Sunday, February 18, 2018

Vans RV-6A, N419B Fatal accident occurred March 01, 2016 at Elmdale Airpark (82TS), Abilene, Taylor County, Texas -and- accident occurred September 01, 2014 near Marshalltown Municipal Airport (KMIW), Iowa



The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Lubbock, Texas
Lycoming; Williamsport, Pennsylvania
Van's Aircraft; Aurora, Oregon

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

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N419B



Location: Abilene, TX
Accident Number: CEN16FA114
Date & Time: 03/01/2016, 0840 CST
Registration: N419B
Aircraft: OHLGREN RV 6A
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

Analysis 

The airline transport pilot and the passenger departed in the experimental amateur-built airplane that he had recently purchased on a cross country flight. After takeoff, the airplane drifted slightly right in a wings-level climbing attitude. A turn to the left with a bank angle of more than 30° began, and the airplane pitched nose-up followed by an immediate nose-down spin to the left. An onboard display unit recorded a left roll in excess of 80° and an indicated airspeed of 79 knots. Given that the airplane's estimated stall speed in level flight was about 49 knots and its estimated stall speed in a 75° bank is about 98 knots, it is likely the airplane entered an aerodynamic stall. An examination of the wreckage did not reveal evidence of any preimpact anomalies that would have prevented normal operation of the airplane. Damage to the propeller blades was consistent with engine power being delivered to the propeller, and witness marks indicated that the canopy was latched.

The investigation was unable to determine if the pilot's psychiatric conditions impaired his ability during the accident. There was no evidence that the pilot's cardiovascular disease was impairing. However, toxicology testing detected high levels of the medications buspirone and hydroxyzine and of tetrahydrocannabinol, the active compound in the illicit drug marijuana, in the pilot's blood. All three of these drugs are potentially-impairing, central nervous system (CNS) depressants, and, in combination, each drug may enhance the CNS depressant effects of the other drugs. Therefore, it is likely that the combination of the three drugs impaired the pilot's ability to safely fly the airplane. 

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to maintain airplane control during takeoff, which resulted in the airplane exceeding its critical angle of attack and an aerodynamic stall/spin. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's impairment due to his combined use of central nervous system depressant medications and the illicit drug marijuana, which degraded his ability to maintain control of the airplane. 

Findings

Aircraft
Airspeed - Not attained/maintained (Cause)
Angle of attack - Not attained/maintained (Cause)
Lateral/bank control - Not attained/maintained (Cause)

Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)
Prescription medication - Pilot (Factor)
Illicit drug - Pilot (Factor)
Predisposing condition - Pilot
Alcohol - Passenger

Factual Information

History of Flight

Prior to flight
Miscellaneous/other

Takeoff
Loss of control in flight (Defining event)

Uncontrolled descent
Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

On March 1, 2016, about 0840 central standard time, an experimental amateur-built Van's RV-6A airplane, N419B, impacted terrain during takeoff from runway 35 at the Elmdale Airpark (82TS), near Abilene, Texas. The airline transport pilot and his passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and the flight was not operated on flight plan. The flight was destined for Henderson, Nevada, and was originating from 82TS at the time of the accident.

A witness reported that he picked the pilot and passenger up at a local hotel and brought them to 82TS. The pilot had refueled the airplane the previous day upon arrival at 82TS. The pilot checked weather and performed a preflight inspection of the airplane. According to the witness, the airplane taxied to the threshold of runway 35, and the pilot performed an engine run-up, which sounded normal. The airport windsock indicated winds from the north-northwest. After takeoff, the airplane drifted slightly right (east) in a wings-level climbing attitude. A left turn to the west with a bank angle of more than 30° began, and the airplane pitched nose-up followed by an immediate nose-down spin to the left. The witness then lost sight of the airplane due to a rise in terrain. The witness and another airport tenant drove to the accident site and observed that the airplane had impacted terrain.

