacted terrain near Ellsworth, Nebraska. The airplane was destroyed and the pilot sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local flight, which departed from the Alliance Municipal Airport (AIA), Alliance, Nebraska without a flight plan.

At 1000, an airport surveillance camera captured the accident airplane depart from AIA. About 1100, the pilot's brother observed the accident airplane maneuvering near his home, which was located in a rural area about 31 miles northeast of AIA. The airplane was subsequently located on March 22, 2016, about 4 miles southwest of this home.

The airplane impacted into rolling terrain on a southeasterly heading. The main wreckage came to rest upright on a northwesterly heading, about 340 feet from the initial impact point. The left and right wings separated from the fuselage, with the front and rear wood spars of both wings fractured near the wing root. The right wing was about 210 feet northwest of the main wreckage and the left wing was about 20 feet to the northwest of the main wreckage. The propeller separated from the engine and came to rest about 180 feet northwest of the main wreckage.

At 1053, the weather observation station at AIA, located about 27 miles southwest of the accident site, reported the following conditions: wind variable at 6 knots, 10 miles visibility, clear skies, temperature 6 degrees C, dew point minus 12 degrees C, altimeter setting 30.23 inches of mercury.
=========

An Alliance man has been confirmed as the single fatality in an airplane accident in Sheridan County.

Sheridan County Attorney Jamian Simmons said autopsy results on Ben Andrick, 68, of Alliance, are still pending, as is the National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation into the wreck.

Andrick went missing March 20 after leaving the Alliance Airport around 8:30 a.m. His family reported him missing when he failed to return, contacting the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and posting information on Facebook. Andrick was flying his own Aeronca fixed wing single-engine two-seater.

The Civil Air Patrol began a search Monday, focusing on an area northeast of Alliance, and continued the efforts Tuesday. The Sheridan County Sheriff’s Office and the Nebraska State Patrol responded to the scene and confirmed it was Andrick’s plane. The wreckage was located seven miles northeast of Ellsworth in Sheridan County, approximately 30 miles from Alliance.

Andrick was a registered nurse at Box Butte General Hospital, according to a Facebook post by the hospital’s CEO Dan Griess.

“The Box Butte General Hospital family is greatly saddened by the loss of our friend and colleague, Ben Andrick. Our prayers are with his family and friends during this most difficult time. Ben will be missed by the entire staff at BBGH, where he had been employed for over 15 years,” Griess posted.

Dozens of comments on the post called Andrick and excellent nurse with a good sense of humor.

Andrick’s was the second fatal airplane crash in the northern Panhandle recently. John Prickett of Double Oak, Texas, crashed near Chadron last October.


http://rapidcityjournal.com

A missing pilot died this week in a plane crash in Sheridan County.

Family members of Ben Andrick, of Alliance, had been posting via social media since March 21, the day after Andrick had flown in a two-seater airplane over Ellsworth, Nebraska. Andrick had last been seen the morning of Sunday, March 20, taking off in good flying weather from the Alliance airport.

Members of the Civil Air Patrol and Nebraska State Patrol reportedly looked for the man and his airplane. Family members also reported that an a member of the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center was able to successfully ping Andrick’s cell phone in attempts to locate him. The man also was reported to have frequently flown in the Alliance area so the searches were focused in Box Butte and Sheridan Counties.

On Tuesday, wreckage was located about 7 miles northeast of Ellsworth. Family members have confirmed on social media that Andrick died in the crash.

The Sheridan County Attorney’s Office and Nebraska State Patrol responded to the location. 

A spokesperson with the Sheridan County Attorney's Office said that no details about the cause of the crash or Andrick's death are known. An autopsy will be performed and the FAA will conduct its own investigation. 

Original article can be found here: http://www.starherald.com

ALLIANCE - The Nebraska Civil Air Patrol has found the wreckage of a small plane in southern Sheridan County  believed to be one missing since Sunday on a flight around the Alliance area. CAP Major Tom Pflug says the search for  Ben Andrick and his small single-engine 2-seat plane was in its second day when a pilot at the Alliance airport report late Tuesday morning that he'd spotted wreckage in a field about 7 miles north Ellsworth.

