Sunday, August 16, 2020

Loss of Engine Power (Partial): Columbia LC41-550FG, N78JE; accident occurred December 30, 2018 at Apopka Airport (X04), Orange County, Florida

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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Orlando, Florida
Textron Aircraft; Wichita, Kansas
Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Apopka, FL
Accident Number:ERA19LA081
Date & Time: 12/30/2018, 2025 EST
Registration: N78JE
Aircraft: CESSNA LC41
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (partial)
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal

On December 30, 2018, about 2025 eastern standard time, a Cessna LC41-550FG, N78JE, was substantially damaged during a forced landing at Apopka Airport (X04), Apopka, Florida. The private pilot was not injured. The airplane was operated by Hardwood Transport LLC under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Night, visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight to X04. The flight departed Greater Binghamton Airport (BGM), Binghamton, New York about 1523.

The pilot reported that he left BGM with full fuel tanks, or 102 usable gallons of fuel on board. Following an uneventful flight, he set up for a visual approach to runway 33 at X04. While on final approach, he observed animals on the runway. He performed a go-around and noted that the engine did not produce full power when the throttle was advanced. While on the downwind leg of the traffic pattern, the airplane would not maintain altitude, so the pilot performed a forced landing. The airplane collided with trees and came to rest in a wooded area off the airport property.

The wreckage was recovered to a storage facility and was examined by investigators. Both fuel tanks were breached during the impact sequence and the tanks were dry. The wire bundle connecting the boost pump was observed separated. When reconnected, the wire bundle was tight. Blue, contaminant free fuel was observed in the fuel strainer bowl. The fuel caps were observed installed in the filler necks.

The engine was sent to the manufacturer's facility for examination. Due to the minor amount of impact damage to the engine, the investigation team elected to attempt a test run. After some minor repairs to ready the engine for the test cell, the engine experienced a normal start on the first attempt without hesitation or stumbling in observed RPM. Throughout the test phase, the engine accelerated normally without any hesitation, stumbling or interruption in power and demonstrated the ability to produce rated horsepower.

The airplane was equipped with a Garmin G1000 integrated flight deck. The G1000 recorded flight and systems data, including fuel quantity and engine performance. The data indicated that the flight began with 51 gallons per tank, or 102 gallons total useable fuel on board. Fuel quantity indications during the final 15 minutes were erratic; however, the total fuel quantity about 15 minutes prior to the accident was about 17 gallons. The average fuel flow during the same time period was about 13.3 gallons/hr.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 59, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land; Single-engine Sea
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: 01/09/2019
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 10/03/2017
Flight Time: 1993 hours (Total, all aircraft), 284 hours (Total, this make and model), 1993 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 12 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 6 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Registration: N78JE
Model/Series: LC41 550FG
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture:
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Utility
Serial Number: 411030
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 4
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 12/18/2018, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3600 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 6 Hours
Engines: Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 1301 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT: C126 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: TSIO-550C(11)
Registered Owner: Hardwood Transport Llc
Rated Power: 310
Operator: Hardwood Transport Llc
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Night/Dark
Observation Facility, Elevation: KLEE, 75 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 14 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 2053 EST
Direction from Accident Site: 40°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility: 10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 3 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 100°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.17 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 21°C / 19°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Binghamton, NY (BGM)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Apopka, FL (X04)
Type of Clearance: VFR Flight Following
Departure Time: 1523 EST
Type of Airspace: Class C

Airport Information

Airport: Apopka Airport (X04)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 150 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 33
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 3987 ft / 60 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Go Around

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: 28.702778, -81.586667 (est)


  1. That fuel selector handle/knob looks like it's made out of wood or river rock.

  2. Must know more about that fuel knob it looks like my crapper lid

  3. It’s a piece of rare wood! Look at the registration of the plane! That’s (was) one awesome AC!
    Glad my no deaths. NY to FLA with no fuel stop at night? Too risky for me.