Sunday, October 14, 2018

Grumman American AA-1B, N8866L: Fatal accident occurred August 29, 2017 near Portland Municipal Airport (1M5), Sumner County, Tennessee

Harold "Ray" McKissack 

Raferal Johnson

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Nashville, Tennessee
Lycoming; Atlanta, Georgia

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/N8866L



Location: Portland, TN
Accident Number: ERA17FA299
Date & Time: 08/29/2017, 1920 CDT
Registration: N8866L
Aircraft: GRUMMAN AA1
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Fuel exhaustion
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On August 29, 2017, about 1920 central daylight time, a Grumman AA-1B, N8866L, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain while approaching Portland Municipal Airport (1M5), Portland, Tennessee. The private pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was owned and operated by the pilot in accordance with the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight. The flight originated from 1M5 about 1831.

A student pilot, who was the pilot's grandson, flew the airplane 2 days before the accident flight. The student pilot stated that he completely fueled the airplane that day and then flew to Gallatin, Tennessee, to pick up his flight instructor for training. They flew for about 1.4 hours that day. The student pilot stated that the pilot did not purchase fuel before his accident flight, and no one else flew the airplane between the two flights.

Several witnesses reported seeing the airplane as it flew "low" shortly before the accident. They generally described that after it contacted the treetops it impacted the ground in a nose-down attitude.

A Garmin 196 GPS was recovered from the wreckage and sent to the National Transportation Safety Board Vehicle Recorders Laboratory for data download. Review of the data revealed that the airplane departed 1M5, flew south, and circled the city of Gallatin, Tennessee, before returning to 1M5. The last recorded position was about 0.5 miles south of the threshold of runway 1. According to the data, the duration of the accident flight was 0.83 hour.



PERSONNEL INFORMATION

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. He held an FAA third-class medical certificate issued September 23, 2015, limited by a requirement to have available glasses for near vision. At the time of the medical examination, the pilot reported 450 total hours of flight experience. The pilot's logbook was not recovered.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane was issued an airworthiness certificate on October 20, 1976. According to the FAA type certificate data sheet for the Grumman AA-1B, the airplane was originally equipped with a 108-horsepower Lycoming O-235-C2C engine driving a two-bladed McCauley 1A105 SCM 7157 propeller. The engine had been replaced with a 150-horsepower Lycoming O-320-A2B engine driving a two-bladed Sensenich 74DM6-0-60 propeller.

According to FAA registration records, the pilot purchased the airplane on September 2, 2014.

According to the airplane's maintenance logbooks, the last annual inspection was completed on November 11, 2016. At that time, the airframe had accumulated a total time of 1,744.5 hours; the engine total time was 2,722.5 hours with 522.5 hours since overhaul. At the time of the accident, the recorded tachometer time was 1,786.4 hours.

The airframe maintenance logbook available for review was labeled "Book #2 Feb. 1999." The first page in this logbook indicated that the airplane was equipped with a Lycoming O-320-A2B engine. It is unknown when the O-235-C2C engine was removed and the O-320-A2B engine installed. An updated pilot operating handbook or operating handbook supplement that would have provided fuel consumption figures for the higher horsepower engine was not located.

A review of the Grumman American AA-1B Owner's Manual revealed that the airplane held 22 gallons of useable fuel. When equipped with the original O-235-L2C engine, the airplane consumed 5.3 gallons of fuel per hour at 2,500 ft and 64% cruise power, and the fuel endurance at this altitude and power setting was 3.9 hours. The Lycoming Operations Manual for the O-320-series engine stated that the engine consumed 10 gallons of fuel per hour at 75% rated power settings and 8.8 gallons per hour at 65% rated power settings.



METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 1953, the recorded weather at Bowling Green-Warren County Regional Airport (BWG), located 23 miles north of the accident site, included wind calm, visibility 10 statute miles, and scattered clouds at 4,600 ft.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The accident site was about 2,500 ft from the threshold of runway 1 and 200 ft to the left of the runway centerline. The debris path was about 200 ft long from initial impact with 60-ft-tall trees to the main wreckage on a heading of 060° magnetic. A ground scar consistent with the engine and propeller was observed about 85 ft from the initial tree strike. The airplane came to rest upright on the landing gear on a heading of 240° magnetic. Flight control continuity was established to all flight controls.

