Friday, February 28, 2020

Loss of Engine Power (Total): Beech E17L Staggerwing, N41663; accident occurred January 24, 2017 in Discover Bay, Jefferson County, Washington

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

Additional Participating Entity:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Renton, Washington

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Discovery Bay, WA
Accident Number: WPR17LA058
Date & Time: 01/24/2017, 1430 PST
Registration: N41663
Aircraft: BEECH E17L
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (total)
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On January 24, 2017, about 1430 Pacific standard time, a Beech E17L airplane, N41663, experienced a loss of engine power and was subsequently ditched in Discovery Bay, Washington. The airline transport pilot was not injured; the airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The local area flight departed from Jefferson County International Airport, Port Townsend, Washington, about 1415.

The pilot stated that following departure, he maneuvered along the shoreline and the airplane reached about 900 ft above ground level (agl). The fuel pressure dropped to zero and the low-pressure light illuminated. The pilot switched the fuel selector from a top tank to the main tank and activated the fuel pump. The pressure remained at zero. The pilot attempted to restart the engine and switched tanks again, to no avail. He opted to ditch in the water and avoid the tall trees on land. The airplane touched down in the saltwater and became submerged, sustaining damage to the lower wing.

The Beech E17L Staggerwing, serial number (s/n) 196, was originally manufactured in 1936. The pilot purchased the airplane in 2001 and had accumulated about 250 hours of flight time in it. The airplane was equipped with a Jacobs R755B2 engine, s/n 11939. The last airframe maintenance was an annual inspection that reported as being completed in September 2016 at a total airframe time of 3,355 hours. The engine had amassed a total time of 916 hours.

The pilot recalled that prior to departure he had 66 gallons of fuel onboard. After the airplane was recovered, he removed the top wings. He found about 3-4 gallons of water and fuel (small amount) in the upper right wing and only water in the upper left wing. Due to the submersion of the airplane, it could not be determined if water was in the fuel tank prior to the accident and the fuel system could not be examined. The pilot additionally noticed that the ground wire on the electric pump was loose, but was unsure if it was a result of the impact and thought that the engine-driven fuel pump should have still been operational. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Airline Transport; Flight Instructor; Commercial; Flight Engineer
Age: 58, 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): Airplane Multi-engine; Airplane Single-engine
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 1 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 10/17/2016
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 10/25/2016
Flight Time: (Estimated) 20000 hours (Total, all aircraft), 250 hours (Total, this make and model) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: BEECH
Registration: N41663
Model/Series: E17L L
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1937
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 196
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 5
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 09/02/2016, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3391 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 2 Hours
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 3355 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: JACOBS
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series:R755B2 
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 330 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: KNRA, 199 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 16 Nautical Miles
Observation Time:1415 PST 
Direction from Accident Site: 35°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: Light and Variable /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction:90° 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.93 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 6°C / 5°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: PORT TOWNSEND, WA (0S9)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: PORT TOWNSEND, WA (0S9)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1415 PST
Type of Airspace:

Airport Information

Runway Surface Type: N/A
Airport Elevation: 110 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: 48.002778, -122.860000 (est)

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