Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Loss of Engine Power (Total): Cessna 172N, N1443E; accident occurred October 24, 2019 in Swea City, Kossuth County, Iowa

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

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Des Moines, Iowa

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: Swea City, IA
Accident Number: CEN20LA014
Date & Time: 10/24/2019, 2100 CDT
Registration: N1443E
Aircraft: Cessna 172
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (total)
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On October 24, 2019, about 2100 central daylight time, a Cessna 172 airplane, N1443E, conducted a forced landing near Swea City, Iowa. The pilot, the sole occupant, received minor injuries, and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was registered to Iowaair, Inc, and operated by Iowa Flight Training, under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a cross-country flight. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight and no flight plan had been filed. The multi-leg flight originated from the Estherville Municipal Airport (EST), Estherville, Iowa,

The pilot reported that he conducted a preflight inspection of the airplane. He added a half quart of oil to the engine from a bottle that was in the airplane. He also got another bottle of engine oil from the FBO (Fix Based Operator) to keep in the airplane. He disposed of the empty oil bottle and continued with his preflight. After engine start and before takeoff, he noted that both oil pressure and temperature gauges "seemed to read within the green range".

While on the night cross-country flight, about half-way between Mason City and Fort Dodge, the pilot noticed that the oil pressure gauge indicated near zero, so he diverted back to EST. Shortly afterwards, the engine started to shake and then stopped producing full power. The airplane was unable to hold altitude, so he elected to conduct a forced landing to a road.

An examination of the airplane by the responding Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector found the airplane had impacted a dirt road and came to rest upright, in the ditch. Substantial damage was noted to the airplane's fuselage. The inspector also noted engine oil on the side of the cowling, and the engine's oil dipstick was on the ground, about 2 to 3 ft in front of the airplane.

In a follow-up interview with the pilot, the FAA inspector reported the pilot would typically place the oil dipstick in the wing's tie down loop, when he checked or added oil to the engine.

After the airplane was recovered to a hangar, an engine examination was conducted by maintenance personnel under the supervision of the FAA. Oil was observed on the firewall and the airplane's right-side fuselage. The oil filter was cut open and the engine borescoped; scoring on the number two and four cylinders was observed. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 20
Airplane Rating(s): 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 2 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 10/02/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  182 hours (Total, all aircraft), 28 hours (Total, this make and model), 130 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 31 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 2 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N1443E
Model/Series:172 N 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1978
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 17271003
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 09/22/2019, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2299 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 4063.8 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed
Engine Model/Series: O-320 SERIES
Registered Owner: Iowair Inc Dba
Rated Power:
Operator: Iowa Flight Training
Operating Certificate(s) Held: Pilot School (141)

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Night
Observation Facility, Elevation:
Distance from Accident Site:
Observation Time:
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Calm /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:
Altimeter Setting: 30.35 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: -2°C / -4°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Precipitation
Departure Point: Mason City, IA (KMCW)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Fort Dodge, IA (KFOD)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time:
Type of Airspace:

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: 43.384167, -94.320278 (est)

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