Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Cessna 177RG Cardinal, N8053G, operated by Squadron 2 Acquisition Corp does business as Squadron 2: Accident occurred August 21, 2017 near Byron Airport (C83), Contra Costa County, California

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

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Byron, CA
Accident Number: GAA17CA505
Date & Time: 08/21/2017, 2000 PDT
Registration: N8053G
Aircraft: CESSNA 177RG
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Fuel exhaustion
Injuries: 4 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

According to the pilot, he was flying a 400-nautical mile cross-county flight.

He reported that the outside air temperature along the route had been hot. He recalled that the engine temperature had been high and, "I increased the mixture to cool the engine down multiple times."

As he approached his destination, the engine began "coughing for 3-4 minutes" before the engine stopped. He attempted to land at the destination airport, but unable to reach the airport, made a forced landing in a mud filled drainage channel, about .5 miles north of the airport.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the lower fuselage and windscreen.

A Federal Aviation Administration, Aviation Safety Inspector examined the airplane's fuel system at the accident site. He reported that both fuel tanks were found empty, with about ½ cup of fuel at the bottom of the left tank, after removing the sump drain.

Per the National Transportation Safety Board's Pilot Aircraft Accident Report, the pilot reported that the accident could have been prevented with the, "Use of [a] fuel dipstick for better measurement of fuel quantity".

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 39, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Sea
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 1 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 08/16/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 08/15/2017
Flight Time: (Estimated) 360 hours (Total, all aircraft), 11 hours (Total, this make and model), 290 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 13 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 13 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 10 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: CESSNA
Registration: N8053G
Model/Series: 177RG NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1971
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 177RG0053
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 05/12/2017, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2800 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time:  3907.8 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT:  Installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: IO-360-A1B6
Registered Owner: TOBIN JEFFREY D
Rated Power: 200 hp
Operator: Squadron 2 Acquisition Corp
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Does Business As: Squadron 2
Operator Designator Code: 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Night
Observation Facility, Elevation: LVK, 94550 ft msl
Observation Time: 2353 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 12 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 200°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: 25°C / 14°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 16 knots, 280°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 29.96 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Burns, OR (KBNO)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: San Jose, CA (KRHV)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1625 PDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: BYRON (C83)
Runway Surface Type: Dirt
Airport Elevation: 79 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Wet
Runway Used: 12
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 4500 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 3 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 4 None
Latitude, Longitude:  37.504444, -121.385278 (est)

A small, single-engine plane carrying four people crashed near the Byron Airport on Monday night.

The occupants, including three adults and one small child, were uninjured in the accident.

East Contra Costa Fire Protection District (ECCFPD) Battalion Chief Ross Macumber said the four were headed to the San Jose area after having traveled to Oregon to view the solar eclipse.

According to Macumber, the plane developed a mechanical problem of an undetermined nature and the pilot diverted to Byron, but crashed in a pasture about one mile north of the runway. The pilot executed a wheels-up belly landing on rough and uneven ground in near-dark conditions. The plane skidded down an embankment before coming to a rest upright and level in what appeared to be the bed of a dried pond.

Communications with the ConFire dispatch center indicated that the pilot called 9-1-1 after the crash and ECCFPD Engine 52 responded to the incident along with Macumber, Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office deputies, officers from the California Highway Patrol and an official from the Byron Airport.

The pilot’s call was received at 8:08 p.m and with darkness falling, responders initially had some difficulty locating the wreckage which was found on a remote property near the Byron Hot Springs Hotel.

The Byron Airport official checked the plane to determine how much fuel remained and checked the fuel gauge reading, though the results of those tests were not immediately released. While on the scene, Macumber was in communication with representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board. Federal investigators will attempt to determine the cause of the crash.

At 8:08 pm Monday, the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District responded to a report of a plane crash in the area of 5400 Byron Hot Springs Road in Byron.

Upon arrival, a small plane was located in an irrigation pond that was dry after the pilot had problems in the air and had to make an emergency landing at the Byron Airport but came up short.

According to Battalion Chief Ross Macumber, there were three occupants in the plane who were returning from a trip to Oregon to watch the solar eclipse. No one was injured in the crash and the plane sustained minimal damage.

The FAA and NTSB are investigating the cause of the crash.

BYRON — Federal authorities are investigating the cause of a plane that crashed short of an airport Monday night, authorities said.

