Saturday, June 08, 2019

Loss of Engine Power (total): Murphy Renegade, N210SQ, accident occurred August 15, 2017 in Guilford, New Haven County, Connecticut

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Bradley, Connecticut

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Guilford, CT
Accident Number: ERA17LA276
Date & Time: 08/14/2017, 1620 EDT
Registration: N210SQ
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (total)
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On August 14, 2017, about 1620 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Murphey Renegade, N210SQ, was substantially damaged during a forced landing near Guilford, Connecticut. The airline transport pilot received minor injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed for the flight that departed Tweed-New Haven Airport (HVN), New Haven, Connecticut, about 1550.

According to the pilot, the accident flight was the first flight after the carburetors were inspected, repaired, and reinstalled on the engine. During the preflight inspection, he checked for water in the fuel, which was automotive fuel with 5% ethanol, and noted none. Review of air traffic control communication transcripts revealed that about 30 minutes after departing HVN the pilot declared an emergency to the HVN tower controller and stated that his engine had lost power. He advised the tower controller that he was about 10 miles east of the airport and was going to perform a forced landing to the local fairgrounds. While on approach, the airplane struck powerlines and came to rest in a field.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector who responded to the accident site, the forward section of the fuselage was substantially damaged. The propeller was not damaged and there was fuel present in the fuel tanks.

An examination of the engine revealed that crankshaft continuity was confirmed by rotating the propeller by hand, and thumb compression was established on all cylinders. The spark plugs and ignition system were examined, and no anomalies were noted. The fuel pump was examined, and no anomalies were noted. The carburetors were partially disassembled, the diaphragms were intact, the main jet and idle jets were not blocked, and no corrosion was noted on those parts. The left idle mixture screw had a small amount of corrosion, otherwise, there were no other anomalies with the carburetors.

According to the pilot, he had the carburetors inspected and repaired twice as a result of a "rough running engine." Once in February 2017 and then again in July 2017. Both times, the pilot reinstalled the carburetors and noted that the engine ran "normal." The pilot stated that there was evidence of water contamination both times, and once, one of the fuel jets in the carburetors was a blue/green color "because of corrosion."

According to the maintenance work orders, a maintenance shop performed the manufacturer's 200-hour carburetor service requirement and the 5-year rubber replacement requirements in February 2017. Then, in July 2017, maintenance personnel indicated that the carburetor was inspected and "found idle circuit was corroded. Cleaned, performed ground run-up – tested good."

In a letter to the maintenance facility that performed the carburetor maintenance, the pilot noted on-going issues with the engine. The following is what he stated in his letter sent in July 2017:

318 hours – rough running [engine] replaced idle jets
331 hours – new spark plugs
340 hours – engine would not start, replaced both ignition modules
342 hours – rough running [engine], cleaned idle jets
373 hours – loss of power after takeoff, sent carb[ureters] to maintenance shop for rebuild
395 hours – rough running [engine], bought new idle jets
395 hours – weighed floats, replaced spark plugs, check main pistons for free movement, checked air cleaners.

"Rough running continues, spark plugs badly sooted."

According to the pilot, on the day of the accident the airplane had accumulated 410 hours of total time.

According to Rotax Service Instruction "Selection of Suitable Operating Fluids for Rotax Engine 912 and 914 series," automotive fuel with up to 10% of ethanol was permitted to be used for operation. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport
Age: 78, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Rear
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Sport Pilot Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 10/10/2016
Flight Time:   25095 hours (Total, all aircraft), 562 hours (Total, this make and model), 9000 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 22 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 5 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0.5 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Registration: N210SQ
Aircraft Category:Airplane 
Year of Manufacture:
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: REN 575
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 04/25/2017, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1050 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 7 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 562 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: ROTAX
ELT: C91  installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: 912UL
Registered Owner: On file
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: HVN, 13 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 10 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1553 EDT
Direction from Accident Site: 264°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 1800 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 2800 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 5 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: /
Wind Direction: 170°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 29.91 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 23°C / 20°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: NEW HAVEN, CT (HVN)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: NEW HAVEN, CT (HVN)
Type of Clearance: Unknown
Departure Time: 1550 EDT
Type of Airspace:

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:  41.280833, -72.673333 (est)

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