Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Loss of Engine Power (Total): Diamond DA-40 Star, N388MA; accident occurred September 01, 2018 near Maury County Airport (MRC), Columbia/Mount Pleasant, Tennessee

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Nashville, Tennessee

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

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


Location: Mount Pleasant, TN
Accident Number: ERA18LA241
Date & Time: 09/01/2018, 1715 CDT
Registration: N388MA
Aircraft: Diamond DA40
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (total)
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On September 1, 2018, about 1715 central daylight time, a Diamond Aircraft DA 40, N388MA, operated by the private pilot, was substantially damaged during a forced landing to a field, following a total loss of engine power during approach to Maury County Airport (MRC), Mount Pleasant, Tennessee. The private pilot incurred minor injuries. 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 local flight that departed MRC about 1615.

The pilot reported that after flying over the local area for approximately 40 minutes, he returned to MRC and entered the airport traffic pattern for landing on runway 6. While on a downwind leg of the airport traffic pattern, he reduced the engine power in preparation for landing; however, the engine lost all power. The pilot then advanced the throttle in unsuccessful attempt to regain power. He subsequently attempted an engine restart with no success and at that time realized that the airplane would not be able to glide to the runway. The pilot then performed a forced landing to a field about 1 mile prior to the runway 6 threshold.

Examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed that during the landing, the nose landing gear and left main landing gear collapsed, and the empennage separated from the airframe. The inspector added that although there was some damage to the wings, though their respective fuel tank remained intact. He drained approximately 4 gallons of fuel from the left fuel tank and 10 to 11 gallons of fuel from the right fuel tank. The fuel was 100-low-lead aviation fuel and appeared bright, clear, and absent of any visible contamination. Additionally, the fuel selector was found positioned to the left fuel tank prior to being moved to the off position by rescue personnel.

The inspector further examined the wreckage following its recovery to a storage facility. He was able to rotate the engine's crankshaft by hand and confirm crankshaft, camshaft, and valve train continuity to the rear accessory section of the engine. The engine had sat for almost 10 months and thumb compression was not attained on three of the four cylinders; however, a borescope examination of the cylinders did not reveal any anomalies. The mechanical fuel pump and magnetos tested satisfactorily. Air was blown through the fuel lines and no blockages were observed. No anomalies were noted with the fuel servo and it contained residual fuel. Its filter was absent of debris and the oil filter was absent of metallic contamination.

The four-seat, low-wing, fixed tricycle-gear airplane, was manufactured in 2005. It was powered by a Lycoming IO-360-M1A, 180-horsepower engine, equipped with a constant-speed, two-blade Hartzell propeller. The airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on January 9, 2018. At that time, the airframe and engine had accrued 1,346 hours since new. The airplane flew an additional 40 hours from the time of the most recent inspection, until the accident. Review of a make and model airplane flight manual revealed that the left and right fuel tank each held 20.6 gallons of fuel, with .5 gallon unusable in each tank. According to a representative from the aircraft manufacturer, fuel unporting is possible with 4 to 6 gallons remaining in a fuel tank; however, it's more probable if the airplane is in a bank greater than a 45° angle.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 60, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 11/29/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 08/03/2018
Flight Time:   121 hours (Total, all aircraft), 100 hours (Total, this make and model), 61 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 24 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 10 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Diamond
Registration: N388MA
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture:
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 40.522
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 01/09/2018, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2535 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 40 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 1386 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: C126 installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: IO-360-M1A
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 180 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: MRC, 681 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1715 CDT
Direction from Accident Site: 60°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 7 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 110°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.08 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 31°C / 20°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Mount Pleasant, TN (MRC)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Mount Pleasant, TN (MRC)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1615 CDT
Type of Airspace:

Airport Information

Airport: Maury County Airport (MRC)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 681 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 06
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 6000 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing; Traffic Pattern 

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: 35.550278, -87.206667 (est)


  1. Can't make the runway from downwind ?? What are they teaching nowadays ? 747 size patterns for all ?

  2. DA40 has a glide ratio of roughly 1.45nm per 1,000 feet. That is out of the POH which I would assume is leaning heavily to the conservative side. On the downwind of a 6,000 x 100 ft runway and he landed short by 1nm according to the report.

  3. Interesting ... the rescue personnel took an actual photograph of the fuel selector and where they found it positioned (to the left main fuel tank) before the fire department moved it to the off position due to concern of a fuel leak. Smart thinking rescue personnel. Good job!