Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Bellanca 7GCBC Citabria, N36236: Accident occurred August 16, 2014 near Greenwood-Leflore Airport (KGWO), Mississippi

**This report was modified on July 25, 2017. Please see the public docket for this accident to view the original report.**

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

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

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/N36236 

NTSB Identification: ERA14LA392
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, August 16, 2014 in Itta Bena, MS
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/16/2016
Aircraft: BELLANCA 7GCBC, registration: N36236
Injuries: 2 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.

The flight instructor and student pilot were practicing simulated forced landings. The flight instructor reported that, during the third simulated forced landing, when the student pilot applied engine power to go around, the engine began to sputter, and it then experienced a total loss of power. The flight instructor assumed control of the airplane and performed a forced landing to a cornfield, which resulted in substantial damage to both wings and the fuselage. 

Postaccident examination of the engine revealed that a portion of the air intake filter had been ingested into the carburetor and was obstructing the venturi opening, which likely resulted in the loss of engine power. The remaining portion of the air filter was not located, and its preimpact condition could not be determined. The engine examination also revealed that an intake valve inner spring had broken; however, the outer spring remained intact, and the broken inner spring did not contribute to the accident. 

A review of the maintenance records indicated that the airplane had been operated for about 13 hours since its most recent annual inspection, which was performed about 8 months before the accident. A maintenance logbook entry noted that the induction filter was replaced at that time. The engine had accumulated about 1,265 total flight hours at the time of the accident and had not been overhauled since its manufacture about 41 years before the accident. 

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
A total loss of engine power during maneuvering due to an obstruction from air intake filter material being ingested into the carburetor, which resulted in a forced landing. 

**This report was modified on July 25, 2017. Please see the public docket for this accident to view the original report.**

On August 16, 2014, about 1830 central daylight time, a Bellanca 7GCBC, N36236, operated by a private individual, was substantially damaged during a forced landing, after it experienced a total loss of engine power while maneuvering near Itta Bena, Mississippi. The flight instructor and a student pilot were seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed for the local flight that originated at the Greenwood-Leflore Airport (GWO), Greenwood, Mississippi, about 1810. The instructional flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to the flight instructor, the student pilot was practicing simulated forced landings, and had performed two simulated forced landings without incident. During a third simulated forced landing, when the student pilot applied engine power to go-around, the engine began to sputter and lost power. The flight instructor assumed control of the airplane and performed a forced landing to a corn field, which resulted in substantial damage to both wings and the fuselage.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the airplane was purchased by its current owner on February 15, 2014. It was equipped with a Lycoming O-320-A2B, 150-horsepower engine.

On site examination of the airplane by an FAA inspector did not reveal any evidence of a catastrophic engine failure. Fuel sampled from the airplane's fuel tanks was consistent with 100-low-lead aviation gasoline and absent of contamination.

Subsequent examination of the engine by an investigator from the NTSB and the engine manufacturer revealed that the No. 4 intake valve inner spring was fractured in three locations. The outer spring remained intact. When the propeller was rotated by hand, camshaft, crankshaft, and valve train continuity were confirmed and thumb compression was attained on all cylinders. Both magnetos produced spark from all leads when rotated by hand. The carburetor remained attached to the engine, and the fuel inlet screen was absent of debris. Foam consistent with a portion of air intake filter material was observed obstructing more than half of the carburetor venturi opening. The carburetor heat air box was crushed and the air intake filter was not located amongst the recovered wreckage.

Examination of the fractured No. 4 intake valve inner spring and the material recovered from the carburetor was performed by an NTSB Materials Engineer. Fracture features consistent with fatigue, and pitting were present through the inner surfaces of the spring. In addition, Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometer examination of the material found in the carburetor was consistent with polyurethane. [Additional information can be found in the NTSB Materials Laboratory Factual Report located in the public docket]

According to maintenance records, at the time of the accident, the airplane had been operated for about 1,265 total hours, which included about 13 hours since its most recent annual inspection, which was performed on December 2, 2013. According to an entry in the airframe maintenance logbook, the annual inspection was "owner assisted" by the previous owner and included "Replaced induction filter." According to engine logbook entries, the No. 4 cylinder was replaced on August 9, 2001, about 70 hours prior to the accident, and the "Bracket air filter" was replaced on October 12, 2011, about 25 hours prior to the accident. In addition, there was no indication that the engine had been overhauled since it was manufactured in 1973. Lycoming Service Instruction No. 1009AW recommended that engines which have not accumulated the recommended hourly time in service be overhauled in the 12th year since the last overhaul.

According to the Bracket Aero Filters polyurethane foam information manual, "…All Brackett Air Filter elements are required to be replaced each 12 calendar months regardless of actual flight time…."

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