Sunday, March 18, 2018

Titan T-51 Mustang, N651P: Accident occurred October 28, 2017 at Chandler Municipal Airport (KCHD), Maricopa County, Arizona

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Scottsdale, Arizona

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/N651P




Location: Chandler, AZ
Accident Number: WPR18CA028
Date & Time: 10/28/2017, 1410 MST
Registration: N651P
Aircraft: STILL MICHAEL J TITAN T-51
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Controlled flight into terr/obj (CFIT)
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

Analysis

The pilot reported that, while on final approach, after passing over the airport perimeter fence, the engine lost power. The airplane had a high descent rate, impacted the ground about 100 ft from the approach end of the runway, and slid to a stop about 3 ft from the runway threshold.

Postaccident examination revealed that the instrument panel layout had the flap position buttons adjacent to the unguarded engine control switches. The pilot reported that, while on final approach, he inadvertently contacted the engine control unit (ECU) toggle switch while he was positioning the flaps, which shut down the engine. Engine download data indicated that the ECU was turned off while on short final.

The fuselage and inboard wing spar structure were substantially damaged.

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

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's inadvertent contact with the engine control unit toggle switch during flight, which resulted in the engine shutting down. 

Findings

Aircraft
Aircraft power plant - Unintentional use/operation (Cause)
Switching - Design

Personnel issues
Incorrect action selection - Pilot (Cause)

Environmental issues
Terrain - Contributed to outcome

Factual Information

History of Flight

Approach-VFR pattern final
Loss of engine power (total)
Controlled flight into terr/obj (CFIT) (Defining event)

The pilot reported that while on final approach, after passing over the airport perimeter fence, the engine lost power. The airplane had a high rate of descent, impacted the ground about 100 ft from the approach end of the runway, and slid to a stop about three feet from the runway threshold.

During the postaccident examination, it was found that the instrument panel layout had the flap position buttons adjacent to the unguarded engine control switches. The pilot reported that while on final approach, he inadvertently made contact with the engine control unit (ECU) toggle switch while he was positioning the flaps, which shut the engine down. Engine download data indicated that the ECU was turned off while on short final.

The fuselage and inboard wing spar structure were substantially damaged.

The pilot reported that there were no pre-accident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airframe or engine that would have precluded normal operation. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 73
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Center
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 5-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed:
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 02/25/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 06/14/2017
Flight Time: 649 hours (Total, all aircraft), 49 hours (Total, this make and model), 573 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 8 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: STILL MICHAEL J
Registration: N651P
Model/Series: TITAN T-51 NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2016
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 055
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 05/01/2017,
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1850 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 27.4 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Suzuki
ELT: C126 installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: V6 4L
Registered Owner: Michael J Still
Rated Power: 186 hp
Operator: Michael J Still
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KCHD, 1243 ft msl
Observation Time: 2034 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 50°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Temperature/Dew Point: 31°C / -3°C
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting:  29.85 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Mesa, AZ (FFZ)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Chandler, AZ (CHD)
Type of Clearance: VFR
Departure Time: 2010
Type of Airspace: Class D 

Airport Information

Airport: Chandler Municipal (CHD)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 1243 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 04L
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 4401 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing; Full Stop; Traffic Pattern 

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:  33.264167, -111.820000

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