Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Loss of Control in Flight: Comp Air 6, N12LF; accident occurred July 14, 2020 at Central Jersey Regional Airport (47N), Manville, Somerset County, New Jersey

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board

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

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Manville, New Jersey 
Accident Number: ERA20CA252
Date & Time: July 14, 2020, 17:00 Local 
Registration: N12LF
Aircraft: FURLONG CA-6 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight 
Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal


The private pilot had just flown his tailwheel equipped airplane into the airport to purchase fuel, where the flight was uneventful. After purchasing fuel, the pilot performed another flight control check and initiated the takeoff. During the takeoff roll, as the tail came off the ground, the airplane began to pull to the left. The pilot continued with the takeoff but as the airplane climbed to about 40 ft above the ground, it continued to pull left despite right rudder and aileron input. The pilot was unable to stop the turn and attempted to land the airplane. The airplane struck a chain link fence adjacent to airport property and flipped over resulting in
substantial damage to both wings, right horizontal stabilizer and elevator, vertical stabilizer and rudder. A post-accident examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) maintenance inspector confirmed flight control continuity between the cockpit controls and all primary flight controls, including the rudder. Further inspection revealed that the right rudder pedals were displaced full right; however, impact damage of the rudder precluded the ability to conclusively verify proper system operation. The pilot reported that he had no previous operational or mechanical issues with the rudder prior to the accident.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
A loss of directional control on takeoff for undetermined reasons.


Aircraft Heading/course - Attain/maintain not possible
Not determined (general) - Unknown/Not determined
Environmental issues Fence/fence post - Ability to respond/compensate

Factual Information

History of Flight

Takeoff Loss of control in flight (Defining event)
Takeoff Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 64,Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None 
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): None 
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None 
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With waivers/limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: May 22, 2020
Occupational Pilot: No 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: April 19, 2019
Flight Time: 455 hours (Total, all aircraft), 48.4 hours (Total, this make and model), 8.5 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 1.8 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0.8 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: FURLONG 
Registration: N12LF
Model/Series: CA-6 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1998 
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Utility; Experimental (Special)
Serial Number: 001
Landing Gear Type: 
Tailwheel Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: June 15, 2020 
Annual Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3500 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 2490 Hrs as of last inspection 
Engine Manufacturer: Lycoming
ELT: Installed, not activated 
Engine Model/Series: IO-540-CIA
Registered Owner:
Rated Power: 260 Horsepower
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC)
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: LDJ,22 ft msl 
Distance from Accident Site: 17 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 17:35 Local 
Direction from Accident Site: 90°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 8 knots / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 320° 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 29.96 inches Hg 
Temperature/Dew Point:
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Manville, NJ (47N) 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Erwinna, PA (9N1) 
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 17:00 Local 
Type of Airspace: Unknown

Airport Information

Airport: Central Jersey Rgnl 47N 
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 85 ft msl
Runway Surface Condition: Dry; Vegetation
Runway Used: 25 
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3507 ft / 50 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Forced landing; Full stop

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Minor 
Latitude, Longitude: 40.524444,-74.598335(est)

Station 37 Fire 
At 5:00pm Stations 37 and 38 were dispatched to the Central Jersey Airport for the airplane crash. Station 37 responded with Deputy Chief 37, Asst. Chief 37, Rescue 37, Engine 37 and Tanker 37. Also responding were: Chief 38, Deputy Chief 38, Ladder 38, Rescue 38, the Fire Marshals units and County HAZMAT. Once on location Deputy 37 established command and confirmed a private passenger aircraft that had crashed in the neighboring cemetery property. Upon arrival the pilot had self extricated the aircraft. District firefighters mitigated fuel loss from the aircraft’s fully loaded tanks and prepared for fire suppression. Members cleared at approximately 10:00 pm. 

HILLSBOROUGH, New Jersey - A single-engine aircraft crashed in Sacred Heart Cemetery along the property line adjacent to Central New Jersey Airport around 5 p.m. Tuesday.

The pilot was able to unstrap his seat harness and slithered out of the plane. He was uninjured, according to bystanders. There were no passengers in the plane.

The plane clipped the chain link fence with its fixed landing gear and nose dived into the ground, flipping the plane over. A huge gouge was left in the ground where the propellor hit, forcing the plane to tip over, according to bystanders.

The crash occurred in a remote section of the cemetery towards the rear of the property, hundreds of yards distant from any grave sites.

Police and emergency personnel were on the scene, with investigators from the Federal Aviation Authority expected to arrive around 7:30 p.m.

A HazMat unit was called in to secure a small fuel leak from the plane.

Airport owner Joe Horner said the fuel tanks in the wing of the plane would be pumped out first; the wing would then be disassembled so that the fuselage of the plane could be placed on a flatbed truck to be removed from the crash site and moved to a secure location for investigators to get a closer look.

Horner said the plane was based at Vansant Airport in Erwinna, Pennsylvania, 29 miles directly west of the airport in Hillsborough. Horner said it was the type of plane that could be built by a hobbyist inside of an airplane hangar.

The plane was largely intact following the crash. Pieces of the wing tip were scattered in front of the engine, which was crumpled from the impact.

The airport is located at 1034 Millstone River Road.

This was the second crash at the small airport in less than a year.

In September 2019, a Cessna 172 plane crashed into the treetops along the south side of the Manville Causeway around noon on its approach to the runway.

The pilot, identified as a 33-year-old Somerset County resident, told authorities the plane’s engine had stalled, forcing him to land in the wooded area short of the runway an estimated 70-75 feet in the air. There were no other passengers.

He was uninjured and managed to make a call on his cell phone to report the incident; he remained trapped in the trees for nearly four hours until rescue personnel using a bucket lift truck from a landscaping company were able to remove him from the plane.  Aerial photos and video from news helicopters showed the plane intact, sitting on top of the tree canopy supported by the tree limbs.

HILLSBOROUGH – The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating, and the National Transportation Safety Board will determine what caused a single-engine aircraft to veer off a runway at Central Jersey Regional Airport, hit a fence and flip over.

At 5 p.m. Tuesday, a Comp Air 6 plane veered off Runway 25 on departure from the airport on Millstone River Road, FAA spokeswoman Arlene Salac said in a statement.

The pilot was the only person onboard the aircraft, Salac said.

Police said the crash occurred in an open field on the 1000 block of Millstone River Road. In a Fire Station 37 Facebook post, the field was identified as the neighboring Sacred Heart Cemetery property. The post also indicated the pilot self-extricated from the aircraft.

The pilot, Joe Gubernat, 64, of Lebanon Township, was transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries, police said.  

Responding units to the scene included the Hillsborough Police Department, Hillsborough Fire Stations 37 and 38, Hillsborough Office of Emergency Management, Hillsborough Fire Safety, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Rescue Squad, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Mobile Intensive Care Unit, Somerset County Hazmat and Manville Police Department, police said.

1 comment:

  1. Not exactly a lost control on takeoff roll accident. Had to be up and flying to end up way over there (red pin on map linked below matches photos):