Sunday, June 13, 2021

Loss of Engine Power (Partial): ERCO Ercoupe 415-C, N87294, accident occurred June 13, 2019 near Holly Lake Ranch Airport (16TE), Hawkins, Wood County, Texas

Aviation Accident Final 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; Irving, Texas

Investigation Docket - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Hawkins, TX
Accident Number: CEN19LA167
Date & Time: 06/13/2019, 0856 CDT
Registration: N87294
Aircraft: Ercoupe 415
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (partial)
Injuries: 2 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 


The pilot and passenger departed on a cross-country flight to their home airport. The passenger reported that, after turning onto final approach for landing, the engine started running rough and the propeller "slowed down." The pilot attempted to restore engine power to no avail. The airplane impacted a 40-fttall tree about 550 ft from the runway threshold and about 70 ft north of the extended runway centerline. The pilot did not recall any of the events of the accident flight except the impact with the tree. Examination of the engine revealed no anomalies, and the reason for the loss of engine power could not be determined.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
A partial loss of engine power for undetermined reasons.


Not determined (general) - Unknown/Not determined

Factual Information

On June 13, 2019, at 0856 central daylight time, an Ercoupe 415-C, N87294, struck a tree and impacted terrain one mile east of Holly Lake Ranch Airport (16TE), Hawkins, Texas. The private pilot and his passenger sustained serious injuries. The airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions were reported at the airport about the time of the accident, and no flight plan had been filed for the flight that originated in Henderson (RFI), Texas, about 0830.

The pilot told a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector that he and his granddaughter had flown to RFI where he purchased 25 gallons of fuel, filling the airplane to capacity. They were returning to their home base. The pilot said he could not recall anything about the accident except for hitting the tree.

His passenger told the inspector that they had just made the turn onto final approach to runway 9 when the engine started running rough and the propeller "slowed down." She said the pilot attempted to restore engine power, but to no avail. They both saw the tree. The pilot tried to pull up, but it was not soon enough, and the airplane struck the tree. The inspector said the tree was about 40 ft tall, about 550 ft from the runway threshold, and was situated about 70 ft north of the extended runway centerline.

The inspector noted that the right wing was compressed, the empennage was buckled, and the forward portion of the fuselage was bent. There were no known witnesses to the accident. The engine was later examined by FAA inspectors. No anomalies were found. 

History of Flight

Approach-VFR pattern final Loss of engine power (partial) (Defining event)
Approach-VFR pattern final Collision with terr/obj (non-CFIT)

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 88, 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: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 01/13/2018
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  900 hours (Total, all aircraft), 900 hours (Total, this make and model) 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Ercoupe
Registration: N87294
Model/Series: 415 C
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1956
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 467
Landing Gear Type: Tricycle
Seats: 2
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 1260 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time:
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
Engine Model/Series: C-75-12
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 75 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: KJXI, 416 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 13 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 0855 CDT
Direction from Accident Site: 90°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 4 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual:
Wind Direction: 350°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: N/A / N/A
Altimeter Setting: 30.13 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 22°C / 15°C
Precipitation and Obscuration:
Departure Point: Henderson, TX (KRFI)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Hawkins, TX (16TE)
Type of Clearance: None 
Departure Time: 0830 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Holly Lake Ranch (16TE)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 409 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Dry
Runway Used: 09
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 2700 ft / 30 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Full Stop; Traffic Pattern

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 32.697778, -95.213611


  1. Replies
    1. Chart on pg 2 says icing possible if you convert that to F:$FILE/CE-09-35.pdf

      Example Ercoupe carb icing:

    2. The temperature/dew point combination lands this right in the middle of a "serious icing" zone on the chart

    3. yep, potential for serious icing descent power...