Friday, March 15, 2019

Loss of Engine Power (Total): Aventura II, N932MC; accident occurred July 09, 2016 near Grignons Private Landing Area (ME62), West Pittsfield, Somerset County, Maine

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Portland, Maine

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/N932MC

Location: West Pittsfield, ME
Accident Number: ERA16LA247
Date & Time: 07/09/2016, 1453 EDT
Registration: N932MC
Aircraft: MORMILE FRANCIS W AVENTURA II
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (total)
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On July 9, 2016, about 1453 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Aventura II airplane, N932MC, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain while on approach to Grignons Private Landing Area (ME62) in West Pittsfield, Maine. The airline transport pilot sustained minor injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot. 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 flight that departed ME62 about 1450.

The pilot stated that the purpose of the flight was to perform a functional test of the retractable landing gear. He said he started the engine and taxied for about 10 minutes before he departed. The takeoff was normal and the pilot made a left turn to stay in the airport traffic pattern and climbed to an altitude of about 200 ft. The pilot said that when he was making the turn toward the final approach leg of the traffic pattern, he noticed the controls were very stiff when he tried to roll level. He needed two hands to move the control wheel. The pilot also noticed that he was descending and was unable to avoid trees off the side of the runway. The airplane struck the trees and impacted the ground in a nose-down attitude. Two witnesses told the pilot that the engine stopped producing power prior to the airplane impacting the trees. The pilot said he was wearing a full-size helmet and was unaware that the engine had lost power and was focused on trying to level the airplane. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport; Flight Instructor; Commercial; Private
Age: 39, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land; Single-engine Sea
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Multi-engine; Airplane Single-engine; Instrument Airplane
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 1 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 11/20/2015
Occupational Pilot:
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 12/05/2015
Flight Time:  6763 hours (Total, all aircraft), 44 hours (Total, this make and model), 2836 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 105 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 50 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

The pilot held an airline transport pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single and multiengine land and single-engine sea. In addition, he held ratings for balloon and rotorcraft-helicopter and an instrument rating for airplane and rotorcraft-helicopter. The pilot also held a flight instructor certificate with ratings for airplane single and multiengine. He reported a total of 6,763 total flight hours, of which, 44 hours were in the accident airplane. His last Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) first class medical was issued on November 20, 2015.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: MORMILE FRANCIS W
Registration: N932MC
Model/Series: AVENTURA II NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture:
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: AA2AO138
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 09/01/2015, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1420 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 44 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Rotax
ELT: C126 installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: 912 ULS
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 100 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

The airplane was originally built in 2008 and then sold to the pilot in January 2015, when it was still in Phase I testing for an FAA special, experimental airworthiness certificate. The pilot made an entry in the aircraft maintenance logbook on June 24, 2016, that Phase I testing was completed and had moved into Phase II testing. A review of the engine maintenance logbook revealed the Rotax 912ULS engine was installed new on the airplane on April 8, 2008. The pilot reported the engine had accrued a total of about 35 hours at the time of the accident. The airframe had accrued about 44 hours total time.

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: BGR, 192 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 23 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1443 EDT
Direction from Accident Site: 270°
Lowest Cloud Condition: 
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 1800 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 5 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: / None
Wind Direction: 130°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 29.96 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 18°C / 12°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: West Pittsfield, ME (ME62)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: West Pittsfield, ME (ME62)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1450 EDT
Type of Airspace: Unknown

Weather reported at Bangor International Airport (BGR), Bangor, Maine, about 23 miles west of the accident site, at 1453, was wind 130 at 5 knots, visibility 10 miles, overcast clouds at 1800 ft, temperature 18° C, dewpoint 12° C, and a barometric pressure setting 29.96 inches Hg.

Airport Information

Airport: Grignons Field (ME62)
Runway Surface Type: Grass/turf
Airport Elevation: 390 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 35
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 2500 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing; Traffic Pattern

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: 44.782500, -69.383333 (est) 

Postaccident examination of the airplane revealed that it sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and both wings. Flight control continuity was confirmed from the control surfaces to the cockpit controls. The engine remained attached to the airframe and all three propeller blades remained attached to the propeller hub. The engine and blades sustained minimal impact damage. The airplane was not equipped electronic device to record engine performance.

