Saturday, November 09, 2019

Loss of Engine Power (Partial): Piper PA-32-300, C6-RVT; accident occurred December 13, 2017 near Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (KFXE), Broward 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 Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Location: Oakland Park, FL
Accident Number: ERA18LA062
Date & Time:12/13/2017, 1215 EST
Registration: C6RVT
Aircraft: PIPER PA32
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (partial)
Injuries:1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

On December 13, 2017, about 1215 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-32-300, Bahamian Registration C6-RVT, experienced a partial loss of engine power and impacted a lake near Oakland Park, Florida. The airplane sustained substantial damage and the Bahamian certificated commercial pilot was not injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident and no flight plan was filed for the flight. The flight originated at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE), Fort Lauderdale, Florida, around 1210, and was destined for Lynden Pindling International Airport (MYNN), Nassau, Bahamas.

According to the pilot, the day before the accident, he topped off the fuel in the airplane at the Grand Bahama International Airport (MYGF), Freeport, Bahamas, and flew to FXE. On the day of the accident, the pilot completed a preflight inspection, sumped the fuel, and no anomalies were noted. In addition, he stated that the inboard fuel tanks were "topped off" and the outboard fuel tanks were about one-quarter full. He started the engine, "let it warm up" prior to taxiing, and called the air traffic control tower to request flight following to MYNN.

The airplane departed on runway 27 and about 500 ft above ground level (agl), the pilot initiated a left turn and reduced the engine power to "climb power." Then, about 700 ft agl, the engine started to lose power. It "intermittently came back," the pilot applied full power, and requested to return to the airport. He verified that the fuel boost pump was on, started to set up an approach to runway 31, however, he realized that the airplane would not reach the airport, and he elected to land in a lake just south of the airport. The pilot "secured" the fuel, extended the flaps for landing, and the airplane impacted the water. The pilot egressed just prior to the airplane sinking in the lake.

The airplane was recovered from the lake about 1 month after the accident and taken to a salvage facility. Initial examination of the airplane revealed that the fuselage was substantially damaged. In addition, the landing gear were impact damaged aft.

According to the pilot, the airplane was equipped with a Lycoming IO-540-K1A5, a 300-hp, engine. According to the airframe maintenance logbook, the most recent 100-hour inspection was completed on November 7, 2017, at a total time of 4,076.87 hours. According to the pilot operating handbook, the fuel capacity of the airplane was 84 gallons. The inboard fuel tank capacity is 25 gallons each side and the outboard fuel tanks have a capacity of 17 gallons on each side. In addition, it stated that the maximum takeoff and landing weight was 3,400 lbs.

An examination of the engine by a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator revealed that the engine remained attached to the airframe. The top spark plugs were removed and exhibited normal wear when compared to the Champion Check-A-Plug chart. A boroscope was used to examine the interior of the cylinders, pistons, and valves, and no anomalies were noted. The propeller was rotated through 360° of motion and crankshaft continuity was confirmed from the propeller flange to the accessory section of the engine. Compression and suction were confirmed on all cylinders by rotating the propeller by hand. The magnetos exhibited damage from the water submersion. The fuel flow divider was disassembled, and the diaphragm was intact with no tears or obstructions in the valve noted. The fuel injectors were removed from the cylinders and no blockages or obstructions were noted. There were no anomalies noted with the engine that would have precluded normal operation prior to the accident.

During the examination of the engine, the NTSB investigator noted that the cabin of the airplane contained multiple household items that nearly reached the ceiling of the cabin. The items could not be weighed after the airplane was submerged in water, since that weight would be inaccurate. When discussing the accident sequence with the pilot, he stated that he did not perform a weight and balance calculation with the contents of the airplane prior to takeoff. Furthermore, despite multiple requests made to the owner of the airplane to obtain the airplane weight and balance information, no response was ever received.

According to the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (FAA-H-8083-25B), The pilot should always be aware of the consequences of overloading. An overloaded aircraft may not be able to leave the ground, or if it does become airborne, it may exhibit unexpected and unusually poor flight characteristics. If not properly loaded, the initial indication of poor performance usually takes place during takeoff. In addition, it stated, weight and balance computations should be part of every preflight briefing."

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial; Foreign
Age: 34, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 1 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 02/20/2017
Occupational Pilot:
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 06/18/2017
Flight Time:  3500 hours (Total, all aircraft), 700 hours (Total, this make and model), 40 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 20 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: PIPER
Registration: C6RVT
Model/Series: PA32 300
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture:
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 32-40067
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 6
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 11/07/2017, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3400 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 4076.87 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: IO-540-K1A5
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 300 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: FXE, 14 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 1 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1653 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 13°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 8 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: 330°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 30.1 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 16°C / 2°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: FORT LAUDERDALE, FL (FXE)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Nassau, FN (MYNN)
Type of Clearance: VFR Flight Following
Departure Time: 1210 EST
Type of Airspace: 

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: Water
Airport Elevation: 13 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Water--calm
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced Landing

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: 26.177222, -80.176111 (est)

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