Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Loss of Engine Power (Partial): Champion 7EC Traveler, N9891B; accident occurred July 03, 2020 in Port O'Connor, Calhoun County, Texas

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; San Antonio, Texas

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board: 

Location: Port O'Connor, Texas 
Accident Number: CEN20LA260
Date & Time: July 3, 2020, 12:15 Local
Registration: N9891B
Aircraft: Champion 7EC
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (partial)
Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

Factual Information

On July 3, 2020, about 1215 central daylight time, a Champion 7EC airplane, N9891B, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Port O'Connor, Texas. The pilot and passenger were not injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to the pilot, after adding fuel to the airplane, he departed from the Calhoun County Airport (KPKV) and flew along the coastline. About 15 minutes into the flight, the engine lost power. He established best glide airspeed and turned the airplane towards land. The airplane would not hold altitude and impacted terrain and brush about 400 yards from the coastline.

A small post-crash fire developed in the engine compartment; substantial damaged was noted to the wing struts and bottom fuselage. Damage was also found on the main landing gear and propeller. The wreckage was recovered to a hangar and an engine examination was conducted. The examination found that the No. 3 intake valve was stuck in the open position. A reason for the stuck valve was not identified. It was also noted that the valve springs on all the cylinders were weak; however, it could not be determined if this was due to heat from the post-crash engine compartment fire. No other pre-impact abnormalities were found.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 37
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land; Multi-engine land
Seat Occupied: Front
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Gyroplane; Helicopter
Restraint Used:
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With waivers/limitations 
Last FAA Medical Exam: January 28, 2019
Occupational Pilot: No 
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: December 5, 2018
Flight Time: 1061 hours (Total, all aircraft), 41 hours (Total, this make and model), 925 hours (Pilot In Command, all aircraft), 4 hours (Last 90 days, all aircraft), 1 hours (Last 30 days, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Champion 
Registration: N9891B
Model/Series: 7EC No Series 
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1958 
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal 
Serial Number: 211
Landing Gear Type: 
Tailwheel Seats:
Date/Type of Last Inspection: September 24, 2019 Annual 
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 3026 Hrs at time of accident 
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT: Installed, not activated 
Engine Model/Series: O-200
Registered Owner: 
Rated Power: 100 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: KPKV 
Distance from Accident Site:
Observation Time: 12:15 Local
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 3700 ft AGL 
Visibility 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling: Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 6 knots / Turbulence Type
Forecast/Actual:  /
Wind Direction: 230° 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 30.02 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 34°C / 26°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Port Lavaca, TX (KPKV) 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Port O'Connor, TX
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 
Type of Airspace: 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 None 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 None 
Latitude, Longitude: 28.445278,-96.441108(est)


  1. Congratulations to the pilot for successfully managing a bad situation with no injuries!

  2. "Every airplane has a best rate of descent glide speed which translates into the most ground covered in a forward direction for the least amount of altitude sacrificed; the most forward for the least down.
    When the ground starts rushing up at us in a crash situation we'd all like our airplane to assume the glide characteristics of a parachute. In the worse sort of way we want to get rid of that forward speed we know is causing the trees to rush past at such a horrifying rate. Intellectually we know the best glide speed is supposed to be the best of both worlds, but its hard not to start cheating that nose up to get rid of speed. However, if we give in, and the power plant is no longer there to overcome the resulting increased drag, the airplane has no choice but to give into gravity and let the airplane down faster.
    Many injuries are the result of getting the airplane too slow while still too far off the ground. The airplane didn't stall, but the nose was brought up while the airplane was too high and the vertical rate of descent had plenty of time to skyrocket. There is a lot of structure in an airplane to absorb forward impact, but very little that works in the vertical direction.

    Rule one in crashing: Fight the urge to pull. Maintain best glide speed until flaring just before impact. Try to make the landing as nearly normal as possible.

    Rule two: Use the airframe to absorb as much energy as possible."


    1. Yep. I learned how to fly in northwest Florida where there are nothing but pine tree forests inland from the Gulf Coast. If we couldn't make a road or an empty field, we were trained to go into the pines as slow as possible and fly it "all the way down" including using the rudder to point the nose if at all possible between the tree trunks. One student from that school actually used that tactic during an oil pump failure. He hit the tops of the trees which average 40-50 feet in the region and sank in. He got it slow enough that the branches broke the fall but still twisted the aircraft around which hit nose down into the ground. He didn't walk away without injury, but he did walk away. Estimates from a USAF crash investigator (it was an Air Force Base aero club) that he impacted the ground at about 30mph. A hell of a lot better than 100.

  3. Or trim for best glide and don't move the back until touch down whether ground or trees.

    Flying is simple. To go up pull back. To go down pull back further.

    1. guess that works on ur home flight simulator ! then there is the matter of atmospheric conditions !!