Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Loss of Engine Power (Partial): Van’s RV-6A, N596JB; fatal accident occurred May 18, 2019 in Chillicothe, Ross County, Ohio

Glen Ray Galloway
September 7, 1928 - May 18, 2019 
Born in Huntington, West Virginia 
Resided in Waverly, Ohio

Aviation Accident Final Report - National Transportation Safety Board 

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Cincinnati, Ohio
Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama 
Van's Aircraft; Aurora, Oregon 

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Chillicothe, Ohio
Accident Number: CEN19FA144
Date & Time: May 18, 2019, 12:45 Local
Registration: N596JB
Aircraft: Vans RV6 
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (partial)
Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal


The pilot departed an experimental, amateur-built airplane on a cross-country flight in day visual meteorological conditions. A witness near the accident site said the airplane "engine slowed or stalled," then the engine "refired" and subsequently "stalled" Again. He then observed the airplane in a left bank turn and the engine sounded "wide open" until the airplane impacted trees and terrain.

Examination of the wreckage did not reveal any preimpact mechanical anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. The airplane's full authority digital engine control (FADEC) system components were operational.

Although toxicology testing detected ethanol, its presence could be attributed to postmortem production. During a flight review a few weeks before the accident, the pilot told a flight instructor that he previously had trouble with the airplane's ignition system. The flight instructor reported that there were no ignition issues during the flight review.

Based on the available information, it is likely that the airplane had intermittent engine issues, which could not be replicated during postaccident examination and testing. When the engine lost power, the pilot did not maintain airplane control and impacted trees and terrain.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to maintain control of the airplane following an intermittent loss of engine power during cruise flight that resulted in him impacting trees. The reason for the loss of engine power could not be determined based on the available information.


Aircraft (general) - Malfunction
Personnel issues Aircraft control - Pilot
Aircraft (general) - Not attained/maintained
Not determined (general) - Unknown/Not determined
Environmental issues Tree(s) - Contributed to outcome

Factual Information

History of Flight

Enroute Unknown or undetermined
Enroute Loss of engine power (partial) (Defining event)
Enroute Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

On May 18, 2019, about 1245 eastern daylight time, a Vans RV6A experimental, amateur-built airplane, N596JB, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Chillicothe, Ohio. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The airplane departed Pickaway County Memorial Airport (CYO), Circleville, Ohio, about 1235 and was destined for Pike County Airport (EOP), Waverly, Ohio.

According to a witness near the accident site, the airplane "engine slowed or stalled," then the engine "refired" and subsequently "stalled" Again. He observed the airplane in a left bank turn and stated that the engine sounded "wide open" until the crash.

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private 
Age: 90, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: 4-point
Instrument Rating(s): None 
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None 
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Sport pilot Without waivers/limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: February 6, 2017
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: April 24, 2019
Flight Time: (Estimated) 1967 hours (Total, all aircraft)

The pilot's last third-class FAA medical certificate was issued to him on February 6, 2017, with no limitations and expired on February 28, 2019. According to information from the FAA, the pilot completed the BasicMed comprehensive medical examination checklist on December 13, 2017, completed the BasicMed course on February 27, 2018, and satisfied the requirements for BasicMed.

A review of the pilot's logbook showed that he completed a flight review on April 24, 2019.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Vans 
Registration: N596JB
Model/Series: RV6 A
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 2000 
Amateur Built: Yes
Airworthiness Certificate: Experimental (Special) 
Serial Number: 24723
Landing Gear Type:
Tricycle Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: September 4, 2018 Condition
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 830 Hrs as of last inspection 
Engine Manufacturer: Mattituck
ELT: Installed, not activated 
Engine Model/Series: TMXOF-360
Registered Owner:
Rated Power: 180 Horsepower
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

According to the flight instructor who conducted the pilot's flight review, the pilot indicated that he previously had trouble with the accident airplane's engine ignition system but that it was working properly at that time. The flight instructor did not notice any problems with the engine ignition during the flight review.

The airplane was equipped with a full authority digital engine control (FADEC) system, which controlled the ignition spark and fuel mixture in the engine.

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual (VMC)
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: RZT,725 ft msl 
Distance from Accident Site: 12 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 12:35 Local 
Direction from Accident Site: 325°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 4600 ft AGL 
Visibility: 10 miles
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 10 knots / 
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:  /
Wind Direction: 250° 
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual:  /
Altimeter Setting: 29.96 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 27°C / 16°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: Circleville, OH (CYO) 
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Waverly, OH (EOP) 
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 12:35 Local
Type of Airspace: 

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal 
Latitude, Longitude: 39.284168,-82.874443

The airplane wreckage came to rest in a wooded area about 145° and 12 nautical miles from Ross County Airport (RZT).

During the on-scene investigation, investigators found fragments of the airplane in both a tree trunk that had been separated about 30 ft above ground level and in the branches of the upper portion of the separated tree. The rear section of the fuselage and empennage came to rest about 57 ft and 70° from the separated tree, and the engine came to rest about 33 ft and 70° from the separated tree. The engine cowling, canopy, wings, and forward portion of the fuselage were highly fragmented and found in the branches of trees and on the ground between the separated tree and the empennage. Tree leaves near the empennage exhibited an appearance consistent with blight.

The rudder cables were traced from the rudder to the rear section of the fuselage. Elevator flight control continuity was traced from its servo at the rear portion of the fuselage aft to its control surface. All separations in flight control tubing were consistent with overload.

The engine control cable was fragmented and was not able to be traced. The engine speed sensor also exhibited minor damage. The engine was disassembled and no preimpact anomalies were observed.

Medical and Pathological Information

The Montgomery County Coroner's Office, Dayton, Ohio, performed an autopsy on the pilot. The autopsy listed the pilot's cause of death as multiple trauma.

Toxicology testing performed at the FAA Forensic Sciences Laboratory indicated that the samples sustained putrefaction and ethanol was detected in muscle, liver, and lung tissue. No tested-for substances were detected in the liver.

Tests and Research

One accident FADEC master power control (MPC) was destroyed and one sustained minor damage; it and the speed sensor were shipped to the engine manufacturer, and found the MPC was operationally capable of producing spark at each spark plug tower. The manufacturer connected the speed sensor to a testing system and it operated correctly when a metal target was moved near its sensors.

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