Sunday, May 19, 2019

Cessna 172N Skyhawk, personal flight conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, N91SP: Accident occurred December 24, 2017 in Union Mills, Rutherford County, North Carolina

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Greensboro, North Carolina

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Union Mills, NC
Accident Number: ERA18TA059
Date & Time: 12/24/2017, 1500 EST
Registration: N91SP
Aircraft: CESSNA 172
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (total)
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On December 24, 2017, about 1500 eastern standard time, a Cessna 172N, N91SP, was substantially damaged during a forced landing in Union Mills, North Carolina. The commercial pilot, who was also the owner of the airplane, sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to the pilot, the purpose of the flight was to perform approaches to the private airstrip that he was constructing on his property. He said the performance and handling of the airplane was "perfect" throughout the flight, and that he performed multiple low approaches successfully, with no anomalies noted.

The pilot said the airplane was travelling slowly over his strip, about treetop height, with full flaps deployed. When he added full power to initiate a climb, the engine "sputtered" and stopped producing power. He performed a forced landing to the unimproved strip, "bounced" and departed the side of the cleared area where the airplane entered the woods and was substantially damaged.

When asked about the performance and handling of the airplane, the pilot said it was "perfect" and volunteered that the reason for the loss of engine power was carburetor ice. When asked if he had deployed the carburetor heat for the low approach and pass over his property, he said "No."

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land, and instrument airplane. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) second-class medical certificate was issued March 15, 2016. He reported 6,700 total hours of flight experience of which 3,400 were in the accident airplane make and model.

According to FAA records, the airplane was manufactured in 1978. Its most recent annual inspection was completed November 12, 2017, at 9,034.9 total aircraft hours.

At 1505, the weather reported at Rutherford County Airport (FQD), 7 miles east of the site, included an overcast ceiling at 2,200 ft, 10 miles visibility, and calm winds. The temperature was 10° C, the dew point was 5° C, and the altimeter setting was 29.97 inches of mercury.

According to an FAA carburetor icing probability chart, the atmospheric conditions at the time of the accident were conducive to "serious icing" at cruise power.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 58, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Single-engine
Toxicology Performed:
Medical Certification:  Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 03/15/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  6700 hours (Total, all aircraft), 3400 hours (Total, this make and model)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Registration: N91SP
Model/Series: 172 N
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1978
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 17271100
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 11/12/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2299 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 9034.9 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: LYCOMING
ELT:  C91  installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: O-360 SERIES
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 180 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: KFQD, 1078 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 7 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1505 EST
Direction from Accident Site: 122°
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 2200 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Calm /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: /
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 29.97 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 10°C / 5°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Union Mills, NC
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Union Mills, NC
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time:  EST
Type of Airspace: Class G

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: 35.490556, -82.058889 (est)

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