Monday, September 18, 2017

Beech 35 Bonanza, N3187V: Accident occurred September 16, 2017 in Marathon, Monroe County, Florida

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Miramar, Florida

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

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N3187V



Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board 

Location: Marathon, FL
Accident Number: ERA17LA347
Date & Time: 09/16/2017, 0855 EDT
Registration: N3187V
Aircraft: BEECH 35
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (total)
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On September 16, 2017, about 0855 eastern daylight time, a Beech 35, N3187V, was substantially damaged while ditching in the Gulf of Mexico, following a total loss of engine power about 10 miles west of Marathon, Florida. The private pilot and passenger were not injured. The personal flight was operated by the private pilot and conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the flight that originated from Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE), Fort Lauderdale, Florida, about 0745.

The pilot reported that he and a business partner planned to survey damage to his business partner's home on No Name Key, Florida. They flew to the home, circled it at a low altitude, took photographs, and began a climb back to cruise altitude for the return to FXE. About 800 to 1,000 ft above mean sea level, the airplane experienced a total loss of engine power. The pilot prepared to ditch as the airplane would not glide far enough to reach land. He also attempted two engine restarts with no success, and reported the emergency to air traffic control. The pilot attempted two more engine restarts using the wobble fuel pump and electric fuel pump. He then attempted another restart using the electric fuel pump with no success. The pilot added that the propeller continued to windmill during the restart attempts. The pilot landed on the water with the landing gear and flaps retracted. The airplane came to rest upright and both occupants were rescued by law enforcement personnel.

According to the president of a recovery company, the airplane was recovered 12 days later, on September 28, 2017. The airplane appeared to be intact and was resting on a sandy bottom. When the airplane was floated to the surface of the water, a fuel sheen was observed on the water surface. Following recovery, no fuel or water was noted in the left wing fuel tank and approximately 1 gallon of a fuel and water mixture was recovered from the right wing fuel tank. The president of the recovery company added that he was unable to rotate the propeller, possibly due to corrosion.

The pilot further stated that he used REC-90, a 90 octane, ethanol free gasoline in the airplane and stored the gasoline in his hangar. After every flight, he completely fueled the airplane from the gasoline storage to prevent condensation from accumulating in the fuel tanks. Prior to the accident flight, he last flew the airplane on September 11, 2017, for .6 hours and added 6 gallons of gasoline after he landed. He also inspected the fuel tanks during the preflight inspection for the accident flight, and both fuel tanks were full. He recalled being burned from fuel in the water and noted that a recovery diver made the same comment. The pilot subsequently provided a receipt indicating that he most recently purchased 30 gallons of REC-90 on September 5, 2017.

Initial examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed that the fuselage was buckled during the ditching. The inspector further examined the wreckage at a recovery facility and specifically examined the engine driven fuel pump as the pilot thought that the pump might have failed. The engine driven fuel pump drive shaft remained intact. The inspector was able to actuate the pump by hand and did not note any anomalies with the pump. Due to extensive corrosion damage, the inspector was unable to rotate the engine crankshaft.

The four-seat, low-wing, retractable tricycle-gear airplane, serial number D-623, was manufactured in 1947. It was powered by a Continental E185, 185-horsepower engine, equipped with a constant-speed, two-blade Hartzell propeller. The airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on April 27, 2017. At that time, the airframe had accumulated 3,768.4 hours of operation and the engine had accumulated 72 hours since major overhaul. The airplane had flown about 35 hours, from the time of the most recent annual inspection, until the accident. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 56, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Lap Only
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 07/11/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  601 hours (Total, all aircraft), 421 hours (Total, this make and model), 509 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 35 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 20 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: BEECH
Registration: N3187V
Model/Series: 35 UNDESIGNATED
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1947
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: D-623
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 04/27/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2562 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 35 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 3768 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: E-185-8
Registered Owner: RONIN AERO GROUP LLC
Rated Power: 185
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: MTH, 5 ft msl
Observation Time: 0853 EDT
Distance from Accident Site: 10 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 90°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 1600 ft agl
Temperature/Dew Point: 30°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 9 knots, 40°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 29.97 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV): 
Precipitation and Obscuration:  No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Fort Lauderdale, FL (FXE)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Fort Lauderdale, FL (FXE)
Type of Clearance: VFR Flight Following
Departure Time: 0745 EDT
Type of Airspace: 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude:  24.725556, -81.228889 (est)

Location: Marathon, FL
Accident Number: ERA17LA347
Date & Time: 09/16/2017, 0855 EDT
Registration: N3187V
Aircraft: BEECH 35
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On September 16, 2017, about 0855 eastern daylight time, a Beech 35, N3187V, operated by the private pilot, was substantially damaged while ditching in the Gulf of Mexico, following a total loss of engine power about 10 miles west of Marathon, Florida. The private pilot and passenger were not injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the flight that originated from Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE), Fort Lauderdale, Florida, about 0745.

The pilot reported that he and a business partner planned to survey damage to his business partner's home on No Name Key, Florida. They flew to the home, circled it at a lower altitude, took photographs, and began a climb back to cruise altitude for the return to FXE. About 800 to 1,000 feet above mean sea level, the engine lost all power. The pilot prepared to ditch as the airplane would not glide far enough to reach land. He also attempted two engine restarts with no success, and reported the emergency to air traffic control. The pilot attempted two more engine restarts using the wobble fuel pump and electric fuel pump. He then attempted another restart using the electric fuel pump with no success. The pilot landed on the water with the landing gear and flaps retracted. The airplane came to rest upright and both occupants were rescued by law enforcement.

According to the president of a recovery company, the airplane was recovered 12 days later, on September 28, 2017. The airplane appeared to be intact and was resting on a sandy bottom. Following recovery, no fuel or water was noted in the left wing fuel tank and approximately 1 gallon of a fuel and water mixture was recovered from the right wing fuel tank.

Initial examination of the wreckage revealed that the fuselage was buckled during the ditching. The wreckage was retained for further examination. 

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