Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Fuel Starvation: Wittman Tailwind, N619NT; accident occurred July 12, 2018 in Orient, Pickaway County, Ohio

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Columbus, Ohio

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Orient, OH
Accident Number: CEN18LA275
Date & Time: 07/12/2018, 1625 EDT
Registration: N619NT
Aircraft: WITTMAN Tailwind
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Fuel starvation
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional 

On July 12, 2018, about 1625 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Wittman Tailwind, N619NT, impacted terrain during a forced landing following a total loss of engine power near Orient, Ohio. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage. The private pilot/airplane owner and a flight instructor were uninjured. The airplane was registered to the previous owner and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as an instructional flight that was not operating on a flight plan. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The local flight departed from the Bolton Field Airport, near Columbus, Ohio, about 1610.

The pilot, who was the airplane owner, stated the flight was a familiarization flight for him for the purpose of meeting insurance requirements.

The flight instructor stated the preflight and runup for the familiarization flight was normal. After the departure and level off at 2,000 ft msl, the engine began to "surge and then quit running". He turned on carburetor heat and the fuel pump, but engine power was not regained, and the propeller kept windmilling. He then performed a forced landing to a field.

The flight instructor did not provide his total flight time in the accident airplane make and model in his National Transportation Safety Board Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report, Form 6120. The flight instructor entered "all types" in the flight time matrix of Form 6120. The flight instructor's experience in the accident airplane make and model was unknown.

The pilot stated the airplane was equipped with an unconventional mixture control that was improperly used during flight and caused the engine to quit running. The pilot's recommendation was: "Better and more thorough cockpit familiarization would have prevented the accident from occurring."

According to the Federal Aviation Administration inspector from the Columbus Flight Standards District Office, the post-accident examination of the airplane revealed the mixture control had been modified from its original configuration that was opposite of a configuration in which a full forward position of the mixture control would have provided a full rich mixture. As a result, the fuel was inadvertently cut-off during flight. There were no other mechanical anomalies reported that would have precluded normal operation. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 58, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 02/10/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 01/01/2017
Flight Time: 800 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1 hours (Total, this make and model) 

Flight Instructor Information

Age: 72, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land; Single-engine Sea
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
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: 09/21/2017
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 01/19/2018
Flight Time:  30000 hours (Total, all aircraft), 0 hours (Total, this make and model), 29800 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 180 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 60 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: WHITTMAN
Registration: N619NT
Model/Series: Tailwind
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2013
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental
Serial Number: 4039
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 07/07/2018, Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1235 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 16 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 15 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: O-320-E2D
Registered Owner: Previous Owner
Rated Power: 150 hp
Operator: Pilot
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: TZR, 904 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 15 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1745 EDT
Direction from Accident Site: 45°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 4 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 70°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.17 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 28°C / 16°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Columbus, OH (TZR)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Columbus, OH (TZR)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1610 EDT
Type of Airspace: 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude:  39.805833, -83.152222 (est)

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