Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Maule M-7-235C Orion, registered to and operated by the private pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight, N126MC: Accident occurred May 20, 2017 in Colton, St. Lawrence County, New York

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Albany, New York

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/N126MC




Location: Colton, NY
Accident Number: ERA17LA188
Date & Time: 05/20/2017, 1615 EDT
Registration: N126MC
Aircraft: MAULE M7
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Fuel starvation
Injuries: 2 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On May 20, 2017, at 1615 eastern daylight time, N126MC, an amphibious Maule M-7-235C airplane, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing to a field after a total loss of engine power near Colton, New York. The private pilot and the commercial pilot sustained minor injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by the private pilot as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the flight that originated from Tupper Lake, New York, about 1530, and was destined for Potsdam Municipal Airport (PTD), Potsdam, New York.

The private pilot, who had recently purchased the airplane from the commercial pilot, stated that he was at the controls and the airplane was in a right bank at an altitude of 2,500 ft mean sea level (msl), when the engine "coughed and quit." The commercial pilot, who was seated in the right seat and had more experience flying the airplane, advanced the throttle and turned on the boost pump, while the private pilot leveled the airplane and looked for a place to land. The commercial pilot told the private pilot to switch the fuel selector from the right main tank to both tanks. The private pilot stated they were unable to re-start the engine and the commercial pilot, who took control of the airplane, made a gear-up, forced landing to a field, resulting in substantial damage to both floats, the wing struts, both wings, the fuselage, and the firewall.

The commercial pilot said there was about 5-7 gallons of fuel in the right main tank when they entered a 30° bank turn to the right. When they were about 6-7 seconds into the turn, the engine sputtered, lost full power, and they were unable to re-start the engine. Initially, he thought the private pilot may have inadvertently placed the fuel selector valve to the "off" position, which inhibited them from re-starting the engine. However, postaccident examination of the airplane revealed that the fuel selector valve was in the "both" position.

According to the manufacturer, if a pilot makes an uncoordinated turn, it is possible to unport fuel away from the lines that carry fuel to the engine. The chances of this occurring would increase with less fuel in the tank. The commercial pilot said that this had happened to him before when first he owned the airplane, but he was able to re-start the engine. He said the engine "definitely died due to fuel starvation" from fuel unporting in the wing during the turn.

A postaccident examination revealed the fuel selector moved freely to each detent. The fuel line at the outlet of the engine driven fuel pump was removed and no fuel was found in the line. The fuel lines were also removed at the throttle body and the flow divider and no fuel was observed. The electric fuel boost pump was turned on and it was observed trying to pump the small amount of fuel left in the outlet line going to the engine driven fuel pump. No mechanical deficiencies were noted with the fuel system that would have precluded normal operation at the time of the power loss.

The aircraft was equipped with a JPI 700 engine analyzer, which recorded exhaust gas temperature (EGT), cylinder head temperature (CHT), and battery voltage. The unit recorded data at an interval of once every 6 seconds. A review of the taxi and takeoff portion of the flight, before the engine lost all power, did not indicate any anomalies with the engine or electrical system.

The private pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, single-engine sea, and instrument airplane. His last third-class Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) medical was issued on February 16, 2016. The private pilot reported 1,000 total flight hours, of which, 51 hours were in the same make and model as the accident airplane.

The commercial pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, single-engine sea, multiengine airplane with an instrument airplane. He was also a certified flight instructor for single and multiengine airplane. The commercial pilot's last FAA third-class medical was issued on June 4, 2015. He reported 3,375 total flight hours, of which, 1,785 hours were in the same make and model as the accident airplane.

The private pilot reported the weather as clear skies with light and variable wind. 



Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 59, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land; Single-engine Sea
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 02/16/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 07/12/2015
Flight Time:  1000 hours (Total, all aircraft), 51 hours (Total, this make and model), 900 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 18 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 18 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Pilot-Rated Passenger Information

Certificate: Flight Instructor; Private
Age: 60, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land; Single-engine Sea
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Multi-engine; Airplane Single-engine
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 06/04/2015
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  3375 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1785 hours (Total, this make and model), 45 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 16 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 6 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 



Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: MAULE
Registration: N126MC
Model/Series: M7 235C
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1999
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 25027C
Landing Gear Type: Amphibian; Tailwheel
Seats: 5
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 04/09/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2750 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 1501.8 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: IO-540 SER
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 235 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:
Distance from Accident Site:
Observation Time:
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Light and Variable /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: /
Wind Direction: Variable
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting:
Temperature/Dew Point:
Precipitation and Obscuration:
Departure Point: Tupper Lake, NY (None)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Potsdam, NY (PTD)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1530 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class E

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 44.540833, -74.925000 (est)

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