The right wing separated and came to rest beside the main wreckage. The right fuel tank was crushed, and the fuel cap was missing. The right fuel tank appeared to be breached; however, there was no fuel odor or browning of vegetation. The left wing remained attached to the fuselage. The flap and aileron remained attached to the wing and were intact. The fuel tank was intact and not breeched. There was no fuel in the left tank. The fuel drain line was opened, and no fuel was present in the lines. The fuel selector valve was in the left tank detent. The electric boost pump filter was removed, and less than 1 teaspoon of fuel was captured. The mixture and throttle controls were full forward.

The fuselage and cockpit were substantially damaged. The canopy was shattered except for the sliding rails mounted on the fuselage. The seat belts were intact, and the pilot's seat belts were still connected. The passenger's seat belts were not connected, and there were no tears or stretch marks in the belt webbing.

The engine remained attached the fuselage. The engine was removed and placed on a lift for examination and partial disassembly. The top spark plugs were removed, and the engine was rotated by hand. Thumb compression was achieved on all cylinders. Continuity was established between the crankshaft to the rear gears and to the valvetrain. The cylinders were examined using a borescope, and no anomalies were noted. The propeller remained attached to the engine, however the propeller flange was fractured. One propeller blade was bent aft, and the spinner dome was crushed and fragmented. Neither of the propeller blades exhibited leading edge gouging or chordwise scratching.

The examination of the wreckage did not reveal evidence of any preimpact mechanical malfunctions.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Office of the Medical Examiner, Nashville, Tennessee, performed an autopsy on the pilot. The report listed the cause of death as multiple blunt force injuries.

The FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed forensic toxicology on specimens from the pilot. Citalopram was detected in urine and blood (0.411 µg/ml); N-Desmethylcitalopram was detected in urine and blood (0.083 µg/ml); and Verapamil and norverapamil were detected in the urine and blood.

Citalopram is an antidepressant medication also marketed with the name Celexa; N-Desmethylcitalopram is a metabolite of citalopram. Although not considered impairing by itself, the use of citalopram by pilots requires a special issuance medical certificate because the underlying depression can cause cognitive impairments. The pilot did not report the use of citalopram to the FAA at the time of his last medical examination. Verapamil is a prescription blood pressure medication that is not considered impairing. Norverapamil is a metabolite of verapamil. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 67, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Sea
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 09/23/2015
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 450 hours (Total, all aircraft), 250 hours (Total, this make and model) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: GRUMMAN
Registration: N8866L
Model/Series: AA1 B
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1976
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: AA1B0666
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 11/11/2016, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1561 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 42 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 1786.4 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C91  installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: O-320-A2B
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 150 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: KBWG, 537 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 23 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 0053 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 6°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 4600 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 6500 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Calm /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: /
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 29.98 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 26°C / 19°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Portland, TN (1M5)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Portland, TN (1M5)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1831 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: PORTLAND MUNI (1M5)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 817 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 01
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 5000 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 36.584722, -86.477500



NTSB Identification: ERA17FA299
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, August 29, 2017 in Portland, TN
Aircraft: GRUMMAN AA1, registration: N8866L
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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 either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On August 29, 2017 about 1957 central daylight time, a Grumman AA-1B, N8866L, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain while on approach to the Portland Municipal Airport (1M5), Portland, Tennessee. The private pilot and passenger were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the flight that departed Lebanon Municipal Airport (M54), Lebanon, Tennessee about 1940. The airplane was owned and operated by the private pilot as a personal flight in accordance with the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

Several witnesses stated they saw the airplane on approach coming in low, contact some tree tops and impact the ground.

The debris path was approximately 200 ft long from initial tree impact to the main wreckage on a heading of 060° magnetic. The accident site was about 2,500 ft from the runway threshold and 200 ft to the left of centerline. The airplane contacted tree tops about 60 ft above the ground. It then traveled approximately 225 ft, and impacted terrain. The right wing separated and came to rest beside the main wreckage. A ground scar consistent with the engine and propeller was observed about 85 ft from the initial tree strike. The airplane cartwheeled and came to rest upright on the landing gear, on a heading of 240° magnetic. Flight control continuity was established to all flight controls.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. He held an FAA third-class medical certificate, issued September 23, 2015. At the time of the medical examination the pilot reported 450 total hours of flight experience.

According to the aircraft log book, the last annual inspection was performed on November 11, 2016. At that time, the airframe had accumulated a total time of 1744.5 hours, and the engine total time was 2722.5 hours, with 522.5 hours since overhaul. The airplane was issued an airworthiness certificate on October 20, 1976. The airplane was powered by a Lycoming O-320-A2B, 150 horsepower engine and driving a two-bladed Sensenich propeller. At the time of the accident, the recorded tachometer time was 1786.4.

The airplane was retained for further investigation.

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