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N700PR accident description

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Tail numberN700PR
Accident dateJuly 17, 2003
Aircraft typeCessna T210L
LocationQuakertown, PA
Near 40.375834 N, -75.390277 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On July 17, 2003, about 2025 eastern daylight time, a Cessna T210L, N700PR, was destroyed during a forced landing, after it experienced a loss of engine power during the initial climb after takeoff from the Quakertown Airport (UKT), Quakertown, Pennsylvania. The certificated airline transport pilot was seriously injured, and the passenger was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed for the local personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to the airport manager, the airplane was flown from Wings Field (N67), Bluebell, Pennsylvania, to Quakertown by another pilot. The pilot of that flight reported the trip was normal and uneventful. The airplane was then refueled with 68.2 gallons of 100 Low Lead aviation gasoline. The pilot and passenger departed Quakertown and returned to land about 15 to 20 minutes later. After landing, the pilot taxied to runway 29 for another takeoff. The airport manager reported that he heard a "200 to 300 rpm surge" when the airplane was about 800 to 1,000 down the runway. He then heard a series of "pops" which lasted up to about 15 seconds. He could not see the airplane, but subsequently observed black smoke rising from the vicinity of the crash site.

During an interview, the pilot reported that the engine began to lose power about 200 to 300 feet above the ground. The airplane was not high enough for him to turn back toward the airport, and he attempted a forced landing.

Witnesses in the area of the accident site observed the airplane "very low" and descending. They reported hearing "sputtering" or "popping" engine noise. The airplane struck the ground and immediately burst into flames. The witnesses did not observe any smoke or fire coming from the airplane prior to ground impact.

The accident occurred during the hours of daylight approximately 40 degrees, 25.5 minutes north latitude, and 75 degrees, 23.3 minutes west longitude.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held an airline transport pilot certificate with an airplane multi-engine land rating, and a commercial pilot certificated with an airplane single-engine land rating. He also held a flight instructor certificate for airplane single engine land and instrument airplane. Review of the pilot's logbook, which contained entries dated until July 10, 2003, revealed that the pilot had accumulated approximately 4,013 hours of total flight experience, with about 850 hours accumulated during the 12 months preceding the accident.

The pilot's most recent FAA first class medical certificate was issued on January 14, 2003.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

Review of maintenance records revealed that the airplane had undergone an annual inspection on July 8, 2003. At the time of the inspection, the number two and six cylinders were replaced. The operator estimated that the airplane had been flown about 6 to 7 hours after the inspection.

The engine was installed at the time of the airplane's manufacture in 1975. At the time of the accident, the airplane had been operated for about 1,250 hours. The airplane had been operated for about 26 hours since May 2002, and 40 hours since December 2000.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The weather reported at the airport, about the time of the accident, included calm winds, clear skies, a temperature of 77 degrees F, and a dew point 57 degrees F.

WRECKAGE INFORMATION

The wreckage was located on top of a berm, about 3/4 mile southwest of the runway. Leading up to it, on a 150-degree magnetic heading, was an 85-foot ground scar. The airplane came to rest upright, on a heading of 350 degrees. With the exception of an 8-foot section of the empennage and the outboard portion of the left wing, the airframe was consumed by a post-crash fire. A representative from the Milford Township Fire Department stated that they did not want to extinguish the post-crash fire because of concerns that fuel would contaminate a nearby stream.

All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the accident site. The landing gear and flaps were found in the retracted position. The engine came to rest on it's right side, and remained attached to the airframe by cables and linkages. The engine was charred, and sustained significant fire damage. The three-bladed propeller remained attached to the engine. The outboard portions of all three blades were twisted, and contained chordwise scratches. The engine was removed from the accident site and examined in a hanger at Quakertown.

The engine crankcase was intact, and the propeller rotated freely. Thumb compression was attained on all cylinders. The magnetos were charred, and their respective spark plug leads were destroyed. The top spark plugs were removed. Their electrodes were intact and gray in color. The number one, three and five top spark plugs were oil soaked.

The fuel selector was observed in the "left tank" position. The fuel pump was fire damaged and could not be rotated; however, the drive coupling remained intact. The throttle body was partially melted, and the "butterfly" valve was exposed. The fuel control unit was fire damaged. Both the airframe and fuel control unit fuel filters exhibited evidence of heat distress; however, they were absent of visible contamination.

The engine and fuel pump were retained for further examination.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

The engine was disassembled and examined on October 29, 2003, at Teledyne Continental Motors, Mattituck, New York, under the supervision of an NTSB investigator. The examination did not reveal any catastrophic mechanical malfunctions. The oil filter was cut open to expose the filter element, which was absent of metallic debris. Disassembly of the magnetos revealed that they were internally destroyed by heat exposure. The fuel pump was retained for further examination

On March 9, 2004, the engine fuel pump was disassembled and examined at Teledyne Continental Motors, Mobile, Alabama, under the supervision of an FAA inspector. According to the manufacturer’s report, the inability to rotate the pump drive shaft was due to the pump's exposure to fire and extreme heat, which melted a portion of the pump cavity to the vapor separator housing gasket. The examination did not reveal any pre-accident damage that would have prevented the normal operation of the fuel pump.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Fuel Testing

Post-accident fuel testing of the 100 Low Lead aviation gasoline supply at Quakertown did not reveal any abnormalities.

Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT)

The airplane was equipped with a Pointer Sentry Model 4000 emergency locator transmitter (ELT). The ELT was found in the "auto" position, and contained a battery expiration date of 2004. It was not known if the ELT activated during the impact.

Wreckage Release

The airplane was released on July 18, 2003, to a representative of the owner.

(c) 2009-2011 Lee C. Baker. For informational purposes only.