Sunday, August 16, 2020

Loss of Engine Power (Total): Cessna 172G Skyhawk, N4379L; accident occurred August 27, 2018 in Rushville, Rush County, Indiana

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

Additional Participating Entities: 

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Indianapolis - Plainfield, Indiana
Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama 

Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Rushville, IN
Accident Number: CEN18LA352
Date & Time: 08/27/2018, 1350 EDT
Registration: N4379L
Aircraft: Cessna 172
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (total)
Injuries: 2 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On August 27, 2018, about 1350 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172G , N4379L, sustained substantial damage when it was involved in an accident near Rushville, Indiana. The private pilot and the passenger sustained minor injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The pilot reported that the purpose of the flight was to fly cross-country to visit family members. She landed at the Greater Portsmouth Regional Airport (PMH), Portsmouth, Ohio, and topped off both fuel tanks. She then departed for her planned next stop at the Crawfordsville Municipal Airport (CFJ), Crawfordsville, Indiana.

After the departure climb from PMH, the engine temporarily "sputtered" and then operated normally. While in cruise flight about 2,900 ft above mean sea level (msl) and traveling about 85 kts with a heading of 300°, the engine "sputtered" and ceased producing power. The pilot stated the outside air temperature gauge indicated about 80° F and she did not believe the engine was experiencing carburetor icing conditions. The pilot did not remember what temperature the carburetor temperature gauge was displaying at the time. The engine power decreased to 1,500 rpm, then 1,000 rpm. The pilot advanced the mixture to the full rich position and the engine "smoothed out a little." As the airplane descended to 2,000 ft msl, the engine began "sputtering" again and the engine power decreased to about 1,000 rpm and ceased producing power. She attempted to troubleshoot the engine power loss without applying carburetor heat but was not successful in regaining engine power.

Although her aeronautical navigational chart showed a private airstrip close to her location for executing a forced landing, the pilot elected not to land there due to her airspeed and altitude, and instead choose to land in an open soybean field. During the forced landing sequence, she attempted to maneuver the airplane between a powerline pole and several trees. The airplane struck the powerlines and impacted the field, coming to rest in a slightly nose down attitude.

Two Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aviation safety inspectors traveled to the accident site to document the wreckage. The airplane sustained substantial damage to both wings and the fuselage from the impact sequence. The inspectors noted that the both the left and right wing fuel tanks had not been breached and contained an adequate amount of usable fuel for the flight to CFJ.

An airframe and engine examination were performed by an airframe and powerplant mechanic under the supervision of the FAA. During the examination, no preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures were noted with the airframe and engine. An examination of the airplane's maintenance records revealed no evidence of uncorrected mechanical discrepancies with the airframe and engine.

The airplane was equipped with an analog carburetor temperature gauge that was located on the right side of the cockpit, about 6 inches to the right and level with the base of the control yoke. The gauge displayed a temperature range of -20° C to 20° C, with a yellow arc range of -15° C to 5° C, and a green arc range from 5° C to 20° C. There was also a placard that read, "keep needle out of yellow arc during possible carburetor icing conditions."

At the time of the accident, the nearest weather reporting station at Shelbyville Municipal Airport (GEZ), Indiana, 17 miles west-southwest of the accident site, reported a dew point of 72° F.

Based on the weather conditions reported by the pilot and at GEZ, the carburetor icing probability chart from the FAA Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin CE-09-35 Carburetor Icing Prevention, showed a probability of serious icing at glide power. 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 40, Female
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 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 10/26/2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N4379L
Model/Series: 172 G
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1966
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 17254458
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 11/01/2017, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 2299 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 
Engine Manufacturer: Continental Motors
ELT: Installed, activated, did not aid in locating accident
Engine Model/Series: O-300D
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 145 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: KGEZ, 804 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 23 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1753 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 255°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 4100 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 13 knots / 20 knots
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction: 210°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.09 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 31°C / 22°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Portsmouth, OH (PMH)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR
Destination: Crawfordsville, IN (CFJ)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 1145 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Minor
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Minor
Latitude, Longitude: 39.675000, -85.322222 (est)

1 comment:

  1. Carb icing. Could have been much worse with the power lines; also nice that there was no fire.