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N242RM accident description

Minnesota map... Minnesota list
Crash location 45.061944°N, 93.353889°W
Nearest city Minneapolis, MN
44.979965°N, 93.263836°W
7.2 miles away
Tail number N242RM
Accident date 04 Jun 2011
Aircraft type Malkin Roy K Searey
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On June 4, 2011, at 1837 central daylight time, a Malkin SeaRey experimental amateur-built airplane, N242RM, sustained substantial damage when it impacted terrain shortly after takeoff from Crystal Airport (MIC), Minneapolis, Minnesota. The commercial pilot and passenger sustained serious injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The local flight was originating at the time of the accident.

According to air traffic control communications and witness information, at 1833, the pilot contacted the MIC air traffic control tower (ATCT) for taxi clearance to runway 32R for takeoff. The pilot stated his intentions were to remain in the traffic pattern and perform some touch and go's, then possibly depart the MIC area to the west. Shortly after takeoff, approximately 50 to 100 feet above ground level, the pilot contacted the ATCT and stated, "...we're gonna" and the transmission ended. The MIC local controller observed the airplane not producing the normal amount of lift, and when the airplane reached the departure end of runway 32R, the airplane entered a left bank and impacted terrain. The airplane came to rest inverted adjacent to the runway.

During a telephone conversation with the pilot, he reported that he had very little recollection of the events prior to and during the accident flight. The pilot did not fuel the airplane prior to the flight, and he estimated the fuel tank contained approximately 6 gallons of fuel. The accident flight was the pilot and airplane's first flight in the calendar year 2011. The pilot stated he typically obtained fuel from a local automotive gas station near MIC.

A review of the aircraft logbooks showed the most recent conditional inspection was completed on May 3, 2008, at a total time of 93.8 hours. The pilot confirmed this was the most recent conditional inspection.

On June 21, 2011, a postaccident examination of the airframe and engine was conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC), two Federal Aviation Administration inspectors, and a representative from engine manufacturer. The forward fuselage was crushed and fragmented. The outboard two-thirds of the left wing was crushed upward and aft. The outboard one-third of the right wing was crushed downward and aft. The flap handle was found in the first detent position. Flight control continuity was established from the cockpit controls to the flight control surfaces. Approximately 40 pounds of lead weight ballast were found within the wreckage, which the pilot reported he typically used when he flew the airplane solo.

The Rotax 912ULS-2 engine remained attached to the airframe, and the three blade composite propeller remained attached to the engine. One of the blades was fractured at mid-span and the other two blades remained intact. The propeller was rotated by hand and thumb compression and suction was noted on all four cylinders.

Both carburetor bowls were removed and a brownish fluid was noted in each bowl. The fluid was tested with a water finding paste and the test results were negative for water content. The float bowl gaskets were made of original cork material. Replacement gaskets supplied by the manufacturer were a paper type material, and the gaskets are recommended by the manufacturer to be changed during a conditional or 100-hour inspection. Both carburetor slides were manipulated by hand and were free to move. Both carburetor air inlet filter elements displayed a brownish color rather than their normal pink color. The engine was not equipped with carburetor heat system.

The mechanical pump inlet fuel hose was found to have the last 5 inches reduced from a 5/16 inch inner diameter hose to a 1/4 inch inner diameter hose. The manufacturer required a uniform 5/16 inch fuel hose. The reduced hose section was found crazed and cracked in multiple locations. The fuel pump was removed and a small amount of brownish fluid was noted within the pump, consistent with the carburetor float bowl fluid.

The engine coolant expansion cap rubber seal was dislodged and found folded over.

Fresh auto fuel was added to the carburetor bowls, a slave fuel tank was connected to the fuel inlet line, and an engine start was attempted. Prior to the engine test run, the propeller blades were cut near the blade root for safety precautions. The engine was test run at various power settings for approximately 5 minutes with no anomalies noted. The cockpit engine controls were used to control the engine power settings during the engine test run.

The pilot did not submit a completed Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1) as requested by the NTSB IIC.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's failure to maintain adequate airspeed during takeoff, which resulted in an inadvertent stall. Contributing to the accident was the degraded engine performance due to the improper servicing and maintenance of the fuel system.

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