At 8:08 p.m., East Contra Costa Fire District firefighters responded to the 5400 block of Byron Hot Springs Road, and found California Highway Patrol officers and Contra Costa Sheriff’s deputies on scene.

The plane’s pilot and three passengers were flying to the Bay Area after visiting Oregon to watch Monday’s solar eclipse, East County fire battalion chief Ross Macumber said.

When the plane began to have problems on the way back, the pilot tried to make an emergency landing at the airport but landed in a dry irrigation pond about a mile short of a runway with only minimal damage. No one was injured.

Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board officials will began an investigation, although a possible cause may be a fuel shortage, Macumber said.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Reno, Nevada 

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board:

NTSB Identification: LAX08CA276
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, August 19, 2008 in Lake Tahoe, CA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/22/2009
Aircraft: CESSNA 177RG, registration: N8053G
Injuries: 4 Uninjured.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot said that during the takeoff initial climb, the airplane encountered a windshear and touched back down on the runway as it was drifting to the left in a right bank. The airplane lifted off the runway again and the flight continued normally back to the pilot's home airport, with no flight control anomalies encountered. While the pilot was tying down his airplane, he noted buckling of the right stabilator top skin, and the lower skin and tip bottom were scraped. He opined that the damage had taken place at the departure airport when the airplane had settled back onto the runway during the takeoff. Prior to the flight the pilot had checked the weather on the internet, as well as the ASOS information. Both sources indicated a tailwind for a departure to the north, which was also the preferred takeoff runway. During his start-up and taxi to the active runway he noted the windsock showing a crosswind from the left at 5 to 10 knots. The engine power and acceleration for takeoff were normal and the airplane lifted off the ground about midfield at 70 miles per hour. On the initial climb out, the wind shifted. The airplane began a descent and turn to the left as the stall warning horn was sounding. The pilot corrected back to the runway with a right bank, at which point the airplane touched down on the runway. In the pilot's written statement on how the accident could have been prevented, he reported that he should have reconsidered his decision to take off based on the disparity between the windsock and ASOS information available, and that he should have delayed the climb out until a higher airspeed had been attained. The density altitude was calculated at 7,965 feet.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's inadequate compensation for the wind and density altitude conditions and failure to attain and maintain an adequate airspeed that resulted in a stall/mush.

The pilot stated that he performed normal airplane checks after start up with the exception of the run-up. After another airplane departed prior to him, he taxied the airplane to the end of the runway. He performed a run-up, which included configuring the airplane for a high altitude maximum performance takeoff per the pilot operating handbook (POH). He leaned the engine for maximum rpm’s (revolutions per minute). 

As he began the crosswind takeoff, with rpm’s and acceleration speed as expected, the airplane lifted off the ground about midfield, at 70 miles per hour (mph). The airplane was struck by "windshear," which caused the stall warning to sound, a descent, and drift to the left of runway centerline. He attempted to correct back to the runway with a right bank. The airplane settled onto the runway and then lifted off again. At this time the pilot did not perceive any damage to the airplane.

The pilot reported that he checked weather through Aviation Digital Data Service (ADDS), and verified it with the Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS) weather for the airport. The ASOS reported winds from 180 degrees at 10 knots, gusting to 15 knots. The pilot stated that the windsock indicated an almost direct crosswind. He noted that runway 18/36 was closed, with a parallel taxiway marked and designated for takeoffs and landings. The taxiway length was 5,000 feet long by 60 feet wide. The closed runway length was 8,544 feet long by 150 feet wide. The pilot stated that he chose the preferred runway/taxiway (runway 36) for departure due to terrain conditions; runway 36 has descending terrain, while runway 18 has ascending terrain. 

After arriving at the destination airport, as the pilot was tying down his airplane, he noted that the right stabilator top skin was buckled, as well as the lower skin and bottom of the tip was scraped. He believed that the damage was done when the airplane settled back onto the runway at the departure airport.

In the Recommendation (How could this accident have been prevented?) section of the NTSB Pilot/Operator Report (NTSB Form 6120.1), the pilot stated that he should have delayed the climb out until a higher airspeed was attained (should have accelerated more while in ground effect). He also indicated that he should have reconsidered his decision to takeoff based on the disparity between the windsock and ASOS information. The density altitude was calculated at 7,965 feet.

The pilot stated that there were no flight control anomalies with the flight back to the home airport.

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