Recorded data recovered from the airplane indicated that, at 0822:07, the airplane was on the ramp west of the runway. Due to non-recovered data between 0822:07 and 0839:11, the airplane's taxi path to the end of runway 35 could not be determined. By 0839:11, the airplane had begun its takeoff roll on runway 35. Around 0839:34, the airplane began a climbing roll to the right. By 0839:45, the airplane had begun to roll left and track left. The last recovered point from the recording was at 0839:49, and showed a GPS altitude of 1,930 ft, a pitch-down attitude, a left roll in excess of 80°, and an indicated airspeed of 79 knots (kts). 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport
Age: 63, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 01/16/2016
Occupational Pilot:
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 8010 hours (Total, all aircraft) 

The 63-year-old pilot held a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airline transport pilot certificate with a multi-engine rating. He held commercial pilot privileges for single-engine land airplanes. The pilot was issued an FAA second-class medical certificate during his most recent medical examination dated February 16, 2016. The medical certificate had a limitation that the pilot must have glasses available for near vision. On the application for this medical certificate, the pilot reported that he had accumulated 8,010 hours of total flight time and 10 hours of flight time in the 6 months before the exam. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: OHLGREN
Registration: N419B
Model/Series: RV 6A
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2001
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 21550
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 05/04/2015, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1650 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 791.2 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT: C91A installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-360-C1G
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 180 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held:  None

The airplane, which was constructed from a Van's Aircraft, Inc., RV-6A kit, was completed in 2001, and the airplane's special airworthiness certificate was issued on August 4, 2001. The airplane was a single-engine, low-wing monoplane, configured to seat two occupants in a side-by-side seating arrangement. It was constructed primarily from aluminum alloy materials, and it had a fixed tricycle landing gear arrangement. The airplane was powered by a 180-horsepower Lycoming O-360-C1G engine, serial number L-31710-36A. The engine drove a two-bladed, constant-speed Hartzell propeller. The airplane was equipped with a forward-opening, tip-up canopy. Endorsements in the airplane's logbooks indicated that a condition inspection was completed on May 4, 2015, and that the airplane had accumulated 791.2 hours of total time at that date. The pilot signed an FAA Aircraft Registration Application form for the airplane dated January 10, 2016.

The airplane kit manufacturer provided the following stalls speeds for a typical RV-6 kit airplane in coordinated flight.

Bank Angle 0° 30° 45° 60°
Flaps Retracted 49 kts 53 kts 58 kts 69 kts
Flaps Extended 45 kts 49 kts 54 kts 64 kts 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KABI, 1790 ft msl
Observation Time: 0752 CST
Distance from Accident Site: 3 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 212°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: 11°C / 2°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 12 knots, 340°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30.1 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Abilene, TX (82TS)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Henderson, NV
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0840 CST
Type of Airspace:

At 0752, the recorded weather at the Abilene Regional Airport, near Abilene, Texas, located about 3 miles from 82TS, included wind 340° at 12 kts, visibility 10 statute miles, sky condition clear, temperature 11°C, dew point 2°C, and altimeter 30.10 inches of mercury.

Airport Information

Airport: ELMDALE AIRPARK (82TS)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 1775 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 36
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3270 ft / 50 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None 

82TS was a non-towered, privately-owned, private-use airport. The airport had an estimated elevation of 1,775 ft above mean sea level. Two runways, 18/36 and 17/35, served the airport. Runway 17/35 was a 2,950-ft by 30-ft asphalt runway. The airport had 100 low lead fuel service. 



Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude:  32.455278, -99.649444 

The airplane came to rest upright about 189 ft and on a magnetic heading of 330° from the departure end of runway 35. The airplane's resting heading was about 360° magnetic. The airplane's propeller and propeller flange separated from the engine crankshaft. The propeller was found embedded in the ground about 1 ft below the surface. When removed, the propeller blades exhibited chordwise abrasions and leading-edge nicks. The engine mounts and engine cowling were deformed rearward and crushed consistent with the nose of the airplane impacting terrain. The leading edge of both wings exhibited aft deformation consistent with a nose-low impact with terrain. The empennage was attached to the fuselage and wrinkle deformation was observed at the juncture of the two.

The cockpit canopy was found separated from the fuselage. The canopy's latch was found in the latched position, and the latching assembly was deformed, consistent with impact damage. The canopy handle was missing from its canopy handle block. The center section of the canopy handle block, which holds the canopy handle, exhibited a vertical tear where the canopy handle was housed. The left aileron separated from its wing. The control stick was moved, and the attached right aileron and the elevators moved accordingly. The rod end to the left aileron moved when the control stick was moved. The control cables at the rudder pedals were manipulated by hand, and the rudder moved. Flight control continuity was established.

