Sunday, January 12, 2020

Powerplant System/Component Malfunction/Failure: Piper J3C-65, N49614; accident occurred August 25, 2019 in Russiaville, Howard County, Indiana

Airplane on its Nose;
Federal Aviation Administration

Damage Right Rib and Spar
Federal Aviation Administration

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Indianapolis, Indiana

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Russiaville, IN
Accident Number: CEN19TA293
Date & Time: 08/25/2019, 1725 EDT
Registration: N49614
Aircraft: PIPER J3C
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Powerplant sys/comp malf/fail
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On August 25, 2019, about 1725 eastern daylight time, a Piper J3C airplane, N49614, was substantially damaged during a forced landing to a field near Russiaville, Indiana. The pilot and passenger were not injured. The airplane was owned and operated by a private individual under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) flight plan had been filed for the flight. The personal cross-country flight departed Frankfort Municipal Airport (FKR), Frankfort, Indiana, about 1715, and was en route to Huntington Municipal Airport (HHG), Huntington, Indiana.

According to the pilot, he departed FKR, after a fuel stop, on a multi-leg cross-country flight. About 15 miles east of FKR, he noticed oil on the side window and the oil pressure gauge indicated a loss of oil pressure. The pilot was not sure that the engine would continue to run if he diverted to the nearest grass strip, so he executed a precautionary landing to a field. The pilot landed the airplane with the plowed furrow lines; however, the pilot was not able to stop the airplane before the end of the field. The pilot attempted to ground loop the airplane; however, the right main landing gear collapsed and the airplane nosed into a fence and corn crop. The right wing ribs and spar were substantially damaged.

A post-accident examination of the airplane revealed that the oil cap was missing from the engine. Subsequently, an airport employee at FKR found an oil cap on the ramp and the pilot confirmed that the oil cap belonged to the airplane. The pilot stated that he added oil to the engine while on the ground at FKR. He added he was in a hurry to depart so not conflict with skydiving traffic, he did not take the time to verify that the oil cap was properly reinstalled. No other mechanical anomalies were noted that would preclude normal operations.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 69, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land; Single-engine Sea
Seat Occupied: Rear
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 3 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 10/11/2018
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 05/13/2018
Flight Time: 1231 hours (Total, all aircraft), 172 hours (Total, this make and model), 1103 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 12.3 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 12.3 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 4.8 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make:PIPER
Registration: N49614
Model/Series: J3C
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1945
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: G-159
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 05/25/2019, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1170 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 2092 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Continental Motors
ELT: Installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: C85-12
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 85 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: KLAF, 605 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site:
Observation Time: 1654 EDT
Direction from Accident Site: 270°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 14 knots / 19 knots
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 90°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.99 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 27°C / 14°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Frankfort, IN (KFKR)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Huntington, IN (KHHG)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1715 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class G 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion:None 
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 40.405278, -86.242778 (est)

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