Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Aeronca L-16A (7BCM), N9325H: Incident occurred August 03, 2022 and Accident occurred June 29, 2019

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Allegheny, Pennsylvania

August 03, 2022:  Aircraft encountered a gust of wind on landing and was blown off runway into trees.


Date: 03-AUG-22
Time: 19:18:00Z
Regis#: N9325H
Aircraft Make: AERONCA
Aircraft Model: 7BCM
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: MINOR
Aircraft Missing: No
Damage: UNKNOWN
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)
Operation: 91
City: CRANBERRY
State: PENNSYLVANIA














Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

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

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:


Location: Zelienople, Pennsylvania 
Accident Number: CEN19LA202
Date and Time: June 29, 2019, 14:18 Local
Registration: N9325H
Aircraft: Aeronca L16A
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (total)
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

Analysis

The pilot was returning to the airport to practice takeoffs and landings. About 15 minutes into the flight, while flying level at 1,900 ft mean sea level, the engine "abruptly" stopped. The pilot performed a forced landing to a nearby muddy hay field. During the landing roll, the right main landing gear buckled, collapsing the gear rearward and resulting in substantial damage to the right wing and fuselage.

Engine control continuity was confirmed, and spark from both magnetos and all spark plugs were noted. A mechanic working on the airplane following the accident reported that a piece of the air filter gasket was lodged in the carburetor intake. It is likely that the obstruction of airflow caused by the gasket resulted in the loss of engine power.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
A total loss of engine power due to obstruction of the carburetor air intake by a piece of the air filter gasket that had become detached.

Findings

Aircraft Fuel distribution - Inoperative
Aircraft Fuel distribution - Damaged/degraded

Factual Information

On June 29, 2019, about 1418 at 1418 eastern daylight time, an Aeronca L-16A (7BCM), N9325H, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Zelienople, Pennsylvania. The pilot was not injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The pilot took off and after practicing turns in the airplane, returned to the airport to practice takeoffs and landings. The airplane had been airborne about 15 minutes and was level at 1,900 ft msl when the engine "abruptly" stopped. The pilot reported there was no warning or abnormal sounds or rpm changes. The pilot attempted to restart the engine, but it would not restart. He then performed a "dead stick" forced landing to a nearby hay field. After touching down and rolling about 100 ft on the muddy surface, the right main landing gear buckled and the airplane came to a stop. The airplane's right wing and fuselage at the landing gear attach point were substantially damaged and the right main landing gear was bent aft.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors confirmed there was engine control continuity and noted spark from both magnetos and all plugs. A mechanic working on the airplane found a piece of the air filter gasket lodged in the carburetor intake. Investigators were unable to determine why the gasket separated from the filter. 

History of Flight

Initial climb Loss of engine power (total) (Defining event)
Emergency descent Off-field or emergency landing

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private; Sport Pilot 
Age: 65,Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land; Single-engine sea
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): 
Airplane 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: April 9, 2018
Flight Time: (Estimated) 3000 hours (Total, all aircraft), 3 hours (Total, this make and model), 3000 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Aeronca 
Registration: N9325H
Model/Series: L16A 7BCM 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 
Amateur Built:
Airworthiness Certificate: Special light-sport (Special) 
Serial Number: 47-807
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: October 31, 2018 Annual 
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1220 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 10 Hrs
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 4131 Hrs as of last inspection 
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT: C91 installed, not activated 
Engine Model/Series: C85-12
Registered Owner:
Rated Power: 85 Horsepower
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC) 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: BTP, 1248 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 10 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 14:18 Local
Direction from Accident Site: 270°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 4000 ft AGL
Visibility: 7 miles
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 8500 ft AGL
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 4 knots / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:  /
Wind Direction: 160° 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:  /
Altimeter Setting: 30.1 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 21°C / 19°C
Precipitation and Obscuration:
Departure Point: Zelienople, PA (PJC) 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Zelienople, PA (PJC) 
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 14:00 Local 
Type of Airspace: Class E

Airport Information

Airport: Zelienople Municipal PJC
Runway Surface Type:
Airport Elevation: 898 ft msl
Runway Surface Condition:
Runway Used: 
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced landing

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None 
Latitude, Longitude: 40.857776,-80.194999

========

Location: Zelienople, PA
Accident Number: CEN19LA202
Date & Time: 06/29/2019, 1418 EDT
Registration: N9325H
Aircraft: Aeronca L16A
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On June 29, 2019, at 1418 eastern daylight time, an Aeronca L-16A (7BCM), N9325H, lost engine power shortly after taking off from Zelienople Municipal Airport (PJC), Zelienople, Pennsylvania. The private pilot made a forced landing in a hay field one mile north of PJC. He was not injured, but the airplane was substantially damaged when the right main landing gear buckled. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions existed near the accident site at the time of the accident, and no flight plan had been filed. The flight originated from PJC about 1400.

In his accident report, the pilot indicated that prior to takeoff, all fuel tanks had been "topped off" with 19 gallons of 100-octane low-lead fuel. After practicing turns, he turned towards the airport with the intention of practicing takeoffs and landings. Approximately 15 minutes after takeoff while flying straight-and-level at 1,900 ft, the engine "abruptly" stopped. There was no warning or rpm changes or abnormal sounds. Attempts to restart the engine were to no avail. He made a "dead stick" forced landing into a nearby hay field. After rolling about 100 ft up the muddy field, the right main landing gear buckled and the airplane came to a halt. The pilot said there was an issue with the ventilator in the main fuel tank cap that would have been undetectable.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors examined the airplane. The engine was a Continental C85-12 that had been modified in 2003 via STC00979AT with the installation of a crankshaft, connecting rods and pistons from a Continental O-200 engine. The inspectors confirmed engine control continuity, and noted spark from both magnetos and all plugs. The inspectors found fuel leaking from the filler cap. The salvage recovery crew told the inspectors that no fuel had been leaking prior to their loosening the fuel cap to prepare the airplane for transport. They said they drained 11 gallons from the fuel tanks.

The inspectors consulted an Aeronca mechanic and former FAA Inspector. He stated that if a lineman left the fuel nozzle resting in the filler neck instead of holding it, it would bend the filler neck. The fuel cap incorporates 4 vent holes around the circumference. If the cap was installed with a bent or deformed filler neck, the gasket around the filler neck would block the vent holes. This would cause the fuel not to be vented to atmosphere, resulting in fuel starvation to the engine.

The pilot later retained the services of another L-16 specialist and airframe and powerplant (A&P) mechanic. He told him that there was a known problem with the fuel cap on the L-16. The original cap isn't available, and the one most commonly used in its place is screwed on.  If the fuel tanks had just been topped off, the vent can become blocked and create a vacuum and the engine loses power.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Aeronca
Registration: N9325H
Model/Series: L16A 7BCM
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
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: BTP, 1248 ft msl
Observation Time: 1418 EDT
Distance from Accident Site: 10 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 21°C / 19°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 4000 ft agl
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 4 knots / , 160°
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 8500 ft agl
Visibility:  7 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.1 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Zelienople, PA (PJC)
Destination: Zelienople, PA (PJC)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 40.857778, -80.195000

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