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N76RD accident description

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Crash location 42.098333°N, 70.672223°W
Nearest city Marshfield, MA
42.116769°N, 70.716150°W
2.6 miles away
Tail number N76RD
Accident date 15 Nov 2013
Aircraft type Maule M-5-180C
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On November 15, 2013, about 1545 eastern standard time, a Maule M-5-180C, N76RD, operated by a private individual, was destroyed when it collided with trees, following a partial loss of engine power during initial climb from Marshfield Municipal Airport (GHG), Marshfield, Massachusetts. The airline transport pilot was seriously injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the planned flight to Falmouth Airpark (5B6), Falmouth, Massachusetts.

The accident flight was the first flight after an annual inspection had been completed on the airplane. The pilot had planned to fly the airplane from the maintenance facility back to his home airport. Witnesses reported that during initial climb, about 400 feet above ground level (agl), the pilot stated on the common traffic advisory frequency that he was returning to the airport due to a rough running engine. The airplane then banked left and descended into trees. Following the impact with trees, a postcrash fire consumed the wreckage.

The pilot stated that the airplane departed on runway 24 with 40 gallons of fuel. The engine then lost power as the airplane was climbing through 400 feet agl. Specifically, the rpm dropped to 1,500 and the engine started "back firing." The pilot then turned the airplane away from some houses and performed a forced landing into trees.

The airplane was equipped with a Lycoming O-360, 180-horsepower engine. The engine had accumulated 1,541 hours since major overhaul, which was performed in 1994. The wreckage was recovered to a facility and the engine was subsequently examined. The engine had separated from the airframe during the impact and postcrash fire. The propeller remained attached to the engine. One propeller blade was curled aft and bent at the tip. The other propeller blade was relatively undamaged except for charring near the tip.

The valve covers and top sparkplugs were removed from the engine. The sparkplug electrodes were intact and gray in color. The rear accessory section was heat damaged and removed to facilitate crankshaft rotation. The magnetos sustained heat damage and could not be tested. The engine driven fuel pump remained intact and was actuated by hand. The oil filter and oil screen were absent of debris and oil was noted throughout the engine. The carburetor was heat damaged and could not be tested. The vacuum pump was disassembled and its rotor vanes were intact. The propeller was then rotated by hand. Camshaft, crankshaft, and valve train continuity were confirmed to the rear accessory section and thumb compression was attained on all cylinders.

The propeller governor was subsequently examined at the manufacturer's facility under the supervision of a Federal Aviation Administration inspector. The governor could not be tested due to fire damage; however, a teardown examination of the governor did not reveal any preimpact mechanical malfunctions that would have precluded normal operation.

The recorded weather at GHG, at 1555, was: wind from 200 degrees at 10 knots, gusting to 19 knots; visibility 10 miles; clear sky; temperature 14 degrees C, dew point -2 degrees C, altimeter 30.14 inches Hg.

NTSB Probable Cause

A partial loss of engine power for reasons that could not be determined in postaccident examinations because fire damage precluded testing of the fuel and several engine accessories.

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