Thursday, May 28, 2020

Fuel Exhaustion: Ercoupe 415-C, N415WE; accident occurred October 19, 2016 in Lindenwold, Camden County, New Jersey

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

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office;  Allentown, Pennsylvania 

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Location: Lindenwold, NJ
Accident Number: ERA17LA023
Date & Time: 10/19/2016, 1240 EDT
Registration: N415WE
Aircraft: ERCOUPE 415
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Fuel exhaustion
Injuries:2 Serious 
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

On October 19, 2016, about 1240 eastern daylight time, an Ercoupe 415C, N415WE, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain in Lindenwold, New Jersey. The private pilot and passenger were seriously injured. No flight plan was filed for the flight that originated at Flying W Airport (N14), Lumberton, New Jersey. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The pilot stated he rented the airplane and added nine gallons of fuel at Claremont Airport (58M), Elkton, Maryland. He departed with full fuel, 18 gallons, for the 1.2 hour flight to N14. He picked up a passenger and departed for a local area flight with about 12 gallons of fuel. The passenger stated that after departing N14 they briefly returned to the airport to fix a headset before departing again for the local flight.

About 15 minutes into the flight, while level at 1,200 feet at 2,300 rpm, when "without warning or touching the throttle, no power was available." He applied carburetor heat, but power was not restored. He began an emergency descent and the airplane subsequently impacted trees in a residential area.
The passenger reported it appeared that the engine was running at low rpm, and that during the flight the pilot stated, "something was wrong with the throttle." The pilot later stated he believed there may have been a problem with the throttle connection.

The owner stated the airplane burns about five gallons per hour, it has two 9 1/2 gallon wing tanks and a six gallon header tank. The header tank gravity feeds to the engine and the wing tanks are equipped with engine driven fuel pumps.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, the airplane subsequently impacted terrain and sustained substantial damage to the wings, fuselage, and the cockpit. Examination of the wreckage by an FAA inspector revealed the glass bowl on the fuel filter housing was empty. The engine mounts, crankcase, fuel system, and wiring were examined, no anomalies were found. The propeller was removed and a starting fluid was sprayed into the engine intake area. After a few revolutions, the engine began to fire and briefly ran in spurts while starting fluid was sprayed into the engine air inlet area. Correct throttle cable connection was not verified.Although there was no postaccident fire, first responders sprayed the airplane with fire suppressant. Due to the damage to the airplane and the fire suppressant the FAA inspector was unable to determine the amount of usable fuel on board.

The pilot held a private certificate for airplane single engine land airplane. His last FAA first-class medical was issued on March 7, 1992, with no restrictions.

The two-seat, low wing, tricycle landing gear-equipped airplane, was manufactured in 1946. It was powered by a Continental C-75, 75 horsepower engine.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 66, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present:No 
Instructor Rating(s):None 
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 None
Last FAA Medical Exam: 03/07/1992
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 08/08/2015
Flight Time:  347 hours (Total, all aircraft), 19 hours (Total, this make and model), 347 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 3 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: ERCOUPE
Registration: N415WE
Model/Series:415 C 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1946
Amateur Built:No 
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 2157
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Date/Type of Last Inspection:
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1320 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer: CONT MOTOR
Engine Model/Series: C75 SERIES
Rated Power: 75 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: VAY, 53 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 10 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1254 EDT
Direction from Accident Site: 45°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 12000 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 6 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: / Unknown
Wind Direction: 260°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: / Unknown
Altimeter Setting: 29.92 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 27°C / 17°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: LUMBERTON, NJ (N14)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: LUMBERTON, NJ (N14)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1220 EST
Type of Airspace: Class G 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 39.824444, -74.988611

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