Sunday, June 16, 2019

Fuel Starvation: Champion 8GCBC, N88287, accident occurred August 22, 2018 in Elberta, Baldwin County, Alabama

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Vestavia Hills, Alabama

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket  - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Elberta, AL
Accident Number: GAA18CA503
Date & Time: 08/22/2018, 1000 CDT
Registration: N88287
Aircraft: Champion 8GCBC
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Fuel starvation
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Banner Tow 

The pilot in the tailwheel-equipped airplane reported that during a banner towing operation, the ground crew attempted to connect the banner to the hook, but the banner did not connect and became affixed to the tailwheel. The pilot made several approaches over the banner field to dislodge the banner. He reported that during his last attempt to dislodge the banner, he moved the throttle to idle and made a normal descent to drop the banner. The banner remained affixed to the tailwheel, and he stopped his descent, and then he moved the throttle from idle to full power. The engine sputtered with no increase in engine power.

He then visually and physically confirmed that the mixture was in the full rich position, and that the primer was in the closed and locked position. He attempted two more iterations of moving the throttle from idle to full power, with no subsequent change to engine power.

The pilot made a forced landing on the southwest corner of the field, and the airplane collided with uneven terrain and trees.

The airplane sustained substantial to both wings and the fuselage.

The pilot reported that there were no mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

The pilot reported that the temperature about the time of the accident was 80°F. The METAR at the nearest airport reported that the dew point about the time of the accident was 72°F. The relative humidity was about 77 percent.

During a post-accident interview, the pilot reported that he did not use carburetor heat during the banner towing operation. He reported that during the multiple patterns to release the banner, carburetor heat was not used during the low power setting approaches to release the banner.

According to the FAA Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin CE-09-35, the use of carburetor heat is recommended when operating in conditions of visible moisture or high humidity, while on approach with low power settings. The FAA Carburetor Icing Probability Chart shows that when operating at idle, with the above-mentioned atmospheric conditions, that the likelihood for carburetor icing specified a serious icing probability. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 46, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 None
Last FAA Medical Exam: 10/03/2017
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 08/17/2017
Flight Time: (Estimated) 1266.5 hours (Total, all aircraft), 542.5 hours (Total, this make and model)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Champion
Registration: N88287 
Model/Series: 8GCBC No Series
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1974
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 103-74
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 08/17/2018, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2150 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 2213.4 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: O-360
Registered Owner: Coastal Air Sign Llc.
Rated Power: 180 hp
Operator: Coastal Air Sign Llc.
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Certificate of Authorization or Waiver (COA)

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KNPA, 28 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 14 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1556 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 105°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 4000 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 8 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: /
Wind Direction: 330°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 30.07 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 30°C / 22°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Gulf Shores, AL (JKA)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Gulf Shores, AL (JKA)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0900 CDT
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: 30.411111, -87.578889 (est)

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