Sunday, February 10, 2019

Loss of Engine Power (Partial): Cessna 152, N4886B; accident occurred December 17, 2018 in Belle Glade, Palm Beach County, Florida

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Miramar, Florida

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Location: Bell Glade, FL
Accident Number: ERA19LA069
Date & Time: 12/17/2018, 1210 EST
Registration: N4886B
Aircraft: Cessna 152
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (partial)
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On December 17, 2018, about 1210 eastern standard time, a Cessna 152, N4886B, was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Bell Glade, Florida. The private pilot and pilot-rated passenger were uninjured. The airplane was registered to Troupial Aviation and operated by Orange Wings Aviation as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident and no flight plan was filed for the flight. The flight originated from Lakeland Linder Regional Airport (LAL), Lakeland, Florida around 1035 and was destined for Pompano Beach Airpark (PMP), Pompano Beach, Florida.

According to the pilot, they departed LAL and climbed to a cruise altitude of 5,500 ft mean sea level (msl) for the flight to PMP. After the initial descent and level-off at 2,500 msl, the engine gradually began losing power. The pilot applied carburetor heat which initially restored cruise power. Several minutes later another partial loss of engine power occurred, accompanied by engine vibration. The pilot applied carburetor heat, however the engine continued to lose power and the airplane was unable to maintain altitude. He declared an emergency and elected to execute a forced landing to a plowed field. During the landing rollout, the airplane nosed over shortly after the nosewheel made ground contact.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) first-class medical certificate was issued January 6, 2017, with the limitation "must wear corrective lenses." A review of the pilot's logbook revealed 66.3 total hours of flight experience, all of which were in the accident airplane make and model.

Examination of the wreckage by an FAA inspector revealed that the airplane came to rest inverted at the edge of the field. The top third of the vertical stabilizer was fractured and bent about 80° to the left. The right horizontal stabilizer and elevator were impact damaged. One propeller was bent aft with little or no chordwise scratching.

The engine was examined at the direction and under the supervision of an FAA inspector after it was recovered to the operator's facility. During the examination the inspector noted that the No. 1 intake valve was found stuck in the valve guide, and that the upper valve spring seat on the No. 1 cylinder was broken. The cylinder was retained for further examination.

The No. 1 cylinder and components, including valves, valve springs, valve spring seats and valve keepers, were sent to the National Transportation Safety Board's Materials Laboratory for examination. The examination revealed contact marks on the interior and end faces of the valve keeper consistent with engine operation with a dislodged keeper while the valve spring seat was intact. The examination also noted pitting and radial cracks on the intake valve head, consistent with engine operation while the valve was not seating properly. The strength of the valve springs was checked and found to be within serviceable limits. A normal rocker arm contact wear pattern was not present on the valve tip. More information can be found in the Materials Laboratory Factual Report in the public docket for this investigation.

According to FAA airworthiness records, the airplane was manufactured in 1979. It was equipped with a Lycoming O-235-L2C, 115-horsepower engine that drove a fixed-pitch propeller. According to engine maintenance logbooks, a field overhaul was performed on the engine on March 8, 2016, at a tachometer time of 2,984.3 hours, with "unknown" total hours noted for the engine. The logs indicated that the engine time was "returned to zero" at the conclusion this field overhaul and the logbook endorsement sticker for the overhaul was partially obscured and incomplete. Following the overhaul, the No. 2 cylinder was replaced August 28, 2018, due to a cracked exhaust valve. The most recent 100-hour inspection was completed on November 16, 2018. At that time, the airframe had accumulated 3,657.9 total hours of operation and the engine had accumulated 1,326.4 hours since the overhaul. According to the Lycoming Operator's Manual, the following maintenance check should be made after every 400 hours of operation: "Valve Inspection – Remove rocker box covers and check for freedom of valve rockers when valves are closed. Look for evidence of abnormal wear or broken parts in the area of the valve tips, valve keeper, springs and spring seat. If any indications are found, the cylinder and all of its components should be removed (including the piston and connecting rod assembly) and inspected for further damage." There was no evidence in the engine logbooks indicating that this inspection had been completed. A separate log maintained by the operator showed that the airplane had flown about 45 hours since the last inspection.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 21, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed:No 
Medical Certification: Class 1 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 01/06/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  68.8 hours (Total, all aircraft), 68.8 hours (Total, this make and model), 28.4 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 68.8 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 49.5 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Pilot-Rated Passenger Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 19, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 1 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 04/12/2018
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  106.1 hours (Total, all aircraft), 106.1 hours (Total, this make and model), 50.6 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 46.7 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 26.4 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N4886B
Model/Series: 152 No Series
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1979
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Utility
Serial Number: 152-83691
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 11/16/2018, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1669 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 13 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 14845.3 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT:  C91  installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: O-235-L2C
Registered Owner: Troupial Aviation, Inc.
Rated Power: 115 hp
Operator: Orange Wings Aviation Academy
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KBCT, 13 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 24 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1253 EST
Direction from Accident Site: 101°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling:None 
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 10 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 310°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.09 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 21°C / 12°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Lakeland, FL (KLAL)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Pompano Beach, FL (KPMP)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1035 EST
Type of Airspace: Class E

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 26.451111, -80.537778

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