Sunday, March 24, 2019

Loss of Engine Power (Total): Zenith STOL CH-750, N752VK; accident occurred September 23, 2018 in DeLeon Springs, Volusia 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; Orlando, Florida 

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: DeLeon Springs, FL
Accident Number: ERA18TA263
Date & Time: 09/23/2018, 1545 EDT
Registration: N752VK
Aircraft: ZENITH CH 750
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (total)
Injuries: 2 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On September 23, 2018, about 1545 eastern daylight time, a Zenith Aircraft Company CH 750, N752VK, was substantially damaged following a forced landing near DeLeon Springs, Florida. The private pilot and one passenger sustained minor injuries. The airplane was operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight that originated from DeLand Municipal Airport (DED), DeLand, Florida, about 1530.

The pilot/owner reported that while over the DeLeon Springs area, the engine started "skipping." The engine then lost all power and the propeller stopped. He set up for a forced landing to an open area. During the descent, he observed power lines and maneuvered to clear them. The airplane touched down at a steep descent angle. After touchdown, the airplane nosed over and came to rest inverted.

An inspector with the Federal Aviation Administration responded to the accident site and examined the wreckage. He reported that the engine firewall, wings, and vertical stabilizer had structural damage. Further examination of the wreckage revealed that the airplane was equipped with two 12v motorcycle batteries, and both were discharged. One battery indicated 0.75 volts and the other indicated 7 volts. Both batteries were then charged by the inspector and a mechanic, who were then able to start the airplane's Viking 110 engine normally. The alternator was found to be charging normally with the engine running and the bus voltage was greater than 13.5 volts.

The key-actuated rotary (ignition) switch on the cockpit instrument panel controlled the airplane's alternator and started the airplane's engine was unlabeled. When the switch switch was placed in the unlabeled on position, the alternator field wire received power and the alternator charged normally. When placed to the unlabeled off position, power was removed from the alternator field wire, and the engine continued to run as long as one of the unlabeled battery toggle switches was turned on. The Viking 110 engine manual recommended an alternator warning light installation; however, the inspector noted that there was no light installed.

The pilot reported to the FAA inspector that he may have left the alternator switch in the unlabeled off position by mistake. The pilot also reported that he did not utilize a checklist when operating the airplane.

The Viking 110 engine manual reminds operators that the engine is controlled by an electronic control unit (ECU) versus mechanically operated magnetos and at least one battery must maintain its charge for the engine to operate.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 79, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Sport Pilot None
Last FAA Medical Exam: 04/14/2011
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  237 hours (Total, all aircraft), 195 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 7 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: ZENITH
Registration: N752VK
Model/Series: CH 750
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2012
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 75-8435
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 10/21/2017, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1325 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 55 Hours
Engines: Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 701 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Viking
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: 110
Registered Owner: Aluminum Eagle LLC
Rated Power: 110 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: KDED, 79 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 6 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1915 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 145°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 7 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 90°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.98 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 31°C / 21°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: DeLand, FL (DED)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: DeLand, FL (DED)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1530 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 29.139722, -81.343056 (est)

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