Major Pflug says his group then flew over the site and notified the Nebraska State Patrol and Sheridan County Sheriff's office, who both responded to the location. Neither has released any information at this time and Pflug said early Tuesday evening he couldn't release anything, either.

Andrick was last seen Sunday morning at 8:30 taking off in perfect flying weather from the Alliance airport. Family members contacted the Alliance police when he didn't return and the police notified the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center.   

Major Pflug says the family told authorities Andrick had a habit of taking a short flight over a ranch northeast of Alliance and returning, so the search was focused in that area. 

The CAP had 3 planes in the air Tuesday morning, using forensic information from Andrick's cell phone to try to track his route and set up grid searches.

Original article can be found here:  http://www.chadrad.com

NTSB Identification: DEN06LA003
The docket is stored in the Docket Management System (DMS). Please contact Records Management Division
Accident occurred Saturday, October 08, 2005 in Berthoud, CO
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/28/2006
Aircraft: Aeronca 7AC, registration: N84580
Injuries: 1 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 Continental C-65 engine had been removed, and the airplane was equipped with a Lycoming O-235-C1 engine, rated at 115 horsepower at 2,600 rpm. According to the pilot, he filled his fuel tanks (13 gallons each wing) and took off. He made four touch-and-go landings at his private airstrip, then flew north "to see the aspens." On the return leg, the engine "sputtered." He enriched the mixture and the engine ran smoothly. Shortly thereafter, the engine sputtered again. The fuel gauges indicated between 1/4 and 1/2 full. He rocked the wings and the engine ran smoothly again. Finally, after flying for 2-1/2 hours, the engine completely lost power. Unable to reach his airstrip, the pilot elected to land on a county road. The airplane struck telephone wires and a steel post alongside the road, tearing off the left wing. The pilot told a sheriff's deputy that he ran out of fuel. According to the salvage crew that retrieved the airplane, they drained 2-1/2 gallons of fuel from the right tank. The pilot said there should have been another 2-1/2 gallons of fuel in the left tank. The engine was later functionally tested to full power.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
the pilot's improper in-flight decision making which resulted in loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion. Contributing factors are the transmission wires and the metal pole.

On October 8, 2005, approximately 1920 mountain daylight time, an Aeronca 7AC, N84580, operated and piloted by a private pilot, was destroyed when it struck telephone lines and impacted terrain following a loss of engine power near Berthoud, Colorado. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The local personal flight was being conducted under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91 without a flight plan. The pilot sustained no injuries. The flight originated from a private airstrip near Berthoud approximately 1700.

The Continental C-65 engine had been removed, and the airplane was equipped with a Lycoming O-235-C1 engine, rated at 115 horsepower at 2,600 rpm. According to the pilot, he filled his fuel tanks (13 gallons each wing) and took off. He made four touch-and-go landings at his airstrip, then flew north to the Laramie, Wyoming, area "to see the aspens." On his return leg as he approached the Red Feathers Lakes area, the engine "sputtered." He enriched the mixture and the engine ran smoothly. As he approached Longmont, Colorado, the engine sputtered again. He said the fuel gauges indicated between 1/4 and 1/2 full. He rocked the wings and the engine ran smoothly again. As he approached Berthoud, the engine lost power. The pilot said he had been aloft for 2-1/2 hours. Unable to reach his airstrip, the pilot elected to land on Road 23E, just south of Road 4 in Larimer County. The airplane struck telephone wires and a steel post alongside the road, tearing off the left wing. The pilot told a Larimer County sheriff's deputy that he ran out of fuel. According to the salvage crew that retrieved the airplane, they drained 2-1/2 gallons of fuel from the right tank. The pilot said there should have been another 2-1/2 gallons of fuel in the left tank.

On November 17, 2005, the engine (s/n 2024-15) was functionally tested at the facilities of Beegles Aircraft Service in Greeley, Colorado. Prior to the test, it was noted that the gascolator was empty. A maximum of 2,200 rpm was achieved, and there was a 75 rpm drop when each magneto was tested. Fuel flowed normally from the forward wing supply line, but would not flow from the aft supply line. Examination disclosed that the aft supply line was pinched inside the fuselage in an area of impact damage.

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