Sunday, June 17, 2018

Aeronca 7BCM, N9098C: Accident occurred June 14, 2018 at Silver Wings Field Airport (55AR), Eureka Springs, Carroll County, Arkansas

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Little Rock, Arkansas

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Eureka Springs, AR
Accident Number: CEN18LA223
Date & Time: 06/14/2018, 1115 CDT
Registration: N9098C
Aircraft: AERONCA 7BCM
Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On June 14, 2018, about 1115 central daylight time, an Aeronca 7BCM single-engine airplane, N9098C, impacted terrain shortly after takeoff from Silver Wings Field Airport (55AR), Eureka Springs, Arkansas. The private pilot sustained serious injuries and the airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was owned and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight without a flight plan. The cross-country flight was originating at the time of the accident and had the intended destination of a private airstrip located near Excelsior Springs, Arkansas.

The accident occurred during the pilot's first flight after purchasing the airplane earlier that morning. He stated that the previous owner had refueled the airplane with 100 low lead aviation fuel before he arrived at the airport. The pilot stated that he did not identify any anomalies during his preflight inspection and brief orientation of the cockpit. He reported that the engine started normally and that he observed no anomalies during two separate engine runups that he completed before takeoff. He noted that he verified full engine speed, checked proper operation of both magnetos, and cycled the carburetor heat control during his engine runups. The pilot noted that his intention was to takeoff from runway 34 (1,900 ft by 65 ft, turf) and initially orbit the airport before continuing toward his final destination. The pilot reported that he made an uneventful takeoff and the airplane climbed above the trees located at the end of the runway; however, shortly after clearing the trees, the airplane sustained a sudden loss of engine power. The pilot stated that despite the engine partially running, it was unable to produce enough thrust to sustain level flight. The pilot reported that he immediately decided to return to the airport because there was only heavily wooded terrain ahead of the airplane's position. The pilot stated that he rolled the airplane into a steep left turn and about halfway through the 180° turn the airplane entered an aerodynamic stall at a low altitude. The pilot reported that the airplane impacted terrain in a left wing down, nose down attitude.

An onsite examination of the airplane was completed by an airworthiness inspector with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The FAA inspector reported that flight control continuity was established from the cockpit controls to the individual flight control surfaces. He observed fuel in the fuel filter assembly and the carburetor float bowl. The recovered fuel from the fuel filter assembly and carburetor float bowl was blue in color, had the odor of 100 low lead aviation fuel, and was not contaminated with water or particulate. The engine remained attached to the firewall through its mounts. The carburetor had separated from the engine crankcase during impact. Internal engine and valve train continuity were confirmed as the engine crankshaft was rotated. Compression and suction were noted on all cylinders in conjunction with crankshaft rotation. The upper spark plugs were removed and exhibited features consistent with normal engine operation. Both magnetos provided spark as the engine crankshaft was rotated. The propeller remained attached to the engine crankshaft flange. Both propeller blades exhibited S-shape bends, blade twisting, leading edge gouging, and chordwise burnishing.

A review of available maintenance documentation revealed that the last annual inspection was completed on October 21, 2016. The pilot, who also held an aviation mechanic certificate with inspector authorization, did not apply for a ferry flight permit before the flight.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: AERONCA
Registration: N9098C
Model/Series: 7BCM
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: ROG, 1359 ft msl
Observation Time: 1058 CDT
Distance from Accident Site: 20 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 31°C / 21°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 11 knots / , 230°
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility:  10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.05 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Eureka Springs, AR (55AR)
Destination: Excelsior Spring, MO (PVT) 

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:  36.429722, -93.695556 (est)

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