A liquid consistent with 100 low lead aviation fuel was found in the fuel line routed to the engine-driven fuel pump and in the fuel line to the carburetor. The right magneto was found separated from its accessory pad. Both magnetos were removed from the wreckage, and their ignition leads cut near their towers. Both magnetos were rotated by hand, and sparks were observed at all ignition leads. The engine-driven fuel pump sustained impact damage, and its base was separated from its body. The engine-driven fuel pump produced suction when its slotted shaft was manipulated with a flat-bladed screwdriver. A liquid consistent with the smell of aviation gasoline subsequently exited the engine-driven fuel pump fitting. The sparkplugs were removed. One spark plug was oil fouled, and the remaining plugs exhibited a brown color consistent with normal combustion. The carburetor was removed from the intake. The carburetor's mounting base was fractured. The carburetor finger screen was removed, and no debris was observed in the screen. The mixture and throttle cables were pulled in the cockpit, and corresponding motion on the carburetor linkages was observed. The propeller control in the cockpit was pulled, and corresponding motion on the governor linkage was observed. Engine control continuity was established.

The cover over the vacuum accessory pad was removed, and a splined adapter tool was inserted in the pump drive base to turn the engine accessory gears. All cylinder rocker covers were removed. The engine produced a thumb compression at all cylinders when the adapter tool was rotated by hand. No rocker or valve movement anomalies were observed when the adapter tool was rotated. Crankshaft and camshaft continuity were established. 

Flight Recorders

The airplane was equipped with a Dynon SkyView SV-D700 display unit with serial number 2256. The Dynon SV-D700 is an uncertified screen display suitable for mounting in the cockpit of non-type-certificated airplanes, such as the accident airplane. The display receives input from multiple modules for flight instrumentation including modules for air data/attitude/heading, engine monitoring, GPS, transponder, radios, and intercoms. Data is recorded on a Serial-ATA based Disk on Module (DOM) mounted to the main memory board.

The Dynon unit was recovered from the wreckage and shipped to the NTSB Recorder Laboratory for readout. The non-volatile memory chip on the DOM was removed from the DOM, and a raw-data binary readout of the chip was obtained. The binary readout was directly examined, and corrupt data was discarded. For further details concerning the readout of the data, see the Cockpit Display Specialist's Factual Report included in the public docket for this accident.

In addition to the previously discussed data from the accident flight, data from a departure from the Carroll County Airport (4M1), near Berryville, Arkansas, on February 28, 2016, two days before the accident, were examined. The data for the departure from 4M1 showed that the airplane began a takeoff on runway 25 about 1010:59 at an initial GPS altitude of 1,201 ft. The airport had a surveyed elevation of 1,205.5 ft above mean sea level. The airplane climbed straight ahead until the end of the recovered data at 1011:37 at a GPS altitude of 1,829 ft. The indicated airspeed was more than groundspeed throughout the takeoff, consistent with a headwind; for example, at 1011:30, the indicated airspeed was 80 kts, and the groundspeed was 63 kts. 

Medical And Pathological Information

The Tarrant County Medical Examiner determined that the pilot's cause of death was massive blunt force trauma, and the manner was consistent with an accident. The report documented cardiomegaly (an enlarged heart) with moderate to severe coronary artery atherosclerosis but did not identify ischemic heart muscle damage. Tarrant County toxicology testing detected the potentially-impairing sedating antianxiety medication hydroxyzine at 8,298 ng/ml, the antidepressant medication venlafaxine at 20,393 ng/ml, and its metabolite norvenlafaxine at 784 ng/ml in cavity blood.

The FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, toxicology testing detected marijuana's potentially-impairing psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in lung at 1373 ng/ml, in brain at 22 ng/ml, in liver at 121 ng/ml, and in cavity blood at 56 ng/ml. Tetrahydrocannabinol carboxylic acid (THC-COOH), THC's primary inactive metabolite, was detected in the lung at 102 ng/ml, in brain at 25 ng/ml, in the liver at 1361 ng/ml, in urine at 807 ng/ml, and in cavity blood at 21ng/ml.

On his most recent FAA medical application, the pilot denied any medical concerns or the use of medications. Personal medical records from a January 2016 examination (about a month before his FAA medical review) documented a history of multiple psychiatric hospitalizations, recurrent major depression (currently mild), generalized anxiety disorder, and insomnia. His prescribed medications included bupropion (considered potentially impairing) and venlafaxine (generally not considered impairing) for depression and the potentially-impairing medications buspirone, clonazepam, and hydroxyzine for anxiety.

