Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Experimental amateur-built, Fleetwood Jack, Team Air-Bike, N7566D, registered to a private individual and operated by the pilot: Accident occurred October 11, 2017 near Ocean Springs Airport (5R2), Jackson County, Mississippi

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Jackson, Mississippi

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Ocean Springs, MS
Accident Number: ANC18LA002
Date & Time: 10/11/2017, 0900 CDT
Registration: N7566D
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (partial)
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 


During a prebuy inspection flight, the airline transport pilot reduced engine power to test the airplane's slow-speed handling characteristics. He then increased the throttle to restore full engine power, but the engine seemed to "bog down" and lose power. He then lowered the airplane's nose, and engine power was restored. The pilot then chose to return to the airport, and while on approach, the engine again began to lose power, but lowering the airplane's nose did not increase the rpm this time. The pilot realized the airplane would be unable to reach the airport, so he conducted an off-airport landing in a residential area, during which the airplane impacted a fence.

A postaccident engine run revealed that, after running at various power settings, when the power was reduced, the engine bogged down and backfired through the power takeoff (PTO) carburetor, and the rpm would not increase. The PTO cylinder ignition coil was replaced with a serviceable coil, and the engine was restarted for several minutes and run through various power setting. The engine accelerated normally without backfiring, hesitating, or stumbling.

It is likely that, during the accident flight, the PTO cylinder ignition coil broke down, which resulted in an intermittent spark at the PTO spark plug and a partial loss of engine power. 

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
An intermittent failure of the power take-off cylinder ignition coil, which resulted in a partial loss of engine power.


Ignition power supply - Malfunction (Cause)

Environmental issues
Fence/fence post - Contributed to outcome

Factual Information

On October 11, 2017 about 0900 central daylight time, an experimental amateur-built, Fleetwood Jack, Team Air-Bike airplane, N7566D sustained substantial damage during a forced landing, following a partial loss of engine power while attempting to return to Ocean Springs Airport (5R2), Ocean Springs, Mississippi. The airplane was registered to a private individual and operated by the pilot, as a visual flight rules flight under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 when the accident occurred. The certificated airline transport pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

The pilot reported that he was contemplating purchasing the airplane, and the flight was a part of the pre-buy inspection. He stated that during the test flight, he reduced the power to test the slow speed handling characteristics of the airplane. Following slow flight, he increased the throttle, but the engine seemed to "bog down". In an attempt to increase the engine's RPM, he lowered the nose of the airplane and the engine seemed to respond and run normal again. He stated that he was uncomfortable with the way the engine was operating and decided to return to 5R2. During the approach to runway 36 at 5R2, the airplane seemed to "bog down" again. He lowered the airplane's nose, but the engine failed to increase in RPM. Realizing he would be unable to reach the airport, he selected an off-airport landing site in a residential area. During the forced landing the airplane impacted a fence and sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and wings.

According to FAA records, the airplane was manufactured in 2005. It was an experimental single place, externally braced high wing airplane, with a two-blade fixed wood propeller, and a Rotax 503, 50 hp, two-stroke engine.

A postaccident examination of the airplane and engine revealed that the wings and fuel tank had been removed, and were not available for examination. The Rotax 503 engine remained attached to the airframe, and both propeller blades had separated from the propeller hub. The fuel system was inspected; no fuel filter was present between the fuel pump and carburetor as required per the ROTAX Aircraft Engines Installation Manual for ROTAX 503 UL DCDI engines. However, a fuel filter was present upstream of the fuel pump on the fuel inlet line. The filter appeared clean, with no debris present. The fuel pump had been previously removed and disassembled, and was not an appropriate type for an aircraft application. The airplane was equipped with an aftermarket type exhaust, and an exhaust leak was noted at one of the welds. The exhaust was removed from the engine, and a continuity and compression check was completed via manual rotation of the propeller. No anomalies were noted on the power take off side (PTO) and magneto side (MS) pistons and cylinders, as viewed from the exhaust port. The PTO and MS spark plugs were removed from the engine and both plugs exhibited features consistent with a rich mixture, and were not designed for use in aircraft. The PTO spark plug was broken.

