Sunday, July 16, 2017

Velocity STD RG, N133SV: Accident occurred January 02, 2016 near Rosamond Skypark Airport (L00), Kern County, California


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

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Van Nuys, California 

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

Docket And Docket Items - 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/N133SV

NTSB Identification: WPR16LA047 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, January 02, 2016 in Rosamond, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/06/2017
Aircraft: KEVIN METZLER Velocity STD RG, registration: N133SV
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.

Shortly after departure on the local flight, the private pilot observed that the engine temperature was higher than it had been on the previous day's flight. After reducing power, the engine began to surge, which prompted the pilot to return to the airport. Unable to maintain altitude, the pilot elected to land in a vacant field. The left wing sustained substantial damage during the landing. A postaccident examination of the engine revealed that the No. 1 connecting rod assembly had failed. Although the reason for the failure could not be determined, the fracture surfaces exhibited signatures of fatigue consistent with a malfunction of the connecting rod bearing, such as improper bearing size, rotation of the bearing during service, or operation of a severely worn bearing. Such conditions would result in higher-than-normal operating stress, and likely contributed to the propogation of the fatigue cracking.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
A partial loss of engine power due to failure of the No. 1 connecting rod as a result of multiple fatigue cracks for reasons that could not be determined during on postaccident examination.

On January 2, 2016, about 1430 Pacific standard time, a Kevin Metzler Velocity STD RG experimental amateur-built airplane, N133SV, was substantially damaged following a loss of engine power and subsequent forced landing about 1 mile northwest of the Rosamond Skypark Airport (L00), Rosamond, California. The private pilot, who was the owner and sole occupant of the airplane, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local flight, which was being operated in accordance with 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, and a flight plan was not filed. The local flight departed L00 about 5 minutes prior to the accident.

In a report submitted to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC), the pilot reported after taking off he climbed with the engine rpm set at about 4,500, "…which was well below the engines rated redline of 5,400 rpm." The pilot stated that when he reached an altitude of 7,000 ft, he noticed that the [engine] temperature was much higher than it had been the previous day, which prompted him to level off and reduce power. Shortly after the power reduction the engine began to surge; at this time the pilot decided to return to the departure airport, about 10 miles to the east of his location. The pilot reported that he attempted to maintain as much altitude as possible, and while en route the engine began to lose power, which made altitude more difficult to maintain. The pilot opined that when he realized that he would not be able to make it to the airport, he elected to land in a vacant field about one and one-half miles west of L00. After landing with the gear retracted, the airplane came to rest in an upright position.

The airplane, which was equipped with a Subaru EG-33 engine, serial number 007708, rated at 230 horsepower, had accumulated a total of 6.8 hours since its most recent overhaul; the total engine time was unknown. The pilot reported that the most recent condition inspection was performed on December 1, 2015, at a total airframe time of 66.8 hours.

An initial postaccident examination of the engine revealed that the No. 1 connecting rod assembly had failed, which resulted in the loss of power. The NTSB IIC took possession of the connecting rod assembly, in addition to two pieces that had separated from the assembly. The retained parts were shipped to the NTSB Materials Laboratory in Washington, D.C., for examination and analysis by a Senior Metallurgist. As a result of his examination, the metallurgist reported that the connecting rod assembly had fractured in four areas. An attachment bolt and nut remained attached to a fractured piece of the arm and cap portion. The second attachment bolt, a portion of the second arm, and a portion of the cap had separated from the connecting rod assembly, however, were not recovered during the investigation. Additionally, examination of the fracture faces revealed fatigue cracks emanated from multiple origins at the machined cut out area adjacent to the through-hole for each attachment bolt. Fatigue cracks with multiple origins were also observed on the mating fracture faces. The fatigue crack origin areas were aligned and parallel to circumferential machine marks. The rough texture of the fatigue crack features was consistent with a fatigue crack that had propagated under high stress. The fatigue crack in each mating fracture propagated through at least 50% of the wall. Further, the fracture faces outside of the fatigue regions exhibited rough dimple texture features consistent with overstress separation. The round surfaces that corresponded to the location of the bearings showed evidence of rough circumferential gouge marks, but no evidence of heat tinting was observed. (Refer to the NTSB Materials Laboratory factual report, which is appended to the docket for this accident.)

On January 26, 2016, under the supervision of the NTSB IIC, an examination of the engine was performed at the facilities of Outfront Motorsport, located in Santa Ana, California. With the exception of the engine's No. 1 connecting rod assembly which had failed, and the stuck piston of the pressure relief valve on the oil pump, there were no anomalies observed with the engine that would have precluded normal operation. According to the Outfront Motorsport general manager, during normal operations the pressure relief valve opens to relieve oil pressure when it is too high, and remains closed in order to build and sustain oil pressure. When observed during the postaccident examination, the piston portion of the valve was stuck closed. When the component was liquid tested to check for leakage past the piston, the valve retained liquid, which indicated that the valve was not stuck in the open position. After the piston was forced to the open position, debris was observed in the component which had kept it closed. The debris was consistent with bearing material that had invaded the area subsequent to the engine failure.

NTSB Identification: WPR16LA047
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, January 02, 2016 in Rosamond, CA
Aircraft: KEVIN METZLER Velocity STD RG, registration: N133SV
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 January 2, 2016, about 1430 Pacific standard time, a Kevin Metzler Velocity STD RG experimental amateur-built airplane, N133SV, was substantially damaged following a loss of engine power and forced landing about 1 mile northwest of the Rosamond Skypark Airport (L00), Rosamond, California. The private pilot, who was also the owner of the airplane and its sole occupant, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local flight, which was being operated in accordance with 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, and a flight plan was not filed. The local flight departed L00 about 5 minutes prior to the accident.

In a telephone conversation with the National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge, the pilot reported that he departed L00 to the west, and about 10 miles from the airport "the engine hesitated, corrected itself, then hesitated again." The pilot stated that he then proceeded back toward the departure airport, however, about 5 miles from the runway the engine lost power. The pilot subsequently made an off-airport forced landing, which resulted in substantial damage to the airplane.

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