The 33-year-old male passenger was not a pilot. However, a flight training handbook was found in his belongings. The Tarrant County Medical Examiner determined the passenger's cause of death was massive blunt force trauma and the manner was consistent with an accident and did not identify any significant natural disease. Toxicology testing in two laboratories detected ethanol ranging from 0.126 - 0.127 g/dl in blood and 0.141 - 0.150 g/dl in vitreous. Ethanol is primarily a social drug that acts as a central nervous system depressant commonly found in beer, wine, and liquor. After ingestion and absorption, ethanol is quickly distributed throughout the body's tissues and fluids fairly uniformly. The distribution pattern parallels the water content and blood supply of each organ. It is also produced after death by microbial activity. In addition to impairing judgment, attention, and response times, ethanol, at doses between 0.06 gm/dL and 0.10 gm/dl blood alcohol concentration, significantly impairs the user's ability to maintain upright posture and balance. 

Additional Information

According to the airport manager at 4M1, the airplane arrived there about 1600 on Saturday, February 27, 2016. He stated that the pilot did not sound accustomed to aircraft radio phraseology, and the airplane made its approach well below glideslope, almost at the tree tops; he did not see the landing/rollout.

The airport manager reported that the pilot was the only person onboard and that the pilot told him that he had just arrived from Florida. The manager fueled the airplane with 12.5 gallons of 100 low lead aviation gasoline. The pilot remarked to the manager how little fuel he had burned since his takeoff from Florida, and he stated he was going to Las Vegas. The pilot purchased a quart of motor oil for the airplane. However, the manager did not see the pilot add the motor oil to the airplane, nor was there a used bottle in the trash receptacle on the aircraft parking ramp after the airplane departed about 1000 the next day (February 28, 2016). The airport manager observed the airplane depart with the pilot and a male passenger onboard. Again, the pilot sounded unfamiliar with radio usage and phraseology. The pilot asked where the airport's tower was located and requested the frequency for Razorback Approach.

The airplane departed on runway 25 into a left-quartering headwind of 11 kts gusting to 43 kts. The manager reported that it was "VERY windy" and it appeared that the pilot lifted the airplane off before developing enough ground roll/airspeed for a safe takeoff. The manager further reported that the climb out immediately after liftoff also appeared to be very uncoordinated. The airplane made a wide turn to the northwest, away from the wind, and continued the turn into a southeast heading. He indicated that the airplane's engine sounded normal.

The investigation was unable to determine which occupant was manipulating the flight controls during the accident flight.

NTSB Identification: CEN16FA114
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, March 01, 2016 in Abilene, TX
Aircraft: OHLGREN RV 6A, registration: N419B
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On March 1, 2016, about 0830 central standard time, an experimental amateur-built Ohlgren RV 6A airplane, N419B, impacted terrain during takeoff from runway 35 at the Elmdale Airpark (82TS), near Abilene, Texas. The airline transport pilot and his passenger were fatally injured. The impact with terrain destroyed the airplane. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations 91 personal flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed in area of the accident site about the time of the accident, and the flight was not operated on flight plan. The flight was destined for Henderson, Nevada, and was originating from 82TS at the time of the accident.

A witness at 82TS witnessed the takeoff. The witness picked the pilot and passenger up at a local hotel and brought them to 82TS. The pilot checked weather and preflighted the aircraft. According to the witness, the airplane taxied to the threshold of runway 35 and the pilot performed an engine run-up, which sounded normal. The airport windsock indicated winds from the north-northwest. After takeoff the airplane drifted slightly right (east) in a wings level climbing attitude. A turn to the west with a bank angle of more than 30 degrees began and the aircraft nose pitched up followed by an immediate nose down spin to the left. The aircraft then was out of sight due to a rise in terrain. The witness and another airport tenant drove to the site and observed that the accident airplane impacted terrain. A witness subsequently called 911.

The 63-year old pilot held a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airline transport pilot certificate with a multi-engine rating. He held commercial pilot privileges for single-engine land airplanes. He held an FAA second-class medical certificate dated February 16, 2016. The medical certificate had a limitation that the pilot must have glasses available for near vision.

