Thursday, February 14, 2019

Loss of Engine Power (partial): Rand KR-2, N269HJ, accident occurred June 30, 2017 at Skypark Estates Airpark (18FD), Baker, Okaloosa County, Florida

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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Birmingham, Alabama
Continental Motors Group; 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/N269HJ



Location: Baker, FL
Accident Number: ERA17LA220
Date & Time: 06/30/2017, 1238 EDT
Registration: N269HJ
Aircraft: Nunley KR2
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (partial)
Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

Analysis 

The commercial pilot was preparing to fly the experimental amateur-built airplane on a local, Phase 1 test flight. The pilot reported that ground operations were normal, including the engine run-up. Shortly after takeoff, about halfway down the runway, the engine sputtered, hesitated, and then lost partial power. The pilot had passed the point at which he could land the airplane straight ahead on the runway, so he looked for a place to conduct a forced landing. During the forced landing, he turned the airplane to avoid nearby houses and then steepened the turn due to wind that was pushing the airplane left. The airplane subsequently collided with the ground and fragmented into multiple sections. The pilot did not recall the impact sequence due to injuries he sustained during the accident.

The fragmentation of the airframe was consistent with an in-flight loss of airplane control before ground impact. Examination of the engine, including a full disassembly, did not reveal evidence of any preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures 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:
A partial loss of engine power for reasons that could not be determined because postaccident examination of the engine revealed no evidence of any preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.

Findings

Not determined
Not determined - Unknown/Not determined (Cause)


Factual Information

On June 30, 2017, about 1238 eastern daylight time, an experimental, amateur-built KR2, N269HJ, was destroyed following a collision with terrain at Skypark Estates Airpark (18FD), Baker, Florida. The commercial pilot was seriously injured. The airplane was operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations part 91 as a personal flight. Day, visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight that was originating at the time of the accident.

The pilot reported that he was preparing for a local flight as part of the 40-hr phase I test period. The airplane had a total of 12 hours accumulated time and he was the registered builder of the airplane. The preflight operations were normal, he performed an engine run-up, and taxied to the end of the runway for departure. The fuel tank contained 10 gallons of fuel. The takeoff was normal until about half way down the runway, when the engine "sputtered and hesitated" and lost power. He was past the point where he could land on the runway, so he looked for a place to perform a forced landing. He initiated a right turn to avoid nearby houses, but, the wind was out of the north and pushed him to the left. He steepened the turn; however, he realized he needed more power to remain airborne. He stated that the engine never stopped running, but it was not producing enough power. He did not recall the actual impact due to his injuries.

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate for rotorcraft and gyroplane. He did not hold an airplane single-engine landrating. He stated in an interview that he was ready to take his sport pilot certificate check ride; however, he was unable to complete it due to weather cancelations. He reported 2,000 hours total flight time, including 500 hours in "ultralights."

A witness was on the airfield and observed the airplane as it took off on runway 27. About 300 to 500 ft agl, after takeoff, the engine sputtered and changed sound. This occurred as the pilot began a 45º climbing turn to the right. The pilot then began a "tight" turn to the left and the airplane descended toward the ground. The witness reported that the engine appeared to be running throughout the accident sequence and may have been near idle power during the descent.

An inspector with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) responded to the accident site and examined the wreckage. The wings separated from the airframe and were found fragmented. The engine, firewall, and propeller separated from the forward fuselage. The empennage remained attached to the aft fuselage. There was no fire.

The engine was examined by an FAA inspector and a representative from the engine manufacturer. The engine exhibited impact damage predominantly on the under and left sides. The two-blade, fixed pitch, wooden propeller remained attached to the hub and the hub remained attached to the crankshaft. The propeller blades were shattered into numerous pieces.

The carburetor exhibited impact damage. It was broken free from the induction system and the inlet fuel line was separated. The throttle control arm was found loose on the throttle control shaft; however, there was impact damage to the area and the pre-accident condition could not be determined. The carburetor was disassembled, and the internal components were undamaged. The fuel inlet screen was clean.

The left magneto remained attached to the engine with impact damage evident to the distributor section. When rotated manually, it would produce spark on one post. It was removed and examined; the distributor was impact-damaged, and the distributor gear was displaced from impact forces. The right magneto was undamaged and remained attached to the engine. It was rotated manually and produced spark on all leads and in the correct order.

The top spark plugs were removed for examination. The bottom spark plugs exhibited impact damage. The top plug electrodes exhibited minimal wear and light gray color when compared to a Champion inspection chart.

The engine was rotated manually; internal continuity was confirmed, and compression and suction were observed on the No. 1 and No. 3 cylinders. Internal inspection of the cylinder components revealed normal operating and wear signatures. The No. 2 cylinder exhibited impact damage. Further disassembly revealed a fractured mounting stud under the intake valve and the exhaust valve was stuck in the open position. The mounting stud was determined to be from the carburetor and showed signatures of separation during the impact sequence. The exhaust valve was removed and was bent from impact. The No. 4 cylinder also exhibited impact damage to the head with damage to the valves. Other than impact damage, the internal components of the No. 2 and No. 4 cylinders revealed normal operating and wear signatures.

History of Flight

Initial climb
Loss of engine power (partial) (Defining event)
Loss of control in flight
Off-field or emergency landing
Other weather encounter

Uncontrolled descent

Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)



Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 49, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Gyroplane; Helicopter
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Helicopter
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 05/12/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: 2000 hours (Total, all aircraft), 12 hours (Total, this make and model)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Nunley
Registration: N269HJ
Model/Series: KR2
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2017
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 8362
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection:
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1100 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines:  1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: O-170
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power:
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: CEW, 213 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 9 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1753 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 120°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 2700 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Light and Variable /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: / None
Wind Direction: Variable
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.09 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 32°C / 25°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Baker, FL (18FD)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Baker, FL (18FD)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1238 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Skypark Estates Airpark (18FD)
Runway Surface Type: Grass/turf
Airport Elevation: 250 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 27
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3015 ft / 150 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 30.854167, -86.667222 (est)



NTSB Identification: ERA17LA220
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, June 30, 2017 in Baker, FL
Aircraft: Nunley KR2, registration: N269HJ
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 30, 2017, about 1238 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built KR2, N269HJ, was destroyed following a collision with terrain at Skypark Estates Airpark (18FD), Baker, Florida. The commercial pilot was seriously injured. The airplane was operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations part 91 as a personal flight. Day, visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight.

A witness was on the airfield and observed the airplane as it took off on runway 27. About 300 to 500 ft agl, after takeoff, the engine sputtered and changed sound. This occurred as the pilot began a 45º climbing turn to the right. The pilot then began a "tight" turn to the left and the airplane descended toward the ground. The witness reported that the engine appeared to be running throughout the accident sequence and may have been near idle power during the descent.
The airplane collided with the ground and first responders assisted the pilot out of the wreckage.

An inspector with the Federal Aviation Administration responded to the accident site and examined the wreckage. The wings separated from the airframe and were found fragmented. The engine and propeller separated from the forward fuselage. The empennage remained attached to the aft fuselage.

The wreckage was retained for further examination.

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