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N510JW accident description

Oregon map... Oregon list
Crash location 45.312778°N, 122.608611°W
Nearest city Oregon City, OR
45.357343°N, 122.606758°W
3.1 miles away
Tail number N510JW
Accident date 31 Aug 2008
Aircraft type Wasson Loehle Loehle P-40
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On August 31, 2008, about 1215 Pacific daylight time, a Wasson Loehle P-40 experimental amateur built airplane, N510JW, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a loss of engine power near Oregon City, Oregon. The certificated private pilot, the airplane's sole occupant, sustained serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local flight, which was conducted in accordance with 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, and a flight plan was not filed. The flight departed a private airstrip about 3 minutes prior to the accident, with its destination being the Aero Acres Airport (OG30), Oregon City, Oregon.

In a statement submitted to the National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge (IIC), the pilot reported that prior to departing OG30 earlier in the morning, he filled the airplane's gas tank with 2 1/2 gallons of aviation fuel; the tank held a little more than 5 gallons. The pilot further reported that after flying for about 30 to 40 minutes and while returning to OG30 at an altitude of about 1,200 to 1,300 feet, "..[the] engine made a 'surge' sound and quit. I could see gas in the tank, tried to restart [the engine], [but with] no luck." The pilot stated that he made a dead stick landing in a flat farm field about 2 miles from OG30. The pilot revealed that he subsequently put 2 1/2 gallons of aviation fuel in the airplane's fuel tank, started the engine, ran it at various speeds and departed the field for the 5 minute flight to OG30. The pilot reported that when he was about 700 feet [above ground level] on about a one mile final to the runway, "...the engine quit without warning. [I] maneuvered as best I could to avoid trees. Saw a beaver pond, [the] only clearing. [I] steered for it and awoke in [the] pond still strapped in my seat." The pilot reported that the left wing had separated from the fuselage during the forced landing.

In a subsequent telephone conversation with the IIC, the pilot reported that he had purchased the ROTAX 582 engine as new, and that at the time of the accident it had accumulated a total of 38 hours.

A postaccident examination of the airplane's engine by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airworthiness inspector revealed "scuffing" signatures on the piston walls. After reviewing pictures provided by the FAA of the "scuffing" signatures, a representative from ROTAX Aircraft Engines stated, "Yes, that looks like classic 'cold seizure,' otherwise known as '4 corner seizure.'"

The ROTAX Aircraft Engines representative supplied the IIC with excerpts from the engine's INSTALLATION MANUAL, dated May 1, 1999, which states in part:

WARNING: "This engine, by its design, is subject to sudden stoppage. Engine stoppage can result in forced landings, no power landings or crash landings. Such crash landings can lead to serious bodily injury or death."

WARNING: "Never fly the aircraft equipped with this engine at locations, airspeeds, altitude, of other circumstances from which a successful no-power landing cannot be made, after sudden engine stoppage."

WARNINIG: "This is not a certificated aircraft engine. It has not received any safety or durability testing, and conforms to no aircraft standards. It is for use in experimental, uncertificated aircraft and vehicles only in which an engine failure will not compromise safety."

NTSB Probable Cause

The loss of total engine power due to a cold seizure.

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