N419B was an amateur-built experimental airplane constructed from a Van's Aircraft Inc. RV 6A kit, which was completed in 2001 and it had its special airworthiness certificate issued on August 4, 2001. The airplane was a single engine, low-wing monoplane, configured to seat two occupants in a side-by-side seating arrangement. It employed a tricycle landing gear arrangement and was constructed primarily from aluminum alloy materials. The airplane was powered by a 180-horsepower Lycoming O-360-C1G engine with serial number L-31710-36A. The airplane was equipped with a forward opening, tip-up canopy.

The airplane was equipped with a Dynon SkyView SV-D700 display unit. According to the Dynon user's guide, the display can act as a primary flight display with synthetic vision, an engine monitoring system, and a moving map in a variety of customizable screen layouts.

At 0752, the recorded weather at the Abilene Regional Airport, near Abilene, Texas, was: Wind 340 degrees at 12 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition clear; temperature 11 degrees C; dew point 2 degrees C; altimeter 30.10 inches of mercury.

The accident airport, 82TS, was a privately owned, private-use airport. Two runways, 18/36 and 17 /35 served the airport. Runway 17/35 was a 2,950 by 30 foot asphalt runway. The airport had 100 low lead fuel service.

The airplane came to rest upright about 189 feet and 330 degrees from the departure end of runway 36. The airplanes resting heading was about 360 degrees magnetic. The airplane's propeller and propeller flange separated from its crankshaft. The propeller was found imbedded in the ground about one foot below the surface. When removed the propeller blades exhibited chordwise abrasions and leading edge nicks. The engine mounts and engine cowling were deformed rearward and crushed consistent with the nose of the airplane impacting terrain. The leading edge of both wings exhibited aftward deformation consistent with a nose low impact with terrain. The cockpit canopy was found separated from the fuselage. The canopy's latch was found in the latched position and the latching assembly was deformed consistent with impact damage. The canopy handle was missing from its canopy handle block. The center section of the canopy handle block, which holds the canopy handle, exhibited a vertical tear where the canopy handle was housed. The empennage was attached to the fuselage and wrinkle deformation was observed at the juncture of the two. The left aileron separated from its wing.

An on-scene examination of the wreckage revealed that a liquid consistent with fuel was found in the fuel line routed to the engine driven fuel pump and in the line to the carburetor. The control stick was moved and the attached aileron and elevators moved accordingly. The rod end to the left aileron moved when the control stick was moved. The control cables at the rudder pedals were manipulated by hand and the rudder moved. Flight control continuity was established.

The right magneto was found separated from its accessory pad. Both of the engine's magnetos were removed from the wreckage and their ignition leads cut near their towers. Both magnetos were rotated by hand and sparks were observed at all ignition leads. The engine driven fuel pump sustained impact damage and its base was separated from its body. The engine driven fuel pump produced a suction when its slotted shaft was manipulated with a flat-bladed screwdriver. A liquid consistent with the smell of aviation gasoline subsequently exited the engine driven fuel pump fitting. Sparkplugs were removed. One spark plug was oil fouled and the remaining plugs exhibited a brown color consistent with normal combustion. The carburetor was removed from the intake. The carburetor's mounting base was fractured. The carburetor finger screen was removed and no debris was observed in the screen. The mixture and throttle cables were pulled in the cockpit and motion on the carburetor linkages was accordingly observed. The propeller control in the cockpit was pulled and motion on the governor linkage was accordingly observed. Engine control continuity was established.

The cover over the vacuum accessory pad was removed and a splined adapter tool was inserted in the pump drive base to turn the engine accessory gears. All cylinder rocker covers were removed. The engine produced a thumb compression at all cylinders when the adapter tool was rotated by hand. No rocker or valve movement anomalies were observed when the adapter tool was rotated. Crankshaft and camshaft continuity was established.

The Dynon display was removed from the wreckage and was retained and sent to the National Transportation Safety Board Recorder Laboratory to see if it contains recorded data in reference to the accident flight.



