Thursday, October 26, 2017

Republic P-47D Thunderbolt, N1345B, registered to PT-17 Inc and operated by American Airpower Museum: Fatal accident occurred May 27, 2016 in Hudson River near New York, New York

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

NTSB Identification: ERA16LA195
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, May 27, 2016 in New York, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/15/2017
Aircraft: REPUBLIC P 47D, registration: N1345B
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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 World War II-era fighter airplane was part of a three-ship formation performing a photo shoot. About 1,000 ft above the water, the pilot of the accident airplane made a distress call to air traffic control, stating that he had "smoke," and he subsequently ditched the airplane. The airplane landed on the water and subsequently sank. Another pilot in the formation reported that the canopy was partially open before the ditching. The pilot was unable to egress the airplane and drowned.

Examination of the engine revealed evidence of internal seizure. Damage to the inside of the crankcase prevented the removal of cylinders and disassembly of the engine. Oil and metallic fragments were found inside the engine's supercharger. Although the supercharger may have failed as the initiating event, the reason for the engine failure could not be determined due to the excessive internal damage to the engine.

Examination of the pilot's seat belt/shoulder harness restraints and canopy operation, including a functional test of the jettison T-handle, did not reveal evidence of any in-flight anomaly or failure. Although the airplane's operating instructions called for the pilot to jettison the canopy before ditching, the pilot did not do so, and was subsequently unable to fully open the canopy and egress the airplane as it sank.

Toxicology testing revealed diphenhydramine, an impairing medication that causes sedation, altered mood, and impaired cognitive and psychomotor performance in blood and urine specimens. However, the level of diphenhydramine in blood was too low to quantify and therefore any effects from it likely did not contribute to the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
A catastrophic engine failure of undetermined origin, which resulted in a total loss of engine power and subsequent ditching. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's failure to jettison the canopy before ditching, which resulted in his inability to egress the airplane as it sank.


Bill Gordon


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

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Farmingdale, New York 

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

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

Registered Owner: PT-17 Inc
Operator: American Airpower Museum

http://registry.faa.gov/N1345B 



NTSB Identification: ERA16LA195
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, May 27, 2016 in New York, NY
Aircraft: REPUBLIC P 47D, registration: N1345B
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On May 27, 2016, about 1930 eastern daylight time, a Republic P-47D, N1345B, ditched in the Hudson River near New York, New York, following a total loss of engine power. The commercial pilot was fatally injured and the airplane was substantially damaged. The experimental, exhibition-category airplane was registered to a corporation and was operated by the American Airpower Museum under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an aerial observation flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed. The local flight originated from Republic Airport (FRG), Farmingdale, New York, about 1900.

The accident airplane was part of a three-ship formation participating in a photo shoot. The #2 pilot in the formation reported that they flew along the beach, on the south side of Long Island, then into the visual flight rules corridor next to John F Kennedy International Airport (JFK). They were about 1,100 ft above the water and proceeding north along the Hudson River about 140 knots. Over the radio, he heard the pilot of the accident airplane report that he had "smoke." (The pilot made a distress call to the Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) air traffic control tower.) The #2 pilot subsequently saw smoke from the accident airplane then saw the propeller "seize up." The accident pilot maneuvered the airplane for a forced landing in the Hudson River. The #2 pilot observed that the accident airplane's canopy was only partially open; as the airplane descended, touched down on the water, and sank a few seconds later in the Hudson River south of the George Washington Bridge. Attempts by first responders to rescue the pilot were unsuccessful.



Bill Gordon

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single- and multi-engine land, airplane single-engine sea, rotorcraft-helicopter, and instrument airplane ratings. He also held a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airframe and powerplant mechanic certificate. The pilot held an FAA second-class medical certificate and reported 6,400 total hours of flight experience on his application for that certificate, dated August 5, 2015.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane was a low-wing, single-seat, World War II-era fighter airplane with retractable landing gear in a tailwheel configuration. It was powered by a Pratt and Whitney R2800-69, 18-cylinder radial engine and a Hamilton Standard four-bladed, constant-speed propeller.

According to maintenance logbook entries, a condition inspection was completed on May 9, 2015, at a Hobbs time of 553.0 hours. At that time, the engine oil was changed and the oil screen was inspected; no contaminants were observed.

A representative of the corporation that owned the airplane reported that the engine was "low time, less than 400 hours" and that the airplane was due for its next condition inspection on June 1, 2016. The airplane was maintained in a hangar, and the engine "ran well with no recent complaints."

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

EWR was located about 9 miles southwest of the accident location. The 1951 weather observation included wind from 150° at 8 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, few clouds at 5,500 ft, scattered clouds at 18,000 ft, a broken ceiling at 25,000 ft, temperature 28°C, dew point 19°C, and altimeter setting 29.99 inches of mercury.



WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The wreckage was recovered from the river the following day near the 79th Street Boat Basin and transported to the West 30th Street Heliport, New York, New York. An initial examination of the wreckage revealed that the airframe was generally intact. The engine remained attached to the airframe. A cursory examination of the engine revealed that the No. 18 cylinder was damaged, consistent with an in-flight occurrence. Oil was present on the exterior of the engine.

The wreckage was moved to a storage facility where additional examinations were performed by an FAA inspector. The inspector noted that the engine was internally seized and would not rotate. He tried to remove the cylinders; however, all cylinders were damaged and could not be removed from the crankcase. Metallic debris and oil were found inside the supercharger. Four intake manifolds were removed for examination; they were also oil-soaked and contained metal particles. Due to the internal damage to the engine and the inability to remove cylinders, further examination of the engine was not attempted.



MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, City of New York, performed an autopsy of the pilot. The cause of death was drowning, and the manner of death was accident.

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Research Sciences Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology testing on specimens from the pilot. Diphenhydramine was detected in the blood and urine at levels too low to quantify.

Diphenhydramine is a sedating antihistamine used to treat allergy symptoms and as a sleep aid and carries the following Federal Drug Administration warning: "May impair mental and/or physical ability required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks (e.g. driving, operating heavy machinery)."

SURVIVAL ASPECTS

An examination of the cockpit seat belt/harness restraints and the canopy system was performed by the NTSB Survival Factors Group Chairman. When examined at the wreckage storage facility, the cockpit canopy was in the full-open position. The cockpit control stick and instrument panel were undamaged. The pilot seat, which was designed to move up and down by engaging a lever adjacent to the seat, operated in a normal manner. The four-point seat belt restraint system consisted of a lap belt and shoulder harness. The system was fastened and unfastened by the investigator and functioned in a normal manner.

The cockpit canopy was designed to be operated by hand, by a motor controlled from an internal switch in the cockpit, or by an external switch located forward of the left of the cockpit window in an access panel. The extremes of travel were limited by two limit switches mounted on the deck behind the pilot seat. The entire operating mechanism was covered by the aft portion of the canopy while in the closed position.

To operate the canopy from inside the airplane, the internal lock release is pushed forward to the full stop. This action disengages the clutch on the canopy motor. While holding forward pressure on the lock release, the pilot can manually move the canopy freely on its rails. To automatically move the canopy, the pilot would select the open or closed position on the canopy switch, which was located in front of the lock release on the left cockpit sidewall.

An examination of the internal and external lock release mechanism was performed. Both lock releases disengaged the motor and allowed the canopy to move freely on its rails. The automatic motor switches were not tested due to flammable fluids in the area and lack of a power source.

To jettison the canopy, the pilot was required to pull the jettison T-handle mounted on the front frame of the canopy. This action allowed the locking pins to be pulled from the two jettison fittings that held the canopy to the roller assemblies. All three fittings would then be free, and the canopy could be jettisoned in-flight or removed on the ground. An examination of the jettison handle was performed. The T-handle was pulled by the investigator and the canopy subsequently released from the rail and departed the cockpit area.

The procedures for ditching the airplane were found in the pilot's Flight Operating Instructions (AN 01-65BC-1A). Section IV, bullet 8 on page 37 described the procedures for ditching:

"If it becomes necessary to abandon the airplane over water and it is not desirable to bail out, the following procedure is suggested. (1) Make sure safety belt and shoulder harness are secure. (2) Lower flaps. (3) Jettison canopy. (4) Make normal approach glide into the wind. Hold off until stall speed is reached, then set down tail first. (5) Ditch into the wind on upslope wave."

The pilot's flight helmet was recovered at the accident scene. The flight helmet shell showed no signs of impact damage and all functions of the helmet operated normally.











NTSB Identification: ERA16LA195
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, May 27, 2016 in New York, NY
Aircraft: REPUBLIC P 47D, registration: N1345B
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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 May 27, 2016, about 1930 eastern daylight time, a Republic P-47D, N1345B, ditched in the Hudson River following a reported loss of engine power. The commercial pilot was fatally injured and the airplane was substantially damaged. The experimental, exhibition-category airplane was registered to a corporation and was operated by the American Airpower Museum under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an aerial observation flight. Day, visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed. The local flight originated from Republic Airport (FRG), Farmingdale, New York, about 1900.

The accident aircraft was part of a three-ship formation and the pilot was participating in a photo shoot. During the flight, the pilot made a distress call to Newark air traffic control tower and subsequently ditched the airplane in the Hudson River, south of the George Washington Bridge.

The airplane impacted the water and sank. Attempts by first responders to rescue the pilot were unsuccessful. The wreckage was recovered from the river the following day and was transported to the West 30th Street Heliport, New York, New York. An initial examination of the wreckage revealed that the airframe was generally intact. The engine remained attached to the airframe. A cursory examination of the engine revealed that the number 18 cylinder on the Pratt and Whitney R-2800 radial engine was damaged, consistent with an in-flight occurrence. Oil was present on the exterior of the engine. 

The airframe and engine were retained for further examination.

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single engine land, airplane multi-engine land, airplane single engine sea, rotorcraft-helicopter, and instrument airplane ratings. He also held a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airframe and powerplant mechanic certificate. The pilot held a FAA second class medical certificate and reported 6,400 total hours of flying experience on his medical certificate application that was dated August 5, 2015.

1 comment:

zeland said...

When I first saw the pictures of the plane being lifted out of the water, the first thing I noticed was that the canopy was still in place. I couldn't help wondering why the pilot did not jettison the canopy as indicated in the ditching instructions.
It seems to me that exiting the plane with the canopy in place would have been much more difficult. I am assuming that the pilot did not exit the aircraft before it sank.

I asked myself the question: If the canopy would have been jettisoned, would that have made a difference in regards to the pilot's survival?

FYI I am a previous owner (1969-1975) of the Cessna 150 (N5945E) who's recent accident report is listed on this Blog.

Zeland

Friday, November 3, 2017 at 10:59:33 AM EDT