The engine was then prepped to be test run, which included replacing the propeller, mounting a serviceable fuel pump and replacing the damaged spark plug. Fuel was introduced to the engine by placing the fuel inlet line in a fuel container with the appropriate fresh fuel/oil mixture. The engine was started and run for several minutes at various power settings. The power was then reduced, prior to applying full power. The engine bogged down and backfired through the PTO carburetor and would not increase in RPM.

The PTO ignition coil was replaced with a serviceable coil, and the engine was restarted for several minutes and run through various power settings. The power was then reduced, prior to the throttle being opened. The engine accelerated normally without backfiring, hesitation or stumbling.

According to an FAA inspector, the accident airplane, as equipped, did not meet the requirements contained in 14 CFR Part 103 to be considered an Ultralight Vehicle.

The closest weather reporting facility was Keesler Air Force Base, Biloxi, Mississippi, about 10 miles west of the accident site. At 0856, a METAR was reporting, in part: wind 010° at 5 knots; visibility, 10 statute miles; clouds and ceiling, clear; temperature, 79° F; dew point 75° F; altimeter, 30.06 inches of Mercury. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport; Flight Instructor; Military
Age: 49, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 1 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 02/15/2017
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 02/18/2017
Flight Time: 13000 hours (Total, all aircraft), 0.3 hours (Total, this make and model) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: FLEETWOOD JACK
Registration: N7566D
Model/Series: TEAM AIRBIKE
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2005
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental Light Sport
Serial Number: AB000154
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 1
Date/Type of Last Inspection:  10/11/2017, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 560 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 79 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: ROTAX
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: 503
Registered Owner: Sprouse Phillip R
Rated Power: 50 hp
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: KBIX
Observation Time: 1356 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 10 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 277°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: 26°C / 24°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 5 knots, 10°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30.06 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Ocean Springs, MS (5R2)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Ocean Springs, MS (5R2)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0845 CDT
Type of Airspace:  Unknown

Airport Information

Airport: OCEAN SPRINGS (5R2)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 20 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 36
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3500 ft / 50 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude:  30.389444, -88.753333 (est)

The pilot of an ultra light-weight plane escaped injuries when he made a crash landing in the yard of a home in Gulf Park Estates, officials said.

The one-seat plane, with a 4-gallon gas tank, was having mechanical problems before the crash Wednesday morning, Jackson County Emergency Services Director Earl Etheridge said.

The plane crashed into a wooden privacy fence at a home on Marguerite Drive.

“The pilot tried to make it into an open field and unfortunately, he didn’t make it. He’s not hurt. He just ran into a fence,” Etheridge said.

James Hitterman had departed from the Ocean Springs Airport to test-fly the plane and was in the air about 15 minutes when the plane lost power, Sheriff Mike Ezell said.

A homeowner in the neighborhood near Ocean Springs heard a loud noise and went outside to discover a crashed plane in the yard, he said.

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -  An ultralight aircraft fell out of the sky and crashed into the backyard of a home on Marguerite Dr. in the Gulf Park Estates area of Jackson County, according to county emergency services director Earl Etheridge.

Jackson County Sheriff Mike Ezell said the pilot took off from Ocean Springs Airport on Wednesday morning to test fly the single-seat plane and was in the air for about 15 minutes when the aircraft lost power.

Ezell said the pilot was unable to make it back to the airport and was forced to perform an emergency landing.

The pilot was shaken up but not injured, Etheridge said.

A witness said he was standing outside talking on the phone when he saw the plane circling overhead. Minutes later, he heard the crash.

The aircraft crashed into a fence, but no other residential damage has been reported. We're told officials with the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the crash.

Story, video and photo gallery ➤

1 comment:

  1. Wow! I had no idea this plane was listed as a Fleetwood Jack Team Air-Bike. I bought this plane years ago as an ultralight, but it was not an ultralight since it was too heavy and had 10 gallons of fuel. I registered it, so I guess it has me listed as the builder. Scary stuff. Glad the guy was okay.