Sunday, June 3, 2018

Steen Skybolt, N863SB: Accident occurred June 08, 2014 at Whifferdill Airport (TN77), Chapmansboro, Tennessee

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Nashville, Tennessee 
Continental Motors Inc.; Mobile, Alabama 

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

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

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

http://registry.faa.gov/N863SB



Location: Chapmansboro, TN
Accident Number: ERA14LA281
Date & Time: 06/08/2014, 1540 CDT
Registration: N863SB
Aircraft: BELEW MARSHALL D II STEEN SKYBOLT
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (partial)
Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

Analysis 

The pilot reported that he performed a preflight inspection with no anomalies noted. In addition, he performed an engine run-up, and everything was normal. During the initial climb, about 200 ft above ground level and just over the departure end of the runway, the pilot noticed that the airplane was not producing full power; witnesses corroborated that the engine lost partial power after the airplane reached the end of the runway. The pilot chose to return to the runway and performed a 180-degree turn. Once the airplane was over the runway centerline, the pilot attempted to add power; however, the engine did not respond. Witnesses reported that, as the airplane neared the runway, the pilot "flared too high" and that the airplane then "stalled," descended, and impacted the runway. A postimpact fire ensued. A postaccident examination of the engine revealed no evidence of mechanical failures or malfunctions that would have precluded normal operation. The reason for the partial loss of engine power could not be determined. 

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 airspeed while performing an emergency landing, which led to the airplane exceeding its critical angle-of-attack and experiencing a subsequent aerodynamic stall. Contributing to the accident was a partial loss of engine power for reasons that could not be determined during postaccident examinations. 

Findings

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

Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)

Not determined
Not determined - Unknown/Not determined (Factor)



Factual Information 

On June 8, 2014, about 1540 central daylight time, an experimental, amateur-built Steen Skybolt, N863SB, experienced a loss of engine power and impacted the runway at a private airstrip near Chapmansboro, Tennessee. The private pilot sustained serious injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the right wing and firewall. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the flight. The airplane was registered to a private individual and operating under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight, which was initiating at the time of the accident.

According to the pilot, he performed a preflight inspection with no anomalies noted. In addition, he sumped the fuel tanks with no debris noted in the fuel. He stated that he added about 5 gallons of fuel to make the fuel tanks approximately one-quarter full, which would have been "plenty" of fuel for the 15-20 minute intended flight. He turned on the fuel boost pump in order to start the engine, and then did not use it after the engine successfully started. After taxiing to runway 20, he performed an engine run up and everything was "fine." Then, after takeoff, during the initial climb, about 200 feet above ground level and over the departure end of the runway, the pilot noticed the engine was not producing full power. He elected to return to the runway and performed a 180-degree turn. Once over the centerline of the runway, the pilot attempted to add power, however, the engine did not respond. The airplane impacted the runway and a postimpact fire ensued.

According to witnesses, the airplane departed the private airstrip to the south. The engine ran "fine" until it reached the end of the runway, and then it began to run "rough." The airplane was about 300 feet above ground level when it lost partial power, and the pilot initiated a turn back to the runway. As the airplane neared the runway, the pilot "flared too high," the airplane "stalled," descended, impacted the grass strip, and a postimpact fire ensued.

A postaccident examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed that the airplane initially impacted the ground approximately 100 feet from where it came to rest on the turf runway. The fuselage, wings, and empennage were consumed by fire. The engine remained attached to the fuselage through the engine mounts.

The airplane was a single-place, welded tube fuselage, wooden wing biplane, with conventional type landing gear. According to FAA records, it was assembled in 2000 and registered to the pilot/owner in 2008. It was equipped with a Continental Motors, Inc. IO-470-L21B, 260 horsepower, engine. According to the pilot, the maintenance records were consumed by the postimpact fire. However, a mechanic that helped the owner maintain the airplane indicated that the engine had accumulated about 800 hours since overhaul.

The automated weather observation at Outlaw Field Airport (CKV), Clarksville, Tennessee, which was located 22 miles northwest of the accident location included wind from 360 degrees at 8 knots, visibility 10 miles, clouds broken at 4,000 feet above ground level, temperature 27 degrees C, dew point 16 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 29.94 inches of mercury.

The engine was examined on June 12, 2014, by a manufacturer representative under the supervision of an FAA inspector. The engine, fuel system, and ignition system components were heavily fire damaged, which precluded functional testing. However, crankshaft and camshaft continuity was obtained from the propeller flange back to the accessory section and out to the rocker arms and valves. The engine control cables remained attached to the engine although the support structure was consumed by fire. Overall, the inspection of the engine did not reveal any anomalies that would have prevented normal operation and production of rated horsepower. For more information concerning the inspection, a field inspection report for the engine can be found in the public docket for this case.

History of Flight

Initial climb
Loss of engine power (partial) (Defining event)

Emergency descent
Off-field or emergency landing
Loss of control in flight

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

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 61
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Unknown
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 08/31/2011
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: BELEW MARSHALL D II
Registration: N863SB
Model/Series: STEEN SKYBOLT
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2000
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 01
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats:
Date/Type of Last Inspection:
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer: CONT MOTOR
ELT:
Engine Model/Series: IO-470 SER
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 0 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: CKV, 550 ft msl
Observation Time: 1552 CDT
Distance from Accident Site: 22 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 315°
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Temperature/Dew Point: 27°C / 16°C
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 4000 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 8 knots, 360°
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 29.94 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Chapmansboro, TN (TN77)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Chapmansboro, TN (TN77)
Type of Clearance: Unknown
Departure Time: 1540 CDT
Type of Airspace:

Airport Information

Airport: WHIFFERDILL (TN77)
Runway Surface Type: Grass/turf
Airport Elevation: 622 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Unknown
Runway Used: 20
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:  3200 ft / 200 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 36.321667, -87.153056 (est)


Ray Williams

Local pilot Ray Williams, who lives in the Whifferdill Estates, said the pilot, William Alexander, had just taken off in a Skybolt experimental plane when the crash occurred. Williams was first on the scene, and he and two other men, Marty Williams and Eric Steer, pulled the pilot from the plane, which later burst into flames. "I got his seat belt off, but I couldn't lift him out of the plane," he said. "My son, Marty, was working in the back of the property, and he came up here to help." The pilot was alert when they pulled him from the plane, Williams said. Williams added the pilot told him the plane had some engine problems.


NTSB Identification: ERA14LA281
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, June 08, 2014 in Chapmansboro, TN
Aircraft: BELEW MARSHALL D II STEEN SKYBOLT, registration: N863SB
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 June 8, 2014, about 1540 central daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Steen Skybolt, N863SB, experienced a total loss of engine power during climb out, and impacted the runway at a private airstrip near Chapmansboro, Tennessee. The private pilot sustained serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local flight. The airplane was registered to, and operated by, a private individual under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight that was initiating at the time of the accident.

According to a witness, the airplane departed the private airstrip to the south, the engine lost power about 300 feet above ground level, and the pilot initiated a turn back to the runway. As the airplane neared the runway, the pilot "flared too high," the airplane descended, impacted the turf runway, and a postimpact fire ensued.

A postaccident examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed that the airplane initially impacted the ground approximately 100 feet prior to where it came to rest on the turf runway. The fuselage, wings, and empennage were consumed by fire. The engine remained attached to the fuselage and was retained for further examination.

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