Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Ercoupe 415-C, N3538H: Accident occurred October 06, 2017 near near Penns Cave Airport (N74), Centre Hall, Centre County, Pennsylvania

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

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

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


NTSB Identification: ERA18LA007
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, October 06, 2017 in CENTRE HALL, PA
Aircraft: ERCOUPE 415, registration: N3538H
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 October 6, 2017, about 1415 eastern daylight time, an Ercoupe 415-C, N3538H, experienced a partial loss of engine power after takeoff and was substantially damaged during the subsequent forced landing near Penns Cave Airport (N74), Centre Hall, Pennsylvania. The private pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight which was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The pilot reported that the airplane had climbed to 200 ft above ground level after takeoff from N74 when it experienced an "appreciable" loss of engine power, the flight controls became "sluggish," and the airplane would no longer climb. He noted the engine was operating about 2,000 rpm, which was 275 rpm below the nominal full-power setting of 2,275 rpm at takeoff.

The pilot elected to perform a forced landing to a field directly off the departure end of the runway. During the landing roll, the airplane struck fences which resulted in substantial damage to both wings.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single engine land. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third-class medical certificate was issued December 30, 2015. The pilot reported 276 total hours of flight experience, 121 hours of which were in the Ercoupe.

According to FAA records, the airplane was manufactured in 1946. Its most recent annual inspection was completed November 12, 2016 at 1,712.8 total aircraft hours.

At 1253, the weather recorded at University Park Airport (UNV), State College, Pennsylvania, 11 miles west of N74 included an overcast ceiling at 2,400 ft and wind from 190° at 5 knots. The temperature was 20°C, and the dew point was 17°C. The altimeter setting was 30.12 inches of mercury.

The wreckage was examined at the accident site, and all major components were accounted for at the scene. Both wings were substantially damaged. The left, right, and fuselage fuel tanks were intact and contained fuel. Flight control, engine control, and fuel system continuity were confirmed.

The engine was rotated by hand at the propeller and compression was confirmed on all cylinders but the No. 2 cylinder using the thumb method. Removal of the No. 2 cylinder valve cover revealed the No. 2 exhaust valve in the open (compressed) position without rocker-arm contact. The valve remained in the open position through several rotations of the crankshaft.

The airplane was retained for further examination.

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