Sunday, July 7, 2019

Loss of Engine Power (Partial): Cessna 177 Cardinal, N713CX, accident occurred March 15, 2018 near Key West International Airport (KEYW), Monroe County, Florida

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Miramar, Florida

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf


Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms


Aviation Accident Data Summary - National Transportation Safety Board: https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf
 
http://registry.faa.gov/N30208




Location: Key West, FL
Accident Number: ERA18LA107
Date & Time: 03/15/2018, 1335 EDT
Registration: N713CX
Aircraft: CESSNA 177
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (partial)
Injuries: 1 Minor, 2 None
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

Analysis 

The airline transport pilot reported that the preflight inspection, engine start, taxi, and engine run-up were uneventful. During initial climb for the local flight, about 400 ft above ground level, the engine power suddenly reduced to idle. The pilot lowered the nose of the airplane and made a shallow left turn to avoid trees; however, the airplane contacted power lines and came to rest upright in a parking lot. The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings and the fuselage. Examination of the wreckage revealed that adequate fuel remained on board and that fuel had leaked from the airplane after impact. During the examination, the fuel screen was removed from the fuel servo. Although some rust was observed on the screen and in the servo, consistent with the airplane sitting unused over a period of time, it is not likely that this had any impact on the operation of the engine. Further examination of the airframe and engine did not reveal any evidence of preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. Thus, the reason for the partial loss of engine power could not be determined. 

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
A partial loss of engine power during initial climb for reasons that could not be determined because examination of the wreckage did not reveal any evidence of preimpact malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.

Findings

Environmental issues
Wire - Contributed to outcome

Not determined
Not determined - Unknown/Not determined (Cause)

Factual Information 

On March 15, 2018, about 1335 eastern daylight time, a privately owned and operated Cessna 177, N713CX, was substantially damaged during a forced landing, following a partial loss of engine power during initial climb from Key West International Airport (EYW), Key West, Florida. The airline transport pilot incurred minor injuries and the two passengers were not injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the planned local flight that was originating at the time of the accident.

The airline transport pilot reported that his friend, the front-seat passenger, had recently purchased the airplane, but he only held a student pilot certificate and did not possess a logbook endorsement to fly that make and model airplane solo. The airline transport pilot intended to go on a short sightseeing flight with the two passengers. The preflight inspection, engine start, taxi, and engine run-up were uneventful. During initial climb from runway 9, about 400 ft above ground level, the engine power suddenly reduced to idle. The airline transport pilot lowered the nose and made a shallow left turn to avoid trees and reach shallow water; however, the airplane contacted powerlines and came to rest upright in a parking lot, prior to reaching the shallow water.

Initial examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed that both wings and the fuselage sustained substantial damage. The inspector noted that adequate fuel remained onboard and fuel had leaked from the airplane after impact. He confirmed mixture and throttle control continuity. He also confirmed that the fuel selector was positioned to both. Due to the disposition of the wreckage, the inspector was not able to rotate the propeller and planned to further examine the engine after it was recovered.

The wreckage was examined again by an FAA inspector and a National Transportation Safety Board investigator at a recovery facility. The engine remained intact and attached to its mounts; however, the mounts and firewall were impact separated from the fuselage. The accessories on the rear of the engine exhibited some damage from contact with the firewall during impact. The engine driven fuel pump exhibited an impact hole in the bottom side. One propeller blade was bent aft about midspan and both blades exhibited damage consistent with wire strikes.

The top spark plugs were removed for examination and access to the cylinders for a lighted borescope. The spark plug electrodes were intact and light gray in color. When the propeller was rotated by hand, thumb compression was established to all cylinders. Valve train continuity was established to the rear accessory section of the engine. Both magnetos were removed and produced spark at all leads when rotated by an electric drill. The air filter was removed and examined. The air flow ducts to the fuel servo were clear and unobstructed. The fuel flow divider was disassembled and noted to be absent of any debris. The diaphragm was intact and did not exhibited any damage. When the fuel sump was disassembled, its fuel screen was observed to be dry and absent of debris. The fuel sump bowl contained a small amount of gel at the bottom. The fuel screen was removed from the fuel servo. The screen exhibited some rust on the screen and in the servo, consistent with the airplane sitting unused over a period of time.

The examination of the engine did not reveal any preimpact mechanical malfunctions.

The four-seat, high-wing, fixed-tricycle-gear airplane was manufactured in 1968 and powered by a Lycoming IO-360, 200-horsepower engine, equipped with a two-blade, fixed-pitch, Hartzell propeller. Review of FAA records revealed that the student pilot purchased the airplane on October 16, 2017. Review of the airplane's maintenance records revealed that the most recent annual inspection was completed on February 1, 2018. At that time, the airframe had accumulated about 3,602 total hours of operation and the engine had accumulated 1,771 hours since major overhaul. The airplane had flown about 2 hours from the time of the most recent annual inspection, until the accident.

The recorded weather at EYW, at 1253, was: wind from 030° at 14 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; clear sky; temperature 19° C; dew point 9° C; altimeter 30.17 inches of mercury. 



History of Flight

Initial climb
Loss of engine power (partial) (Defining event)

Emergency descent
Off-field or emergency landing

Landing
Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT) 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport; Commercial; Flight Engineer; Private
Age: 58, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: Lap Only
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Single-engine
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 09/25/2015
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 09/06/2017
Flight Time:  15050 hours (Total, all aircraft), 3 hours (Total, this make and model), 4000 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 10 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Registration: N713CX
Model/Series: 177
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1968
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 17701121
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 02/28/2018, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2550 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 2 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 3602 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C91  installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: IO-360
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 200 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: EYW, 3 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1253 EDT
Direction from Accident Site: 33°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 14 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: / None
Wind Direction: 30°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.17 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 19°C / 9°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Key West, FL (EYW)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Key West, FL (EYW)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1335 EDT
Type of Airspace: 

Airport Information

Airport: Key West International (EYW)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 3 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 09
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 4801 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor, 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 24.556111, -81.759444 (est)

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