Saturday, December 26, 2020

Loss of Engine Power (Total): Rans S-7 Courier, N831RS; accident occurred November 15, 2019 in West Liberty, Morgan County, Kentucky

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; Louisville, Kentucky

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: West Liberty, Kentucky 
Accident Number: ERA20LA039
Date & Time: November 15, 2019, 14:30 Local
Registration: N831RS
Aircraft: Rans RANS S7 COURIER
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (total)
Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

Factual Information

On November 15, 2019, about 1430 eastern standard time, an experimental, amateur-built Rans S7 Courier airplane, N831RS, was substantially damaged during a forced landing to a field in West Liberty, Kentucky. The private pilot was not injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed for the cross-country flight, which originated from Jackson County Airport (I18), Ravenswood, West Virginia around 1220, and was destined for Smyrna Airport (MQY), Smyrna, Tennessee.

According to the pilot, while en route to the destination, the engine lost total power "like someone turned off" the magnetos. He primed and restarted the engine, however it only produced power for 3 to 4 seconds before it lost total power for a second time. He repeated the process again, and the engine again lost power. When he attempted to restart the engine for the third time, the propeller would not rotate to initiate the start. The pilot elected to make a forced landing to a nearby field. During the landing, the airplane struck a fence post, which resulted in substantial damage to the left wing and engine mounts.

An examination of the engine by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed that the propeller would rotate through 360° of motion when turned by hand. In addition, the oil reservoir was empty. Fuel samples were taken from both wings and no debris was noted in either sample of 100LL fuel.

An examination of the two-stroke engine by an NTSB investigator and manufacturer representative revealed that the engine remained attached to the fuselage. The propeller could be rotated through 360° of motion and compression was confirmed on both cylinders. Fuel was noted in both carburetors that was free of debris. The spark plugs were removed, exhibited normal wear, and were not oil soaked. An examination of the oil system revealed that there were no leaks in the system and the oil injection tank was empty. There was no oil pooling in the oil ports in the carburetors. Furthermore, when the exhaust y-pipe was removed from the cylinders, the aft piston exhibited vertical scoring and was not lubricated. The front piston did not have any scoring and was slightly lubricated. The fuselage was examined, and no oil streaking was noted. Oil was added to the oil injection tank and no leaks were noted.

According to the flight manual, the oil consumption of the engine was "approximately 0.2 [quarts] per hour at 5800 rpm (1 quart in 5 hours)," which converted to about 6.4 ounces of oil per hour. Furthermore, it stated that the oil tanks held about one gallon of oil and that the "oil tanks should supply enough oil for 20 hours of continuous engine operation." While examining the engine it was noted that there was only one oil tank and it could contain about 2 quarts of oil. No other oil tank that injected into the pistons was noted on the airplane. There were no maintenance entries that mentioned any oil tank maintenance in the logbooks.

According to the engine operator's manual, the engine oil injection would be 8.2 cubic inches of oil per hour per outlet, which, with two outlets, converted to about 9 ounces of oil per hour.

The preflight checklist stated to check the engine oil, hoses, wires, and cables prior to engine start.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 35, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None 
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane 
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None 
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 Without waivers/limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: November 1, 2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: July 23, 2019
Flight Time: 427 hours (Total, all aircraft), 21 hours (Total, this make and model), 341 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 42 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 20 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft), 5 hours (Last 24 hours, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Rans
Registration: N831RS
Model/Series: RANS S7 COURIER Undesignated
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1991 
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental (Special) 
Serial Number: 0988031
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: November 15, 2018 Condition Certified
Max Gross Wt.: 1050 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection: 
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 651 Hrs as of last inspection 
Engine Manufacturer: Rotax
ELT: Installed, not activated 
Engine Model/Series: 582
Registered Owner:
Rated Power: 65 Horsepower
Operator: On file 
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC) 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: JKL,1357 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 29 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 19:53 Local 
Direction from Accident Site: 187°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear 
Visibility: 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: None / None
Wind Direction:
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.21 inches Hg 
Temperature/Dew Point: 10°C / -3°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Ravenswood, WV (I18)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Smyrna, TN (MQY)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 12:20 Local
Type of Airspace: Class E

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries:
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 None 
Latitude, Longitude: 38.070835,-83.245002(est)

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