Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Zenair CH-601 HDS Zodiac, N1041N, registered to and operated by a private individual: Accident occurred May 11, 2017 in Orangeville, Stephenson County, Illinois

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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Dupage, Illinois
Rotax Aircraft engines - Rotech Flight Safety; BC 

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/N1041N

Location: Orangeville, IL
Accident Number: CEN17LA180
Date & Time: 05/11/2017, 1945 CDT
Registration: N1041N
Aircraft: BROKAW BERGON F ZODIAC
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (total)
Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

Analysis 

The pilot returned to a private airstrip after a 35-minute flight and planned to perform a touch-and-go takeoff. However, after takeoff and while climbing, the engine started to run rough and then lost power. The pilot selected a field for the forced landing, during which the airplane impacted terrain hard and then came to rest upright.

An examination of the airplane revealed that the right fuel tank appeared empty, that fuel was visible in the left tank, and that only residual fuel remained in the header tank, which was breached during the accident. A fuel pump circuit breaker was found open, and the fuel selector was found in the "off" position. The examination of the engine revealed that the engine's three-bladed propeller did not exhibit rotational signatures, indicating that the engine was not running at impact. The spark plugs were removed and appeared normal. The engine was then rotated by hand, and thumb compression and continuity through the drive/valve train were established. Both carburetor float bowls were removed and were empty of fuel; no contaminants or obstructions were noted. The gascolator was removed, and only a small amount of fuel was found; the fuel pump was removed, and only minimal fuel was found.

An engine test run was then conducted at power, and the engine ran for several minutes; no anomalies were noted. The fuel source was removed to see how long the engine would run on the residual fuel in the system. Within several minutes, the engine began running rough and then lost power. A postrun examination of the carburetor float bowls, fuel pump, and gascolator revealed an absence of fuel in each, similar to their condition before the engine test run. The accident is consistent with fuel starvation, likely due to the fuel not transferring from a wing fuel tank to the header tank, either due to an open fuel pump circuit or because the right wing fuel tank was empty.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The total loss of engine power due to fuel starvation.

Findings

Aircraft
Fuel - Fluid level (Cause)
Fuel distribution - Not specified

Factual Information 

On May 11, 2017, about 1945 central daylight time, a Brokaw Bergon Zodiac airplane, N1041N conducted a forced landing near Orangeville, Illinois. The pilot received serious injuries and the airplane was substantially damaged during the accident. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time.

The pilot reported that he had flown for 35 minutes and planned to do another takeoff and landing at his private airstrip. Just after the takeoff and while he was in the climb, the engine started to run rough and then lost power. The pilot selected a hay field for the forced landing; however, the airplane impacted terrain hard and came then to rest up-right.

The responding Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector noted substantial damage to the airplane's fuselage and wings. The right wing fuel tank appeared empty, fuel was visible in the left wing fuel tank, and only residual fuel remained in the header tank, which appeared to have been breached during the impact. A fuel pump circuit breaker was also open, and the fuel selector was in the off position.

The airplane was recovered to the pilot's hangar, and an examination was conducted by an FAA inspector and a technical representative from the engine manufacturer on May 20, 2017. The engine's three bladed propeller (with one broken blade) was absent rotational signatures; the sparkplugs were removed and appeared normal. The engine was then rotated by hand and a thumb compression and continuity check through the drive/valve train was established. Both carburetor float bowls were removed and were empty of fuel; no contaminants or obstructions were noted. The gascolator was removed and only a small amount of fuel was found.

The fuel line to the gascolator was then placed in a container of automobile fuel. The engine was then started and run to power for several minutes; no abnormalities were noted. With the fuel source removed, the engine ran rough, then lost power. A post run examination of the carburetor float bowls, fuel pump, and gascolator found levels of fuel similar to that found prior to the engine run. 

History of Flight

Initial climb
Fuel starvation
Loss of engine power (total) (Defining event)

Landing
Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT) 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 53
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Sport Pilot Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 04/03/2007
Flight Time:  560 hours (Total, all aircraft), 97 hours (Total, this make and model) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: BROKAW BERGON F
Registration: N1041N
Model/Series: ZODIAC HD
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1997
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 6-3013-HDS
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats:
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 03/21/2010, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 196.6 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: BOMBARDIER
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: ROTAX 912
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 80 hp
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: KFEP
Observation Time: 1955 CDT
Distance from Accident Site:
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Temperature/Dew Point: 17°C / 12°C
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 4800 ft agl
Visibility: 10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 3 knots, 120°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 29.97 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Precipitation
Departure Point: Orangeville, IL
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Orangeville, IL
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time:  CDT
Type of Airspace: 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 42.472500, -89.648333 (est)

NTSB Identification: CEN17LA180
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, May 11, 2017 in Orangeville, IL
Aircraft: BROKAW BERGON F ZODIAC, registration: N1041N
Injuries: 1 Serious.

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 may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On May 11, 2017, about 1945 central daylight time, a Brokaw Bergon Zodiac airplane, N1041N conducted a forced landing near Orangeville, Illinois. The private rated pilot received serious injuries and the airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time. 

Initial information from the responding Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, indicated the pilot was on a return flight. During cruise, the engine lost power, and the pilot selected a hay field for the forced landing. The airplane landed hard and came to rest up right. The inspector noted substantial damage to the airplane's fuselage and fuel was present on site. 

The airplane was retained for further examination.

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