Sunday, January 14, 2018

Cessna 172N Skyhawk, N91SP: Accident occurred December 24, 2017 in Union Mills, Rutherford County, North Carolina

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

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Greensboro, North Carolina

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Union Mills, NC
Accident Number: ERA18LA059
Date & Time: 12/24/2017, 1500 EST
Registration: N91SP
Aircraft: CESSNA 172
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On December 24, 2017, about 1500 eastern standard time, a Cessna 172N, N91SP, was substantially damaged during a forced landing in Union Mills, North Carolina. The commercial pilot, who was also the owner of the airplane sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to the pilot, the purpose of the flight was to perform approaches to the private airstrip that he was constructing on his property. He said the performance and handling of the airplane was "perfect" throughout the flight, and that he performed multiple low approaches successfully, with no anomalies noted.

The pilot said the airplane was travelling slowly over his strip, about treetop height, with full flaps deployed. When he added full power to initiate a climb, the engine "sputtered" and stopped producing power. He performed a forced landing to the unimproved strip, "bounced" and departed the side of the cleared area where the airplane entered the woods and was substantially damaged.

When asked about the performance and handling of the airplane, the pilot said it was "perfect" and volunteered that the reason for the loss of engine power was carburetor ice. When asked if he had deployed the carburetor heat for the low approach and pass over his property, he said "No."

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land, and instrument airplane. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) second-class medical certificate was issued March 15, 2016. He reported 6,700 total hours of flight experience of which 3,400 were in the accident airplane make and model.

According to FAA records, the airplane was manufactured in 1978. Its most recent annual inspection was completed November 12, 2017, at 9,034.9 total aircraft hours.

At 1505, the weather reported at Rutherford County Airport (FQD), 7 miles east of the site, included an overcast ceiling at 2,200 ft, 10 miles visibility, and calm winds. The temperature was 10° C, the dew point was 5° C, and the altimeter setting was 29.97 inches of mercury.

According to an FAA carburetor icing probability chart, the atmospheric conditions at the time of the accident were conducive to "serious icing" at cruise power.

The wreckage was examined at the accident site by an FAA inspector and all major components were accounted for at the scene. The wings and fuselage were substantially damaged. The airplane was retained for further examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: CESSNA
Registration: N91SP
Model/Series: 172 N
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
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: KFQD, 1078 ft msl
Observation Time: 1505 EST
Distance from Accident Site: 7 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 10°C / 5°C
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 2200 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.97 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Union Mills, NC
Destination: Union Mills, NC

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 35.490556, -82.058889 (est)

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