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N115PK accident description

Michigan map... Michigan list
Crash location 44.741389°N, 85.582223°W
Nearest city Acme, MI
44.771946°N, 85.501461°W
4.5 miles away
Tail number N115PK
Accident date 26 May 2004
Aircraft type Kauffman Bede IV
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On May 26, 2004, at 1930 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur-built Kauffman Bede IV, N115PK, owned and piloted by a private pilot, received substantial damage on impact with water/terrain during a forced landing on Grand Traverse Bay near Acme, Michigan. The airplane experienced a loss of engine power during climb from Cherry Capital Airport (TVC), Traverse City, Michigan. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight was not operating on a flight plan. The pilot was uninjured. The local flight was originating at the time of the accident.

According to the pilot's written statement, the engine began losing power about 400-500 feet above ground level. The loss of engine power progressed rapidly and the pilot was unable to maintain altitude. He then executed a forced landing along the shoreline of Grand Traverse Bay in about two feet of water.

Aircraft registration infromation indicates that the accident airplane was manufactued by the pilot in 1985. The airplane was issued an airowrthiness certifcate on June 27, 1995, and was then registered to the pilot as a co-owner on April 18, 2003.

Examination of the wreckage by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that oil covered the left side of the fuselage and empennage. Both fuel tanks were full of fuel, no obstructions were noted in the fuel system, and the engine driven fuel pump exhibited suction when actuated.

Engine data plate information indicates that the airplane was powered by a Lycoming O-320-D2C, serial number L-6527-39A, engine, The engine was shipped from Lycoming on July 15, 1969. There are no records of its return to the factory since the shipment date.

The pilot said that following the accident, he could turn the engine over. He found that an oil line separated from the engine, and the impeller on the oil pump was frozen. The connecting rods and bearings had broken and were black in color.

The pilot sent several of the engine parts to a repair station which reported that the submitted oil pump exhibited damage to its drive shaft, melting of the oil pump housing, and no damage to the oil pump gears. The oil pump was seized. A connecting rod and piston displayed evidence of melting on the connecting rod bearing. The oil sump screen had a "couple of metal flakes."

The pilot said that he purchased the engine in 1969 at Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The engine was still in a crate at the time of his purchase and had not been overhauled since. He said the only maintenance that he performed was the cleaning and gapping of the spark plugs and checking the magnetos. He said that the engine had a total time since new of about 125 hours.

Textron Lycoming Service Instruction No. 1009AQ, Recommended Time Between Overhaul Periods states, "Engine deterioration in the form of corrosion (rust) and the drying out and hardening of composition materials such as gaskets, seals, flexible hoses and fuel pump diaphragms can occur it an engine is out of service for an extended period of time. Due to the loss of a protective oil film after an extended period of inactivity, abnormal wear on soft metal bearing surfaces can occur during engine start. Therefore, all engines that do not accumulate the hourly period of time between overhauls specified in this publication are recommended to be overhauled in the twelfth year." The service instrucition lists the recommended time between overhaul periods for the O-320-B, -D, -F engine as 2,000 hours.

NTSB Probable Cause

Engine oil starvation and inadequate maintenance by the pilot.

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