Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Arion Lightning, N270J: Accident occurred August 04, 2016 near New Garden Airport (N57), Toughkenamon, Chester County, Pennsylvania

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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/N270J

Location: Toughkenamon, PA
Accident Number: ERA16LA285
Date & Time: 08/04/2016, 1813 EDT
Registration: N270J
Aircraft: SHAFFER DONALD ARION LIGHTNING
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (total)
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

On August 4, 2016, about 1813 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Arion Lightning, N270J, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing to a field near the New Garden Airport (N57), Toughkenamon, Pennsylvania. The sport pilot/builder, who was also the registered owner and operator, sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. No flight plan was filed for the local flight that depart N57 about 1705.

The pilot stated that he had flown for about an hour before he returned to the airport. While on the downwind leg of the traffic pattern, he reduced engine power, extended the flaps to 20°, turned on the electric fuel pump and the carburetor heat, and adjusted the mixture. The pilot said this was his normal procedure to land. When turning onto the base leg, he reduced engine power to idle and the engine suddenly stopped producing power. The pilot tried to re-start the engine several times, but realized he was not going to make the runway and attempted to land in a field. The airplane struck a power line and landed hard resulting in substantial damage to the wings, firewall, and fuselage.

A postaccident examination of the engine by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector confirmed compression and valve train continuity for each cylinder when the engine crankshaft was rotated. The engine-driven fuel pump also turned. The airframe fuel filter was examined and absent of debris. The carburetor was removed from the engine and disassembled. The bowl and jets were clear and absent of debris. The carburetor floats were undamaged, and the fuel needle valve was clear of debris and had a positive cutoff of fuel. The altitude compensation bellows were undamaged and functioned properly. The ignition cut-off switch and the left and right distributor caps were undamaged and functioned when tested. The spark plugs exhibited "normal" wear. No preimpact mechanical deficiencies were noted that would have precluded normal operation of the engine at the time of impact.

The airplane was equipped with a Dynon SkyView SV-D1000 display and data was downloaded at the NTSB Recorder Laboratory, Washington D.C. A review of the data revealed that after the pilot departed, he headed west and climbed to 7,300 ft, before turning back to the airport at 1739. When the airplane turned on a left downwind to land, the engine rpm decreased rapidly from 2,300 rpm to 1,300 rpm. Engine rpm decreased at a slower rate to 700 rpm for the next 25 seconds before dropping to zero at 1812. The airplane impacted terrain at 1813. A review of engine parameters for the last few minutes of the flight were consistent with a loss of engine power as reported by the pilot.

A review of the airplane maintenance logbook indicated that the pilot performed the last condition inspection on July 6, 2016. The airplane and engine had both accrued about 372 total hours at the time of the accident.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate for airplane single-engine land, a sport pilot certificate, and a repairman certificate (experimental aircraft builder). He was operating as a sport pilot at the time of the accident and had a valid Pennsylvania driver's license as required by the FAA. The pilot reported a total of 883 total of hours, of which, 315 hours, were in the accident airplane.

Weather at the Chester County G.O. Carlson Airport, about 10 miles northwest of the accident site, at 1835, was reported as calm wind, visibility 10 miles, and clear skies.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private; Sport Pilot
Age: 72, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Sport Pilot None
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 11/21/2015
Flight Time:  883 hours (Total, all aircraft), 315 hours (Total, this make and model), 750 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 16 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 8 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: SHAFFER DONALD
Registration: N270J
Model/Series: ARION LIGHTNING NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2010
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 00101
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 07/06/2016, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1320 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 6 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 372 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: JABIRU
ELT: C126 installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: 3300
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 120 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: MQS, 660 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 10 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1835 EDT
Direction from Accident Site: 310°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Calm 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 30.12 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 26°C / 17°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Toughkenamon, PA (N57)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Toughkenamon, PA (N57)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1705 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class E

Airport Information

Airport: New Garden (N57)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 436 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Vegetation
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 39.831389, -75.757500 (est)

NTSB Identification: ERA16LA285
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, August 04, 2016 in TOUGHKENAMON, PA
Aircraft: SHAFFER DONALD ARION LIGHTNING, registration: N270J
Injuries: 1 Minor.

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 August 4, 2016, about 1900 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Arion Lightning, N270J, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing to a field near the New Garden Airport (N57), Toughkenamon, Pennsylvania. The sport pilot/builder/owner sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. No flight plan was filed for the local flight that depart N57 about 1800.

The pilot stated that he had flown for about an hour before he returned to the airport. When turning onto the base leg, he reduced engine RPM and the engine lost all power. The pilot realized he was not going to make the runway and attempted to land in a field. The airplane struck a power line and landed hard resulting in substantial damage to the wings, firewall, and fuselage.

The avionic components containing non-volatile memory were retained for further examination.

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