A postaccident examination of the engine revealed the fuel system consisted of a fuel pump that was equipped with two carburetors, both of which were removed and disassembled. Each float bowl was empty of fuel and a small amount of corrosion was noted underneath the floats in each bowl. Both carburetors were then reinstalled back on the engine. Examination of the fuel lines revealed that a fuel pressure indicator was installed but it was not connected electrically. The gascolator bowl was removed and examined. The bowl was about half full of fuel that was absent of debris and water.

The oil pump, oil filter, oil cooler and the oil tank appeared undamaged. That oil tank was filled with the proper amount of oil needed to safely operate the engine.

The exhaust system was an after-market installation (non-Rotax). The exhaust, which included four exhaust pipes and a muffler, were mounted above the engine near temperature sensitive components and fuel lines. No heat shielding was installed to protect these components from radiant heat. According to Rotax's Engine Installation manual (EIM), "To avoid vapor lock keep the temperature of the fuel lines, float chamber and related devices below 113F (45C)." The electronic ignition modules were also found near the exhaust and have a maximum temperature of 176° F.

The induction system, which consisted of an optional AirBox, air filter, and carburetor heat, revealed the linkage that allowed the pilot to switch from filtered air to carburetor heat was not connected. The lever was positioned so induction air was being pulled from the carburetor heat side of the AirBox (non-filtered air). The carburetor heat was not operational. The air filter was grey in color and was not coated with the protective "red" oil that kept dirt particles from entering the engine.

The spark plugs were removed and no anomalies were noted. The engine's crankshaft was rotated and continuity and compression were established on each cylinder via manual rotation of the propeller. The engine was prepped to be test run, which involved using a car battery with battery cables to boost the airplane's battery. After several attempts, the engine started and ran at idle for several minutes before the throttle was advanced to a higher power setting. The engine ran continuously at this higher setting for several minutes without hesitation. No mechanical deficiencies were noted that would have precluded normal operation of the engine.

Additional Information

A review of the engine maintenance logbooks revealed the fuel pump was installed new in 2015 per Rotax Service Bulletin SB-912-063: Replacement of fuel pumps for ROTAX Engine type 912 (series). The SB was issued in March 2013 and the replacement of the pump was only "Recommended". According to a representative of Rotax, when the new fuel pump was installed, a mandatory fuel return line should have been installed to prevent vapor lock. The fuel return line was made mandatory via an amendment to the Rotax 912 Series Engine Installation Manual (EIM) on August 1, 2012. No other notifications were issued. However, further review of SB 912-063 revealed there was no guidance or reference that the return fuel line was mandatory. It only stated that the person installing the new fuel pump should use the Illustrated Parts Catalog and Heavy Maintenance Manual (HMM) for guidance. Neither of those manuals stated the fuel return line was mandatory.

A review of the FAA's Carburetor Icing Probability Chart revealed that atmospheric conditions were conducive to serious icing at glide power.

NTSB Identification: ERA16LA247
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, July 09, 2016 in Pittsfield, ME
Aircraft: MORMILE FRANCIS W AVENTURA II, registration: N932MC
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 July 9, 2016, about 1542 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Aventura II, N932MC, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain while on approach to a private airfield in Pittsfield, Maine. The pilot/owner sustained minor injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot. 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 flight that departed the private airfield about 1535.

The pilot stated that the purpose of the flight was to perform a functional test of the retractable landing gear. He said he started the engine and taxied for about 10 minutes before he departed. The takeoff was normal and the pilot made a left turn to stay in the traffic pattern and climbed to an altitude of about 200 feet. The pilot said that when he was making the turn toward the final approach leg of the traffic pattern, he noticed the controls were very stiff when he tried to roll level. He needed two hands to move the control wheel. The pilot also noticed that he was descending and was unable to avoid trees off the side of the runway. The airplane struck the trees and impacted the ground in a nose-down attitude.

A review of photographs taken by law enforcement revealed the airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and both wings.

Two witnesses reported that the engine stopped producing power prior to the airplane impacting the trees. The pilot said he was wearing a full size helmet and was unaware that the engine had failed and was focused on trying to level the airplane.

The airplane and engine were recovered for further examination.

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