Friday, October 21, 2016

Zenith CH-750, N8681: Accident occurred October 20, 2016 in Morristown, Rice County, Minnesota

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N8681

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Minneapolis FSDO-15

NTSB Identification: CEN17LA021
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, October 20, 2016 in Morristown, MN
Aircraft: ZENITH CH-750, registration: N8681
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.

October 20, 2016, about 1350 central daylight time (CDT), the pilot of a Zenith CH-750, N8681, made a forced landing in a field 3 miles northwest of Morristown, Minnesota, after the engine lost power. The pilot, the sole occupant on board, was seriously injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. 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. Visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan had been filed. The local flight originated from a private airstrip in Morristown about 1340.

The following is based on two interviews between Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors and the pilot. The pilot said he had fueled the airplane that morning with 82-octane automotive fuel that he had recently purchased from a service station. He started the engine and allowed it to warm up but had to shut the engine down when he was called away. He returned about an hour later, started the engine, and took off. When he reached an altitude of about 100 feet AGL, the engine lost power. He turned the electric fuel pump on. The engine restarted momentarily but failed to keep running. He did not remember if he turned the fuel selector valve to the opposite tank. After maneuvering to avoid cattle and a tree, the airplane touched down on its main landing gear. Due to the steepness of the hill and the grass, the airplane came to an abrupt halt. Examination of the airplane revealed the nose gear had collapsed, the fuselage was buckled, and the engine was knocked askew to the right. The left wing had separated from the fuselage and bore leading edge crushing. When asked what he thought may have happened, the pilot said he felt it was a vapor lock due to the time between the first and second engine starts and takeoff. He also stated that the engine had a safety feature that prevented it from starting if the throttle was out of the idle position. He felt that he could have gotten the engine running if he had brought the throttle back to idle but he failed to do so during the emergency.

On October 28, 2016, the airplane and engine were examined at Wentworth Aircraft in Lakeville, Minnesota, under the auspices of a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector. Recovered fuel was yellow in color and had the aroma of "aged" automobile fuel. The top spark plugs were removed and examined. They appeared old and corroded at the electrode ends. The electrode gaps were not consistent. The number 3 plug appeared had a substantial gap, and the number 1 plug had a narrow gap. These were the only mechanical anomalies noted. It was also determined the airplane did not have a fuel vapor line installed.

A Rotax Aircraft Engines flight safety representative verified a vapor lock was a possibility, especially since the owner had not installed a fuel vapor return line and old automotive fuel was found in the fuel system. He stated that the condition and corrosion of the spark plugs and the spacing of the electrode gaps could also affect engine performance. He also stated the engine did not have a safety device installed that would prevent it from starting when the throttle was in other than the idle position.

Examination of the maintenance records revealed the pilot had complied with Service Bulletin SB-912-053-UL on May 24, 2007, mandating the replacement of the fuel pump. However, there was no record that he had complied with SB-912-063-UL that mandated replacing the 5-year life-limit fuel pump.

NTSB Identification: CEN17LA021
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, October 20, 2016 in Morristown, MN
Aircraft: ZENITH CH-750, registration: N8681
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 20, 2016, about 1350 central daylight time (CDT), the pilot of a Zenith CH-750, N8681, made a forced landing in a field 3 miles northwest of Morristown, Minnesota, after the engine lost power. The pilot, the sole occupant on board, was seriously injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. 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. Visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan had been filed. The local flight originated from a private airstrip in Morristown about 1340.

On October 28, 2016, the airplane and engine were examined at Wentworth Aircraft in Lakeville, Minnesota, under the auspices of a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector. According to his report, fuel was yellow in color and had the aroma of "aged" automobile fuel. The top spark plugs were removed and examined. They exhibited corrosion at the electrode ends, and the electrode gaps were inconsistent in spacing. These were the only mechanical anomalies noted.









(UPDATE 12:30 p.m. Oct 21: This story has been updated with additional information after speaking with Rice County Sheriff Troy Dunn, a representative from the FAA and Rochester St. Mary's Hospital.)

Delbert Voegele, 70, of Morristown, is said to be in "serious, but stable" condition on Friday afternoon at Rochester St. Mary's Hospital according to Rice County Sheriff, Troy Dunn. 

Dunn also noted that Voegele sustained head and upper body injuries during the crash that occurred Thursday afternoon. 

A representative from Rochester St. Mary's Hospital described Voegele's condition as "fair." 

Elizabeth Cory, who works in external communications and public affairs for the FAA, confirmed that the FAA is investigating the crash of a Zenith CH 750 aircraft in a field near Morristown. 

Cory also noted that FAA investigations can take several weeks, even months to complete.

(Story as originally published on Oct. 20)

A 70-year-old man was airlifted to a Rochester hospital Thursday afternoon after the plane he was flying crashed in a pasture.

The crash, which was reported just before 2 p.m., was a result of mechanical issues, according to the Rice County Sheriff’s Office, which along with Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the crash.

The pilot, who was the lone occupant of the plane, was identified as Delbert F. Voegele, of Morristown. Voegele was found outside of the single-engine experimental plane, which he owned, as emergency responders arrived at 22274 Jackson Ave.

Rice County Sheriff Troy Dunn said Thursday evening that had it not been for Voegele wearing his seat belt, it could have been worse.

After crashing, Dunn said Voegele was able to crawl out of the plane, and witnesses were able to carry him away from the plane, which was leaking fuel, but not on fire.

As the Morristown Fire Department worked to contain the leaking fuel, Voegele was being treated and was eventually airlifted to Rochester St. Mary’s Hospital. Assisting the fire department were Rice County deputies, the Morristown Police Department and North Ambulance.

A spokesperson with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, after checking with St. Mary’s, said there was no information she could provide related to the patient’s condition.

Dunn classified the injuries as serious, but added that Voegele was stable.

According to the sheriff’s office media release issued after the incident, the plane had just taken off from the property when it encountered mechanical issues.

Dunn said it’s not entirely clear how long the plane had been airborne, as the field in which Voegele crashed was north of his own property.

That will all be part of the investigation. As of 5 p.m. Thursday, FAA officials could be seen examining the aircraft at the site. Dunn said it’s general protocol to call the FAA anytime an aircraft crashes.

A message left with the FAA public affairs office seeking additional information regarding the aircraft was not immediately returned.

Source:   http://www.southernminn.com

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