Sunday, April 07, 2019

Cessna 162 Skycatcher, instructional flight conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, N552ES: Accident occurred September 28, 2017 near Huntsville Executive Airport (KMDQ), Alabama

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Birmingham, Alabama

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Huntsville, AL
Accident Number: ERA17LA341
Date & Time: 09/28/2017, 1648 CDT
Registration: N552ES
Aircraft: CESSNA 162
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Fuel related
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional

On September 28, 2017, about 1648 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 162, N552ES, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a total loss of engine power near Huntsville, Alabama. The flight instructor and student pilot were not injured. The instructional flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local flight that departed Huntsville Executive Airport (MDQ), Huntsville, Alabama.

The flight instructor stated the preflight inspection, engine start, and taxi were normal. While returning to the airport they began an 80-knot descent from 3,000 ft mean sea level (msl) to traffic pattern altitude. When the student increased engine power to level off around 1,400 ft msl, "the engine died instantly." The flight instructor took control of the airplane and pumped the throttle which resulted in a brief surge of power, but did not restore full power to the engine. He performed a forced landing to a field, and after touchdown the airplane impacted trees.

The two-seat, high-wing airplane was manufactured in 2013 and was equipped with a Continental O-200 series, 100-horsepower reciprocating engine. Its most recent 100-hour inspection was completed November 4, 2016.

The flight instructor held airline transport pilot and flight instructor certificates, with ratings for airplane single and multiengine land, rotorcraft/helicopter, and glider. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third-class medical certificate was issued on June 23, 2017. He reported 3,463 total hours of flight experience, of which 11 were in the accident airplane make and model.

Examination of the airplane after the accident by an FAA inspector revealed substantial damage to the left wing and aileron, right wingtip, and fuselage. The airframe fuel strainer, drain bowls, and engine fuel system components were absent of water, debris, or contamination, and contained fluid consistent with 100LL aviation fuel. The inspector attempted an engine start on the airframe utilizing the airplane's own battery and fuel system. The engine started and ran continuously at multiple power settings without interruption. A second engine test run was performed by the NTSB. The engine started immediately, accelerated smoothly, and ran continuously at multiple power settings without interruption. No evidence of any pre-impact mechanical malfunctions or failures of the engine was noted.

At 1635, the weather reported at MDQ, about 2 miles south of the accident site, included wind from 100° at 7 knots, visibility 10 statute miles; clear skies; temperature 28° C, dew point 15° C, and altimeter 29.98 inches of mercury.

An FAA carburetor icing probability chart indicated the temperature and dew point conditions were conducive to the formation of serious icing at glide power. Carburetor ice was not used during the descent. The pilot stated the airplane was equipped with a carburetor heat indicator, which measured the temperature at the throat of the carburetor. He stated the temperature did not drop below 72° F.

The Cessna 162 Pilot Operating Handbook (POH) states, "The G3000 CARB °F indicator provides advisory information but does not replace the need to monitor engine condition and adjust carburetor heat or mixture as needed for safe engine performance." The POH further states that during descent, "Carburetor heat should be used as needed for engine roughness and applied before reducing power to prevent carburetor ice from forming during low power descent."

The carburetor temperature indicator "tape display range is from 20 to 80°F and the digital indication range is from -40°F to 100°F. A yellow caution range is depicted from 5°F to 40°F." A note states, "Although carburetor ice is more likely to form at temperatures within the yellow band range, it can form at temperatures outside the yellow caution range. If engine roughness or unexplained RPM loss is encountered, full carburetor heat should be immediately applied."

According to the FAA Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, carburetor ice occurs due to the effect of fuel vaporization and the decrease in air pressure in the carburetor's venturi, which can cause a sharp temperature decrease in the carburetor. If water vapor in the air condenses when the carburetor temperature is at or below freezing, ice may form on the internal surfaces of the carburetor, including the throttle valve. This then restricts the flow of the fuel/air mixture and reduces engine power. Generally, the first indication of carburetor icing in an airplane with a fixed-pitch propeller is a decrease in engine rpm, which may be followed by engine roughness. Under certain conditions, carburetor ice can build unnoticed until power is added.

The handbook further described that carburetor heat is an anti-icing system that preheats the air before it reaches the carburetor, and is intended to keep the fuel/air mixture above the freezing temperature to prevent the formation of carburetor ice. Carburetor heat can be used to melt ice that has already formed in the carburetor if the accumulation is not too great, but using carburetor heat as a preventative measure is the better option.

Flight Instructor Information

Certificate: Airline Transport; Flight Instructor; Commercial; Private
Age: 60, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Glider; Helicopter
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane 
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Single-engine; Glider; Instrument Airplane
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 06/23/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 07/09/2016
Flight Time:  3463 hours (Total, all aircraft), 11 hours (Total, this make and model), 854 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 25 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 9 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Student Pilot Information

Certificate: Student
Age: 58, Male
Airplane Rating(s): None
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 12/18/2015
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Registration: N552ES
Model/Series: 162
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2013
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Special Light-Sport
Serial Number: 16200234
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 11/04/2016, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1324 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 656.5 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT: Not installed
Engine Model/Series: O-200-D
Registered Owner: NIMNO 552ES LLC
Rated Power: 100 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: KMDQ, 755 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 2 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1635 CDT
Direction from Accident Site: 180°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 7 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: 10°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 29.98 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C / 15°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Huntsville, AL (MDQ)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Huntsville, AL (MDQ)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1630 CDT
Type of Airspace: Unknown 

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: Grass/turf
Airport Elevation: 763 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Soft; Vegetation
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 34.897222, -86.557222


  1. I don't understand hesitancy to apply carb heat at reduced power setting ... we lost a good little club airplane because the guy thought it wasn't needed.

  2. I don't understand the hesitancy either. Just use it.

    On the bright side it might not be repairable.

    150/152's and 172's are great airplanes. Too bad Cessna didn't restart the 152 line.