Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Cessna 177RG Cardinal RG, N1813Q: Accident occurred July 24, 2020 in Salinas, Puerto Rico

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; San Juan, Puerto Rico

Location: Salinas, PR
Accident Number: ERA20LA261
Date & Time: 07/24/2020, 1002 AST
Registration: N1813Q
Aircraft: Cessna 177RG
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Instructional

On July 24, 2020, about 1002 Atlantic standard time, a Cessna 177RG, N1813Q, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Salinas, Puerto Rico. The private pilot and the flight instructor were not injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 instructional flight.

The pilot, who was the owner of the airplane, stated that he performed a thorough preflight inspection and an engine run-up before departure with no fuel contamination noted and no discrepancies with the run-up reported. The flight departed from Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport, San Juan, Puerto Rico, about 0852 with full fuel tanks and flew west, where according to ADS-B data when near Dorado, he briefly performed airwork, then proceeded to Mercedita Airport (TJPS), Ponce, Puerto Rico. There he performed 1 touch-and-go landing followed by 2 full-stop taxi back landings. After takeoff from TJPS while en route to Jose Aponte de la Torre Airport, Ceiba, Puerto Rico, the flight climbed to about 1,100 ft mean sea level. While flying at that altitude, and at a speed between 120 and 130 miles-per-hour in an easterly direction, he "felt this very mild, very mild vibration" followed by a, "very smooth gradual loss of engine power." He informed the flight instructor of the loss of engine power and turned on the auxiliary fuel pump but that did not restore engine power. The on-board engine analyzer indicated that the engine was shock cooling with corresponding decrease of exhaust gas temperature (EGT) and cylinder head temperature (CHT) readings. He noted an open area to his left and informed the flight instructor of the impending forced landing. He landed in the intended area with the landing gear and flaps full down, and during the landing roll he retracted the flaps. When the airplane was nearly stopped, it nosed over.

Following the accident, the airplane was uprighted and by calculation about 21 gallons of fuel were drained from the left wing fuel tank while only a residual amount of fuel was drained from the right fuel tank. Slight water contamination was noted at the servo fuel injector inlet screen, which was nearly completely blocked on the interior with ferrous material. A slight amount of water was also found in both wing fuel tanks, the airframe fuel strainer and the fuel drain located in the area of the pilot's seat. Disassembly inspection of the engine-driven fuel pump revealed significant corrosion of the internal steel valves. The airplane was recovered for further examination of the fuel system.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N1813Q
Model/Series: 177RG No Series
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
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: TJNR, 38 ft msl
Observation Time: 0953 AST
Distance from Accident Site: 41 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 29°C / 24°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 2800 ft agl
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 10 knots / , 110°
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 5000 ft agl
Visibility: 7 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.04 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Ponce, PR (TJPS)
Destination: Ceiba, PR (TJRV)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 2 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:N/A
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None
Latitude, Longitude: 17.956111, -66.284444

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