Thursday, November 9, 2017

Grumman-Schweizer G-164A, N8875H, registered to Richter Aviation Inc and operated by Richter Aviation Inc: Accident occurred May 13, 2015 in Maxwell, Colusa County, California

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

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

Registered Owner:  Richter Aviation Inc

Operator:  Richter Aviation Inc

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

NTSB Identification: WPR15LA160
14 CFR Part 137: Agricultural
Accident occurred Wednesday, May 13, 2015 in Maxwell, CA
Aircraft: GRUMMAN ACFT ENG COR-SCHWEIZER G 164A, registration: N8875H
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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 13, 2015, about 0930 Pacific daylight time, a restricted category Grumman Aircraft ENG COR-Schweizer G164A airplane, N8875H, experienced a loss of engine power shortly after takeoff, and the pilot subsequently made an emergency landing on a dirt road near Maxwell, California. Richter Aviation Inc., operated the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137 as an aerial application flight. The commercial pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local flight that departed from a private airstrip. No flight plan had been filed.

In the pilot's written statement, he reported that the airplane seemed to function normally; good magneto check before takeoff and no indications of any problems. About 200 feet above the ground he heard a loud pop, and then the engine quit. He made a right 90o turn to land on a dirt road. The road was too narrow, and the right wheel went over the edge into the rice field and got stuck in mud, which caused the airplane to slow down and flip over onto its back. 

During an interview with an inspector from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the pilot reported that when he took off, on the day of the accident, there was less than half a tank of fuel on board. 

The operator reported that the day before, the left magneto had been replaced, and that the airplane had not been refueled following the maintenance. The operator also stated that the pilot started flying at 0900 the day of the accident for the purpose of spraying a pesticide on the rice fields. 

According to a responding deputy from the Colusa County Sheriff's Department, there was no evidence of fuel, or the smell of fuel, at the accident site. 

An FAA inspector reported that during the recovery of the airplane, maintenance personnel recovered ½ gallon of fuel out of the airplane. Maintenance personnel stated that there was no fuel smell, or residual fuel found on the ground. The airplane holds 80 gallons of fuel and burns about 40 gallons of fuel per hour.

The loader reported that on the day of the accident the airplane was not refueled.

During the postaccident engine examination, the FAA inspector stated that the engine turned freely without any binding, and about a 1/3-cup of fuel was recovered from the gascolator. Compression was obtained in all the cylinders except the #1 cylinder which had sustained impact damage. The left magneto produced a spark when rotated however, the right magneto had sustained impact damage and could not be functionally tested.

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