Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Loss of Engine Power (Total): Ercoupe 415-C, N2585H; accident occurred October 17, 2019 near Pearland Regional Airport (KLVJ), Brazoria County, Texas


Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Houston, Texas

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board:  https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Investigation Docket  - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms


Location: Alvin, TX
Accident Number: GAA20CA031
Date & Time: 10/17/2019, 1012 CDT
Registration: N2585H
Aircraft: Ercoupe 415
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (total)
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal


The pilot reported that, before departure, he fueled the airplane to full capacity (24 gallons). He added that, about 3 hours 36 minutes into the flight, upon descending to 2,000 ft, the engine began to run roughly. He reported that, for about 5 minutes, the engine fluctuated between running roughly and intermittently before quitting entirely. He decided to land in a subdivision. During the "high speed flare," he observed the left wing was approaching a light pole, so he "drove the yoke right." The airplane landed hard, and he applied hard braking. The right wheel hit the curb, and the right wing impacted a fence. He saw another light pole and added left yoke input. The airplane ground looped to the left. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the left wing. The pilot reported that there were no preaccident mechanical failures or malfunctions with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation. The Federal Aviation Administration inspector reported that he examined the fuel tanks and found no visible signs of fuel.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's improper fuel planning, which resulted in fuel exhaustion, a total loss of engine power, and an off-airport landing, during which the airplane landed hard and then ground looped. 


Fuel - Fluid level (Cause)

Personnel issues
Fuel planning - Pilot (Cause)

Environmental issues
Pole - Effect on operation

Factual Information

History of Flight

Fuel exhaustion
Loss of engine power (total) (Defining event)

Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT) 

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 65, Male
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: Sport Pilot
Last FAA Medical Exam:
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 10/02/2019
Flight Time:  (Estimated) 314.9 hours (Total, all aircraft), 62.4 hours (Total, this make and model), 314.9 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 20.3 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 20.3 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 3.6 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Ercoupe
Registration: N2585H
Model/Series: 415 C
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1946
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 2721
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 06/01/2019, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1260 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 3021.6 Hours at time of accident
Engine Manufacturer:Continental 
ELT: C91 installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: A&C75
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 85 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: KLVJ, 44 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 5 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1453 UTC
Direction from Accident Site: 38°
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: 50°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.06 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 16°C / 10°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Sonora, TX (SOA)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Houston, TX (LVJ)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0636 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

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: 29.451389, -95.302500 (est)

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