Sunday, January 14, 2018

Cessna 150H, N22092, Pocono Mountains Flying Club Inc: Accident occurred October 22, 2017 at Schuylkill County Airport (KZER), Pottsville, Pennsylvania

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

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

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

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Pocono Mountains Flying Club Inc

Analysis 

The pilot reported that, during approach, the automatic weather observation station at the destination airport reported that the wind was from 170° at 12 knots. He added that there was "very massive choppy wind, including what could have been windshear, updrafts, and downdrafts." During the landing roll on runway 11, a wind gust blew the airplane off the runway to the left. The pilot attempted to recover, but the airplane impacted a ditch.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and right wing.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector reported that a postaccident examination revealed that the rudder cable that passed along the left side of the fuselage was separated into three pieces. The rudder cable was covered in debris, which contained red fibers. The rudder cable was splayed and exhibited signatures consistent with tension overload.

The airplane's illustrated parts catalog contained a diagram titled, "Rudder Control System Installation," which displayed the cable along the left side of the fuselage cross over the right side of the airplane, in the tailcone section, and connect to the right side of the rudder horn, which provided right rudder authority.

The airplane's most recent inspection was an annual, which was conducted 6 months before the accident flight. The FAA inspector interviewed the mechanic who performed the most recent annual inspection, and the mechanic reported that, during inspections, he used manufacturer data and FAA Advisory Circular, AC 43.13-1B, "Acceptable Methods, Techniques, and Practices – Aircraft Inspection and Repair." He further reported, multiple times, that he should probably "tighten up" his inspections.

AC 43.13-1B contained a section titled, "Cable System Inspection," which stated the following:

"Aircraft cable systems are subject to a variety of environmental conditions and deterioration. Wire or strand breakage is easy to visually recognize. Other kinds of deterioration such as wear, corrosion, and/or distortion are not easily seen; therefore, control cables should be removed periodically for a more detailed inspection.

At each annual or 100-hour inspection, all control cables must be inspected for broken wire strands. Any cable assembly that has one broken wire strand located in a critical fatigue area must be replaced."

It further stated the following:

"Close inspection in these critical fatigue areas, must be made by passing a cloth over the area to snag on broken wires. This will clean the cable for visual inspection, and detect broken wires if the cloth snags on the cable."

It is likely that the red fibers found on the rudder cable were from a red cloth used to inspect the rudder cable during the annual inspection. It is also likely that, sometime during the flight or landing sequence, the right rudder cable separated, which subsequently restricted the pilot's ability to recover from the loss of control during landing. 

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The failure of the right rudder cable and subsequent loss of directional control during landing.

Findings

Aircraft
Rudder control system - Failure (Cause)
Directional control - Attain/maintain not possible

Environmental issues
Windshear - Effect on operation
Updraft - Effect on operation
Downdraft - Effect on operation

Factual Information

History of Flight

Unknown
Flight control sys malf/fail (Defining event)

Landing
Other weather encounter
Loss of control on ground
Runway excursion
Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Location: Pottsville, PA
Accident Number: GAA18CA020
Date & Time: 10/22/2017, 1815 EDT
Registration: N22092
Aircraft: CESSNA 150
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Flight control sys malf/fail
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

The pilot reported that, during approach, the automatic weather observation station at the destination airport reported that the wind was from 170° at 12 knots. He added that there was "very massive choppy wind, including what could have been windshear, updrafts, and downdrafts". During the landing roll on runway 11, a wind gust blew the airplane off the runway to the left. The pilot attempted to recover, but the airplane impacted a ditch.

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and right wing.

The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector reported that, during a postaccident examination, the rudder cable that passed along the left side of the fuselage was separated into three pieces. The rudder cable was covered in debris, which contained red fibers. The rudder cable was splayed and exhibited signatures consistent with tension overload.

The airplane's illustrated parts catalog contained a diagram, titled "Rudder Control System Installation". This diagram displayed the cable along the left side of the fuselage cross over the right side of the airplane, in the tailcone section, and connect to the right side of the rudder horn, which provided right rudder authority.

The airplane's most recent inspection was an annual, conducted 6 months prior to the accident flight.

The FAA inspector interviewed the mechanic who performed the most recent annual inspection. During the interview, the mechanic reported that, during inspections, he uses manufacturer data and the FAA advisory circular, AC 43.13-1B. He further reported, multiple times, that he should probably "tighten up" his inspections.

The FAA's advisory circular, AC 43.13-1B, titled "Acceptable Methods, Techniques, and Practices – Aircraft Inspection and Repair", contains a section titled "Cable System Inspection", which stated:

"Aircraft cable systems are subject to a variety of environmental conditions and deterioration. Wire or strand breakage is easy to visually recognize. Other kinds of deterioration such as wear, corrosion, and/or distortion are not easily seen; therefore, control cables should be removed periodically for a more detailed inspection.

At each annual or 100 hour inspection, all control cables must be inspected for broken wires strands. Any cable assembly that has one broken wire strand located in a critical fatigue area must be replaced."

It further stated:

"Close inspection in these critical fatigue areas, must be made by passing a cloth over the area to snag on broken wires. This will clean the cable for visual inspection, and detect broken wires if the cloth snags on the cable." 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 25, 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 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 11/16/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 
Flight Time: (Estimated) 83 hours (Total, all aircraft), 82 hours (Total, this make and model), 29 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 35 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 13 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: CESSNA
Registration: N22092
Model/Series: 150 H
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1967
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Utility
Serial Number: 15068059
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 04/14/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1600 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 
Engine Manufacturer: CONT MOTOR
ELT: Installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: O-200 SERIES
Registered Owner: POCONO MOUNTAINS FLYING CLUB INC
Rated Power: 100 hp
Operator: POCONO MOUNTAINS FLYING CLUB INC
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KMUI, 488 ft msl
Observation Time: 0958 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 18 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 208°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: 6°C / 6°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm
Visibility (RVR): 
Altimeter Setting: 30.38 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV): 
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: MOUNT POCONO, PA (MPO)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Pottsville, PA (ZER)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1730 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: SCHUYLKILL COUNTY /JOE ZERBEY (ZER)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 1729 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 11
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 4599 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop

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:  40.705278, -76.377500 (est)

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