Sunday, September 30, 2018

Bede BD-5B, N604KA: Accident occurred May 26, 2017 near Portland Municipal Airport (KPLD), Jay County, Indiana

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Indianapolis, Indiana

Aviation Accident Factual 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/N604KA

Location: Portland, IN
Accident Number: CEN17LA205
Date & Time: 05/26/2017, 1720 EDT
Registration: N604KA
Aircraft: AMSTUTZ CURTIS J BD-5B
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (total)
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Flight Test 

On May 26, 2017, at 1720 eastern daylight time, an Amstutz BD-5B amateur built airplane, N604KA, was involved in an off airport forced landing, following a loss of engine power in Portland, Indiana. The pilot was not injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to and operated by an individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an engineering test flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not operated on a flight plan. The local flight originated from the Portland Municipal Airport (PLD), Portland, Indiana, at 1650.

The pilot reported the airplane had 5.8 flight hours since he completed building it and the purpose of the flight was to obtain rate of climb data. Following the 6th climb, while at an altitude of 3,500 ft above mean seal level, the engine began to run rough. The pilot entered a left downwind at PLD and descended for a landing approach. The pilot reported he switched fuel tanks and performed a magneto check, neither of which corrected the engine roughness. The pilot noticed the cylinder head temperature and the exhaust gas temperature for the No. 1 cylinder decreased, indicating the No. 1 cylinder was not firing. As he turned onto base leg, the engine lost all power. The pilot realized he was not going to be able to make it to the runway, so he selected a field in which to land. The field contained 3 ft tall vegetation and was soft from recent rain. About 170 ft into the landing roll, the landing gear collapsed, and the airplane ground looped which resulted in damage to the flaps, ailerons, and horizontal stabilator.

The airplane was equipped with a 2-cycle, 2-cylinder Hirth 3203E engine. A postaccident inspection of the engine by the pilot revealed there were separated wires in the connectors between the engine control unit (ECU) and the fuel injectors for both the No. 1 and No. 2 cylinders. The wires for the No. 1 cylinder connector appeared to be crimped properly with the insulation reaching the crimped connector. The pilot tugged on the wire and about 1/2 inch of the copper wire came out of the insulation. The pilot removed the connector for the No. 2 cylinder and found a broken wire at the splice connector that he had installed the month prior to the accident.

The pilot stated that the engine was about 15 years old, even though the engine had 15 hours of total operating time. It is unknown when the No. 1 cylinder connector was installed on the engine. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 48, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Center
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 4-point
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: 03/21/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:   212 hours (Total, all aircraft), 6 hours (Total, this make and model), 183 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: AMSTUTZ CURTIS J
Registration: N604KA
Model/Series: BD-5B
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2016
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 1
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 1
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 09/26/2016, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 800 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 5.8 Hours
Engine Manufacturer: Hirth
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: 3203E
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 65 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: PLD, 925 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1630 EDT
Direction from Accident Site: 240°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 7000 ft agl
Visibility: 10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 6 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: / None
Wind Direction: 200°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 29.84 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 24°C / 15°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Portland, IN (PLD)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Portland, IN (PLD)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1650 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class E 

Airport Information

Airport: Portland Municipal (PLD)
Runway Surface Type: N/A
Airport Elevation: 925 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Wet
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: 40.451944, -84.979722 (est)

NTSB Identification: CEN17LA205
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, May 26, 2017 in Portland, IN
Aircraft: AMSTUTZ CURTIS J BD-5B, registration: N604KA
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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 26, 2017, at 1720 eastern daylight time, an Amstutz BD-5B amateur built airplane, N604KA, was involved in an off airport forced landing, following a loss of engine power in Portland, Indiana. The pilot was not injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to and operated by an individual under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an engineering test flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which was not operated on a flight plan. The local flight originated from the Portland Municipal Airport (PLD), Portland, Indiana, at 1650.

The pilot reported the airplane had about 6 flight hours since he completed building it and the purpose of the flight was to obtain rate of climb data. Following the 6th climb, while at an altitude of 3,500 ft above mean seal level, the engine began to run rough. The pilot entered a left downwind and descended for a landing approach. The pilot reported he switched fuel tanks and performed a magneto check, neither of which corrected the engine roughness. As he turned onto base leg, the engine lost all power. The pilot realized he was not going to be able to make it to the runway, so he selected a field in which to land. The field was soft from recent rain and it contained 3 ft tall vegetation. About 170 feet into the landing roll, the landing gear collapsed and the airplane ground looped before coming to rest.

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