Saturday, May 27, 2017

Brandt Sonex, N393SX: Accident occurred July 18, 2016 at Lodi Lakeland Airport (9WN5), Columbia County, Wisconsin

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf


http://registry.faa.gov/N393SX

NTSB Identification: CEN16LA273

14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, July 18, 2016 in Lodi, WI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/23/2017
Aircraft: BRANDT SONEX, registration: N393SX
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.

During a local flight, the pilot of an experimental amateur-built airplane had a partial engine power loss. He said that the engine sounded different but remained running. He turned the airplane back to the airport and noted he was high and fast. He indicated that he bled off airspeed, as he wanted to avoid buildings before landing. He subsequently reduced power and performed a landing with calm wind present. The airplane's nose and left main landing gear collapsed after touchdown, the airplane skidded to the north side of the runway, and exited the runway into a ditch where it sustained the substantial damage. The airplane was powered by an engine that the pilot/builder assembled from a kit. The airplane accumulated 25 hours of flight time at the time of the accident. The kit manufacturer engine assembly and installation manual had specific rocker shaft instructions that included procedures on how to adjust and install rocker arms. An examination revealed that the threaded shaft of a rocker arm swivel pad had separated at a point on the shaft where there was a cross drilled hole. The remaining rocker arms did not exhibit the appearance of arm adjustment in accordance with the kit manufacturer's assembly manual. Detailed examination of the failed valve adjuster showed it separated into two portions approximately mid length in the shank area between the two threaded areas. This location was coincident with a hole drilled crosswise through the shank of the valve adjuster. The fracture surfaces exhibited crack arrest patterns consistent with a fatigue fracture. The origin of the fatigue fracture appears to be coincident with the edge of the cross-drilled hole. Examination of the exemplar valve adjuster and specifically the cross-drilled hole revealed a roughly finished surface with a pronounced burr around the circumference of the hole. A professional materials engineering publication, in part, stated, "The fatigue strength of components can be reduced merely by the presence of a drilled hole; it is further reduced by failure to remove burrs (incurred during drilling) from the hole edges. Fractures originating at drilled holes are common in complex parts containing internal, intersecting machined passages because of the difficulty and expense of providing adequate break-edge radii at such locations. It could not be determined if the failure of the rocker arm was due to the misassembly of the rocker arm assembly and/or the toolmarks left by the manufacturing process.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The separated rocker arm assembly for undetermined reasons, which resulted in the partial loss of engine power and led to the landing gear collapsing during the subsequent forced landing.

On July 18, 2016, about 1915 central daylight time, a Brandt Sonex experimental amateur-built airplane, N393SX, impacted a ditch when it exited runway 9 (1,875 feet by 105 feet, turf) at the Lodi Lakeland Airport (9WN5), near Lodi, Wisconsin, during a forced landing following a partial loss of engine power. The sport pilot was uninjured. The airplane fuselage was substantially damaged during the impact with the ditch. 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 flight, which operated without a flight plan. The local flight originated from 9WN5 at time unknown.

The pilot reported a partial loss of engine power, which occurred northwest of 9WN5. He said that the engine sounded different but remained running. He turned the airplane back to the airport and noted he was high and fast. He indicated that he bled off airspeed, as he wanted to avoid buildings before landing. He subsequently reduced power and performed a landing. The airplane's nose and left main landing gear collapsed after touchdown, the airplane skidded to the north side of the runway, and exited the runway into a ditch where it sustained the substantial damage.

The pilot, age 71, held a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) sport pilot certificate and he reported that he accumulated 180 hours of total flight time.

N393SX was a low-wing, fixed tricycle gear, 2-seat, experimental amateur-built airplane with serial number 393. It was powered by a 70-horsepower AeroVee engine driving a fixed pitch Sensenich propeller. The pilot reported that the airplane had a condition inspection completed on December 4, 2015, and that the airplane accumulated 25 hours of flight time at the time of the accident.

The airplane and engine were sold as kits that the owner assembled. The kit manufacturer engine assembly and installation manual had specific rocker shaft instructions that included procedures on how to adjust and install rocker arms.

At 1953, the recorded weather at the Dane County Regional Airport-Truax Field, near Madison, Wisconsin, was: Wind calm; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition few clouds at 5,500 feet; temperature 27 degrees C; dew point 17 degrees C; altimeter 30.15 inches of mercury.

An FAA inspector examined the wreckage and observed that the threaded shaft of a rocker arm swivel pad on the rocker arm assembly had separated at a point on the shaft where there was a cross drilled hole. The accident engine's remaining rocker arm assemblies did not exhibit the appearance of arm assembly adjustment in accordance with the adjustment directions in the kit manufacturer's assembly manual. The separated rocker arm swivel pad and an exemplar pad from the accident engine were shipped to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Materials Laboratory for detailed examination.

An NTSB Materials Laboratory Engineer examined the items and produced Materials Laboratory Factual Report No. 16-101, which is appended to the docket material associated with this investigation. The report, in part, indicated the failed valve adjuster separated into two portions approximately mid length in the shank area between the two threaded areas. This location was coincident with a hole drilled crosswise through the shank of the valve adjuster. The fracture surfaces exhibited crack arrest patterns consistent with a fatigue fracture. The origin of the fatigue fracture appears to be coincident with the edge of the cross-drilled hole. The ball bearing on the end of the valve adjuster had seized in place and could not be rotated. A measurement of the hardness on a section of the fractured valve adjuster revealed a hardness of 20.2 on the Rockwell C scale.

Examination of the exemplar valve adjuster and specifically the cross-drilled hole revealed a roughly finished surface with a pronounced burr around the circumference of the hole.

ASM International Handbook, Volume 11, Failure Analysis and Prevention, in part, stated:

The fatigue strength of components can be reduced merely by the presence of a drilled hole; it is further reduced by failure to remove burrs (incurred during drilling) from the hole edges. Fractures originating at drilled holes are common in complex parts containing internal, intersecting machined passages because of the difficulty and expense of providing adequate break-edge radii at such locations.

NTSB Identification: CEN16LA273
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, July 18, 2016 in Lodi, WI
Aircraft: BRANDT SONEX, registration: N393SX
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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 July 18, 2016, about 1915 central daylight time, a Brandt Sonex experimental amateur-built airplane, N393SX, impacted a ditch when it exited runway 9 (1,875 feet by 105 feet, turf) at the Lodi Lakeland Airport (9WN5), near Lodi, Wisconsin, during a forced landing following a partial loss of engine power. The sport pilot was uninjured. The airplane fuselage was substantially damaged during the impact with the ditch. 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 flight, which operated without a flight plan. The local flight originated from 9WN5 at the time unknown.

According to preliminary information, the pilot reported a partial engine power loss, which occurred northwest of 9WN5. He said that he had to cut his base short to runway 9 due to buildings that he wanted to avoid in case of total power loss. The wind favored runway 27. However, he did not think he would make it to that runway. The airplane's nose and left main landing gear collapsed after touchdown, the airplane skidded to the north side of the runway, and exited the runway into a ditch where it sustained the substantial damage.

At 1953, the recorded weather at the Dane County Regional Airport-Truax Field, near Madison, Wisconsin, was: Wind calm; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition few clouds at 5,500 feet; temperature 27 degrees C; dew point 17 degrees C; altimeter 30.15 inches of mercury.

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