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

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

Location: Marshalltown, IA
Accident Number: CEN14LA472
Date & Time: 09/01/2014, 1740 CST
Registration: N419B
Aircraft: OHLGREN BRENT E RV-6A
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Fuel exhaustion
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

Analysis

The pilot said he visually checked and verified that the right wing fuel tank was just under half full and that the left wing fuel tank was just over half full prior to takeoff. As the airplane approached the destination, about 190 nm from the departure airport, the pilot decided to conduct a practice visual approach. Shortly after turning onto final approach, the engine lost power. After employing emergency procedures, the pilot was able to restore power and climbed the airplane to 3,100 feet. He then checked the fuel gauges, which both indicated one-eighth full. The engine then lost power a second time. The pilot made a forced landing in a bean field, and the airplane nosed over. During postaccident examination, no fuel sloshing could be heard when the wings were rocked; both wing fuel caps were then removed from the inverted airplane and no fuel leaked out. The airplane was righted, and when the master switch was turned on, the left fuel gauge was one needle-width above empty and the right fuel gauge indicated empty. The integrity of the fuel tanks appeared to be intact, and no fuel leaked from the tanks. No fuel was visible in either fuel tank. No fuel was recovered when the left and right wing fuel sump drains were removed. After adding fuel, the engine was started and ran at idle power until it was shut down.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
A loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion as a result of the pilot's misjudgment of the amount of fuel onboard prior to flight.

Findings

Aircraft
Fuel - Not serviced/maintained (Cause)

Personnel issues
Decision making/judgment - Pilot (Cause)
Preflight inspection - Pilot (Cause)

Factual Information

On September 1, 2014, about 1740 central standard time, the pilot of an Ohlgren Vans RV-6A, N419B, made a forced landing in a bean field after the engine lost power 5 miles south of the Marshalltown Municipal Airport (MIW), Marshalltown, Iowa. The pilot, the sole occupant on board, was not injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot as a personal flight under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan had been filed. The local flight originated from Marv Skie-Lincoln County Airport (Y14), Tea, South Dakota, about 1615.

The pilot said that prior to departing Y14, he visually checked and verified that the right wing fuel tank was "just under" half full and the left wing fuel tank was "just over" half full (a half-full tank contains 19 useable gallons). En route, the pilot switched tanks "multiple times." Approaching KMIW, the pilot decided he would practice a visual approach using the RNAV (GPS) RWY 31 instrument approach procedure. Shortly after turning onto final approach at VUNDY IAF (initial approach fix), the engine lost power. After employing emergency procedures, the pilot was able to restore power and climbed to 3,100 feet. He said he checked the fuel gauges and they both indicated 1/8-full. The engine lost power a second time. The pilot made a forced landing in a bean field and the airplane nose over.

On September 2, two airworthiness inspectors and an operations inspector from the Des Moines Flight Standards District Office went to the accident site. They reported the airplane was inverted and the vertical stabilizer and rudder were crushed. The right wing outboard leading edge and tip were crushed. The nose gear was bent. The inspectors rocked the wings rocked back and forth and could not hear any fuel sloshing. Both wing fuel caps were removed and no fuel leaked out.

On September 18, 2014, FAA inspectors returned to the accident site. A recovery crew was at the site and turned the aircraft over so that it was resting on its landing gear. With the master switch on, the left fuel gage was one needle-width above empty and the right fuel gage indicated empty. There was no dead or discolored vegetation around the airplane, and the integrity of the fuel tanks appeared intact. No fuel leaked from the tanks. No fuel was visible in either fuel tank. No fuel was recovered when the left and right wing fuel sump drains were removed.

Fuel was added to the right tank and the engine was started. It ran at an idle power for about 30 seconds before being shut down.

History of Flight

Maneuvering
Fuel exhaustion (Defining event)

Emergency descent
Off-field or emergency landing

Landing
Nose over/nose down

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 31
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 08/26/2014
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 01/08/2013
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 164 hours (Total, all aircraft), 36 hours (Total, this make and model), 116 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 17 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: OHLGREN BRENT E
Registration: N419B
Model/Series: RV-6A
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture:
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 21550
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 06/04/2014, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1750 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 13 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 377 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-360-C1G
Registered Owner: STONE JASON M
Rated Power: 180 hp
Operator: STONE JASON M
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KMIW, 975 ft msl
Observation Time:  CDT
Distance from Accident Site: 5 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 320°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 3800 ft agl
Temperature/Dew Point: 25°C / 17°C
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 14 knots, 290°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 29.81 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration:
Departure Point: Tea, SD (Y14)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Marshalltown, IA (KMIW)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1615 CST
Type of Airspace: Class E; Class G 

Airport Information

Airport: Marshalltown Municipal (LMIW)
Runway Surface Type: N/A
Airport Elevation: 975 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Unknown
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
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: 43.585000, -92.841944

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