Sunday, July 07, 2019

American AA-1, N5787L: Accident occurred May 24, 2018 near Spruce Creek Airport (7FL6), Daytona Beach, Volusia County, Florida

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Orlando, Florida

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Port Orange, FL
Accident Number: GAA18CA343
Date & Time: 05/24/2018, 1620 EDT
Registration: N5787L
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event:
Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal


The pilot reported that, shortly after departure, about 1,000 ft above ground level, the engine lost total power. While searching for an off-airport landing spot, he made a right turn toward the airport, positioned the fuel selector knob toward the second tank, and attempted to restart the engine. The engine restarted briefly but then lost power. He attempted to restart the engine again after he repositioned the fuel selector back to the original tank, but the engine did not start. He conducted a forced landing in a field with trees and heavy vegetation 2 miles west of the airport.

The pilot added that he "should have made a positive determination of fuel on board prior to takeoff."

The airplane sustained substantial damage to the right wing and fuselage.

Postaccident examination by the Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed no distinctive fuel odor at the accident site, and only a cup of fuel was recovered from both tanks.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's inadequate preflight inspection of the fuel, which resulted in fuel exhaustion and a subsequent total loss of engine power.


Fuel - Fluid level (Cause)

Personnel issues
Preflight inspection - Pilot (Cause)

Environmental issues
Tree(s) - Contributed to outcome

Factual Information

History of Flight

Initial climb
Fuel exhaustion

Off-field or emergency landing

Initial climb
Loss of engine power (total)
Attempted remediation/recovery 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport; Flight Instructor; Commercial
Age: 71, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Multi-engine Sea; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Lap Only
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Multi-engine; Airplane Single-engine; Instrument Airplane
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 05/23/2018
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 05/18/2018
Flight Time:   (Estimated) 26000 hours (Total, all aircraft), 600 hours (Total, this make and model), 23000 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 40 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 12 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: AMERICAN
Registration: N5787L
Model/Series: AA 1
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1969
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal; Utility
Serial Number: AA1-0187
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 05/23/2018, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1500 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 2665.7 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C91  installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-290-D2
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 135 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: KDAB, 41 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 7 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1953 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 16°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 3200 ft agl
Visibility: 10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 10 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 80°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.05 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 29°C / 21°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Daytona Beach, FL (7FL6)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Daytona Beach, FL (7FL6)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1600 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: SPRUCE CREEK (7FL6)
Runway Surface Type: Unknown
Airport Elevation: 24 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Vegetation
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 29.074167, -81.083333 (est)

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