Thursday, October 22, 2020

Loss of Engine Power (Partial): Cessna 402B, N98649; accident occurred April 13, 2020 at Kirksville Regional Airport (KIRK), Missouri


Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board 

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Des Moines, Iowa

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Location: Kirksville, MO
Accident Number: CEN20LA149
Date & Time: 04/13/2020, 1955 CDT
Registration: N98649
Aircraft: Cessna 402
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (partial)
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter - Non-scheduled 

On April 13, 2020, a Cessna 402B, N98649, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident at Kirksville Municipal Airport (IRK), Kirksville, Missouri. The pilot was not injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 on-demand cargo flight.

The pilot reported that he was taking off and everything appeared normal until shortly after the airplane lifted off, and the pilot established a positive rate of climb and initiated the retraction of the landing gear. He said that as the landing gear retracted there was a substantial loss in engine power that resulted in an inability to maintain a positive rate of climb. He did not recall looking at the engine instruments and could not verify if there was a loss of power in a single engine or both engines. The pilot said he retarded the throttles and landed on the remaining runway without extending the landing gear, resulting in substantial damage to the rear spar caps. He said that he did not feather the propellers. He said he "shut down all systems and exited the plane" after it came to a stop.

The pilot stated that the airplane was refueled the day of the accident; he had sumped the fuel system during his preflight inspection and found no contaminants. The fuel capacity was 163 gallons without the locker fuel tanks refueled, which were not used according to the pilot. The operator and pilot both reported that there were 163 gallons of fuel onboard the airplane. The pilot took off with the main fuel tanks selected.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector conducted an examination of the airplane with the assistance of an aircraft mechanic. Both the left and right engine propellers were found in a partially feathered state as the airplane rested on the runway and both fuel selector valves were found in the off position. The fuel selectors had positive detents at each commanded tank position.

The right and left fuel selector sump bowls were removed and samples of liquid consistent with aviation fuel was recovered. The samples from both sump bowls contained a small amount of brownish liquid consistent with water. A small amount of liquid consistent with water was also found in a fuel sample from the left auxiliary fuel tank sump. No water was found in the remainder of the fuel system.

Compression and continuity of both engines was verified by removing a spark plug from each cylinder and rotating the propeller through the compression stroke while covering the spark plug holes. Each magneto was examined and verified to produce proper spark. Throttle, mixture, and propeller controls were verified to move freely and properly. The fuel line was removed from the fuel spider and the electric fuel pump operation was verified at both the Hi and Low positions for both engines, and the fuel line was reconnected.

Engine runs were subsequently completed on both the left and right engines under the supervision of an FAA inspector using a substitute propeller. Both engines were started and ran to full power utilizing the airplane's systems and fuel from the airplane's main fuel tanks, which was the same fuel onboard the airplane at the time of the accident. Both propellers cycled normally during the preflight routine and no anomalies were noted during either engine run.

The pilot's operating handbook states "To feather the propeller blades, the propeller control levers on the control pedestal must be placed in the feather position."

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 25, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Single-engine
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 Without Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 11/25/2019
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:   1461 hours (Total, all aircraft), 266 hours (Total, this make and model), 1392 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 122 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 42 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 0 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N98649
Model/Series: 402 B
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1977
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 402B1052
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 03/11/2020, 100 Hour
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 6301 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 38 Hours
Engines: 2 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 12056 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT: C91 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: TSIO-520 SER
Registered Owner: Air Exec Inc
Rated Power: 300 hp
Operator: Air Exec Inc
Operating Certificate(s) Held: On-demand Air Taxi (135)

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Dusk
Observation Facility, Elevation: KIRK
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1955 CDT
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 8 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: 270°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: 
Altimeter Setting: 29.15 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 3°C / -8°C
Precipitation and Obscuration:  No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Kirksville, MO (IRK)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Destination: St Louis, MO (STL)
Type of Clearance: IFR
Departure Time: 2007 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class E

Airport Information

Airport: Kirksville Rgnl (IRK)
Runway Surface Type: Concrete
Airport Elevation: 966 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 18
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 6005 ft / 100 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: None

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: 40.088056, -92.54444 (est)

AIRCRAFT: 1977 Cessna 402B N98649, s/n: 402B1030, AFTT 12095.0



#1 Engine:  Continental TSIO-520-EB, s/n: 503320, TT 8,382 hours, SMOH 1,035 hours
#2 Engine Continental TSIO-520-EB, s/n: 145173-5-B, TT 11,340 hours. SMOH 1,158 hours


Nav/Com  King KX 155
Nav/Com  King KX 155
Transponder-King KT 76A
ADF-King KR 87
Audio Panel King KMA 24 Bendix Radar

DESCRIPTION OF ACCIDENT:  On April 14, 2020, aircraft was on takeoff and pilot reported loss of power. The pilot then landed on the departure runway with the aircraft’s gear retracted resulting in a gear up landing.                                         

DAMAGE:  Damage includes but may not be limited to:  
The left and right McCauley three blade propellers sustained damage to all blades;
Due to the propellers striking the runway, the Continental TSIO-520 series engines would require tear down inspections;
The left and right inboard main gear doors were damaged and will require replacement;
There is sheet metal belly skin damage from aft of the nose gear well to aft of the rear wing station;
There appears to be three bulkheads that were damaged;
The main spar lower cap appears abraded;
The heater exhaust and several antennas mounted to the belly of the aircraft were damaged.    

WARRANTY:  There is no warranty, express or implied for the information provided herein or the condition, usability, workability, operability or marketability of the aircraft salvage.  All times are approximate and the logbooks and aircraft should be inspected by each bidder BEFORE BIDDING.  Failure of the bidder to view the salvage or wreckage, or confirm any information provided is NOT grounds for a claim or withdrawal of bid after bid closing date.) 

HOURS estimated from logbooks or other information - not guaranteed or warranted. 
Insurer reserves the right to reject any and all bids. 
Salvage is as is/where is. 
The posting information is the best to our knowledge. 
An inspection of the salvage is highly recommended. 


  1. Freight dog pilots have the hardest time building jobs in aviation. And this poor young man didn't have quality equipment to work with in that bird. I mean wow look at those old gauges. The sunlight-yellowed VSI and turn & slip indicator would look right at home in a 1950s Cessna. And that radio stack and 1970s era radar screen. This is a flying avionics museum!

    I am concerned however that if the freight company owner is too cheap to at least modernize the avionics, what else are they too cheap to spend money on? This young man needs to find another company with a better fleet. His judgement to put it on the ground immediately of course will come into question, especially his comment about not even checking the engine gauges. Maybe he did and doesn't remember because he panicked and everything happened too quick.

    All that said, what *is* certain is that he wanted it on the ground like RIGHT NOW before trying to continue the climb out. He certainly had enough hours in the bird at 266 to believe he could not climb his way out of the power loss and didn't have time to drop the gear with the remaining runway left and get it stopped (9 second operation to lock as the 414 did I got some time in). If he was at 100 knots that would have eaten up 1,500' of remaining runway waiting for the gear to get down and locked - KIRK is 6,000' long.

  2. close at est 1,400 hours ...
    "In the US, pilots are required to have 1,500 hours total time before they can qualify to become an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP)"


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