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N184SJ accident description

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Crash location 42.570000°N, 72.288611°W
Nearest city Orange, MA
42.616753°N, 72.299529°W
3.3 miles away
Tail number N184SJ
Accident date 26 Sep 2017
Aircraft type Bellet James J Vans Rv 8
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Aviation Safety Inspector reported that, during a telephone conversation, the pilot reported that during the climb he noticed the engine cylinder heat temperature gauge exceed 500° F. The pilot added that, he immediately turned back to the departure airport, and while in the downwind for the landing runway, the engine lost power. The pilot further added that, the airplane immediately lost altitude, cleared a tree line in the path to the runway, but impacted the terrain hard in a base to final flight path near the runway threshold. He added that when he exited the airplane, he observed an engine cowl plug installed on the right side of the engine cowl and removed it.

The right wing and fuselage sustained substantial damage.

The FAA inspector reported that he traveled to the accident, and while on-site, he observed the left cowl plug melted onto the engine cylinders. He added that the right cowl plug was found on the ground near the airplane.

The pilot did not report that there were any preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures with the airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

The pilot failed to submit the NTSB Form 6120.1 Pilot/ Operator Aircraft Accident/ Incident Report.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's failure to remove the engine cowl plugs during preflight, which resulted in excessive engine cylinder head temperatures during climb and a total loss of engine power.

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