Sunday, November 03, 2019

Powerplant System/Component Malfunction/Failure: Cessna 182S, N378ES; accident occurred May 21, 2017 near Brandywine Airport (KOQN), West Chester, Chester County, Pennsylvania

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Location: West Chester, PA
Accident Number: ERA17LA185
Date & Time: 05/21/2017, 1355 EDT
Registration: N378ES
Aircraft: CESSNA 182 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Powerplant sys/comp malf/fail
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On May 21, 2017, about 1355 eastern daylight time, a privately owned and operated Cessna 182S, N378ES, was substantially damaged when it impacted a utility pole and terrain during a forced landing near West Chester, Pennsylvania. The private pilot was not injured. The flight departed Trenton Mercer Airport (TTN), Trenton, New Jersey at about 1330, and was destined for Montgomery County Airpark (GAI), Gaithersburg, Maryland. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the personal flight, which was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to the pilot, about 20 minutes into the flight at an altitude of about 5,000 ft mean sea level, he noticed a loss of oil pressure, and the oil pressure warning light illuminated about 1 minute later. The cylinder head temperature and oil temperature indications were normal. He declared an emergency with air traffic control and received vectors to the Brandywine Airport (OQN), West Chester, Pennsylvania. A few minutes later the engine began to "shudder" making it difficult to control the airplane. At that time, the oil temperature was "high up on the gauge" and he decided to shut down the engine. About 3 miles from OQN, he determined the airplane would likely not reach the airport, and he prepared for an off-airport landing in a nearby field. During the approach to the field he noticed powerlines obstructing his path. Unable to climb above them, he descended and attempted to fly underneath the wires; however, the left wing stuck a utility pole. The airplane impacted the ground and came to rest about 200 ft beyond the pole.

Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administrator (FAA) inspector revealed that the left wing was separated from the fuselage, the elevator and rudder were damaged. Oil streaks were observed along the fuselage belly, aft of the engine breather tube. An initial examination of the engine revealed that metal fragments were trapped in the oil suction screen. About 1/4 quart of oil was found in the sump. The No. 6 piston did not move when the engine was rotated by hand.

According to FAA records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, helicopter, and instrument airplane. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued April 6, 2016. The pilot reported 2,100 hours of total flight experience of which 1,200 were in the same make and model as the accident airplane.

The pilot reported that the airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on September 9, 2016, about 25 flight hours prior to the accident. The engine had accrued 2,250 hours since new, and about 860 hours since overhaul.

The engine was subsequently examined at a recovery facility. All major components accessories remained installed and intact. The crankcase and oil sump were intact with no punctures or other damage noted. There was no oil streaking or pooling on the engine or surrounding cowling. The spark plugs were removed, the No. 4 bottom spark plug and No. 6 top and bottom plugs were oil soaked. Thumb compression and suction were obtained on all cylinders with the exception of the No. 6 cylinder. The No. 6 cylinder was removed from the engine case. The No. 6 connecting rod was separated from the crankshaft. The connecting rod end and the crankshaft journal were discolored, smeared, and contained gouges, consistent with thermal damage. Remnants of connecting rod bearing material were found loose inside the crankcase. The crankshaft end of the connecting rod was spread open, discolored, and damaged. The rod end cap was separated from the rod, deformed, discolored and damaged. Both were consistent with thermal damage. The piston top had impact marks consisting with contact from both valves. The exhaust valve hydraulic lifter was fractured circumferentially. A borescope examination of the remaining cylinders did not reveal and damage or unusual marks. The engine oil pump was removed. The safety wire on the housing bolts was intact. The housing cover was removed. The drive coupling, gears, and housing were intact with no damage noted. The shaft turned freely by hand. An unmeasured amount of metal particles was noted inside the oil sump.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 67, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 04/06/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 04/15/2016
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 2100 hours (Total, all aircraft), 1200 hours (Total, this make and model), 2100 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 15 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 6 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Registration: N378ES
Model/Series: 182 S
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture:
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 18280013
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 09/09/2016, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3100 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 25 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 2450 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: IO-540-AB1A5
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 290 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: MQS, 660 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 10 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1355 EDT
Direction from Accident Site: 275°
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 4900 ft agl
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 5 knots / 11 knots
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: Variable
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.3 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 19°C / 6°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: TRENTON, NJ (TTN)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Type of Clearance: IFR
Departure Time: 1328 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class B

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type:
Airport Elevation: 462 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 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None
Latitude, Longitude: 39.959444, -75.632500 (est)

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