Sunday, January 14, 2018

Cessna 421C Golden Eagle, N421RX, operated by Fresh Air LLC: Accident occurred November 22, 2017 at Northern Maine Regional Airport at Presque Isle (KPQI), Aroostook County, Maine

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Portland, Maine

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Fresh Air LLC:

Location: Presque Isle, ME
Accident Number: ERA18LA033
Date & Time: 11/22/2017, 1845 EST
Registration: N421RX
Aircraft: CESSNA 421
Injuries: 4 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter - Non-scheduled - Air Medical (Medical Emergency)

On November 22, 2017, about 1845 eastern standard time, a Cessna 421C, N421RX, was substantially damaged during an off-runway landing at Northern Maine Regional Airport (PQI), Presque Isle, Maine. The commercial pilot, two crewmembers, and one passenger received minor injuries. The airplane was operated by Fresh Air LLC under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations part 135 as an air medical flight. Day, instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed. The flight originated at PQI about 1840 and was destined for Bangor International Airport (BGR), Bangor, Maine.

The pilot reported that the preflight and ground operations were uneventful. After taking off on runway 19, the pilot retracted the landing gear and turned off the landing lights. He then observed flames coming from the left engine nacelle. He immediately retarded the throttle and turned off the fuel boost pump; however, the fire persisted. He feathered the propeller, shut down the engine, and maneuvered the airplane below the clouds to remain in the traffic pattern at PQI. He attempted to keep the runway environment in sight while drifting in and out of clouds. He was unable to align the airplane for a landing on runway 19, so he attempted to land on runway 10. The pilot realized the airspeed was dropping and the airplane would not reach runway 10, so he landed in an adjacent field. After touchdown, the landing gear collapsed, and the airplane came to a stop.

An inspector with the Federal Aviation Administration responded to the accident site and examined the wreckage. The airplane came to rest in an upright position. The landing gear were separated, and structural damage to the wings and lower fuselage was evident. An initial examination of the left engine revealed soot on the nacelle vents and some localized white discoloration near the turbocharge area.

The wreckage was retained for further examination. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: CESSNA
Registration: N421RX
Model/Series: 421 C
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operating Certificate(s) Held: On-demand Air Taxi (135) 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Instrument Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: PQI, 533 ft msl
Observation Time: 1847 EST
Distance from Accident Site:
Temperature/Dew Point: 1°C / 1°C
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 3 knots, 310°
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 800 ft agl
Visibility: 5 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.82 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Departure Point: Presque Isle, ME (PQI)
Destination: Bangor, ME (BGR) 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 3 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Fire: In-Flight
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 4 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 46.688889, -68.044722 (est)

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