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N62DN accident description

Oregon map... Oregon list
Crash location 44.607778°N, 123.919723°W
Nearest city Toledo, OR
44.621507°N, 123.938448°W
1.3 miles away
Tail number N62DN
Accident date 31 May 2014
Aircraft type Nebert Vans RV-10
Additional details: None
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NTSB Factual Report

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On May 31, 2014, about 1620 Pacific daylight time, a single-engine experimental Nebert Vans RV-10, N62DN, experienced a loss of power and departed controlled flight while the pilot was maneuvering for a forced landing in Toledo, Oregon. The airplane was substantially damaged. The private pilot and four-year old passenger were fatally injured; the adult passenger sustained serious injuries. The airplane was registered to and being operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The personal cross-country flight departed Newport Municipal Airport, Newport, Oregon, with a planned destination of Seattle, Washington. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed.

Numerous witnesses located in Toledo reported observing the airplane flying at a low altitude from the north. The witnesses reported hearing no sound from the airplane's engine and saw it progressively descend in altitude. The airplane approached the Georgia Pacific paper mill and made a steep turn to the left. The airplane subsequently made a rapid descent and impacted terrain in a nose-low, near-vertical attitude.

The surviving passenger recalled the flight, although was heavily medicated during the recounting of the events that transpired. She stated that she was in the aft right seat and her daughter was buckled in a car seat positioned in the aft left seat. Luggage was strapped in the front right seat in an effort to compensate for the aft weight. The departure seemed normal and the pilot commented that the engine sounded better than it had in awhile. The airplane continued the takeoff climb through some cloud wisps and ascended above a lower cloud cover, with an overcast layer above.

The passenger further stated that suddenly the engine experienced a total loss of power, which she described as the airplane stopping forward motion, and there was no engine sound. An alarm sounded, and shortly thereafter all of the airplane's electrical system failed. She recalled observing the screen in front of the pilot flickered and then went blank. The pilot was busy pressing buttons and maneuvering levers, and indicated that they were going to land at the closest airport [which was the Toledo State Airport]. The airplane descended through clouds heading toward the airport. The pilot stated that they were going to make it to the airport, and that he was looking for a place to land. The airplane made an alert sound, which she thought indicated the airplane was moving too slow. The pilot made a left turn and tried to pull up, but the airplane spiraled down harder to the ground.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

A review of the airmen records maintained by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) disclosed that the pilot, age 51, held a private pilot certificate with airplane rating for single-engine land, which was issued in March 2008. He additionally held a Repairman Experimental Aircraft certificate. His most recent third-class medical was issued on January 04, 2013, with no limitations.

According to the pilot's flight logbook he had about 785 hours of total flight experience, of which about 375 was amassed in the accident airplane. Based on the airport identifiers listed in the logbook for flight origin and destination points, the pilot accumulated the majority of his flying hours around Newport, his home airport and where the airplane was based. The pilot recorded having flown 6.4 hours in the preceding 30 days, which was accumulated over 6 different flights.

The pilot was a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) since August 1991, and had numerous EAA technical counselor visits during the building process.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The Vans RV-10 is an amateur-built experimental airplane that is sold as a kit. The low-wing airplane was equipped with four seats, fixed tricycle landing gear, and traditional flight control surfaces. The accident airplane, serial number (s/n) 40546, received a special airworthiness certificate in the experimental category for the purpose of being operated as an amateur-built aircraft in August 2010; the pilot purchased the kit in October 2009. The airplane was equipped with a Lycoming O-540-B4B5 engine, s/n L-7862-40C, and, according to the manufacturer, is rated at 235 shaft horse power (SHP). The powerplant contained a data tag labeling it as a Lycoming O-540-B1AB, which contained the vibropeened identification next to the stamp of "B4B5."

The airplane's test flight hours were completed in September 2010. Thereafter, the logbooks indicated that the pilot estimated that the airplane's stalling speed in the landing configuration (Vso), at a weight of 1,858 lbs and a CG of 108.5 inches aft of datum, was 58 knots.

Fuel System Design

The airplane's fuel system was a gravity-fed design where fuel flowed from the metal tanks in the inboard section of each wing, through a selector valve, and continued to a fuel filter. From the filter, the fuel was routed to an electric fuel pump and then to a transducer where it was plumbed through the firewall to the gascolator. Thereafter, the fuel was directed to the engine-driven fuel pump, and finally enter into the carburetor.

The Van's Aircraft build manual states in section 37, Fuel System, "When installing fluid fittings with pipe threads do not use Teflon tape. Use instead, fuel lube or equivalent pipe thread sealing paste."

Maintenance

According to the aircraft maintenance records and the recording tachometer in the cockpit, the airplane had accumulated a total time in service of 375.4 hours. The most recent condition inspection was recorded as completed by the pilot on October 4, 2013, 71.5 hours prior to the accident. Examination of the logbook revealed that the last maintenance that had occurred was an oil change and the tightening of the left magneto on February 09, 2014 at a total time of 354.2 hours.

From the pilot's photographs on his website blog, the original build, the pilot did not install the fuel transducer.

A friend of the pilot, who was also a FAA certified mechanic, stated that about two to three weeks prior to the accident, the pilot had installed the fuel transducer. The pilot commented to him that he had not installed the unit previously because it needed a certain amount of space (needed to be about seven to nine inches from the filter) and he would have to bend some of the fuel lines to make it fit. The pilot borrowed a flaring tool from him to complete the installation. The friend noted that earlier in the year, when the pilot was performing a condition inspection and the airplane's cowling was removed, he observed that the pilot had used heavy applications of red/orange RTV(room temperature vulcanization) silicone to seal everything, including the area around the airbox (oval-shaped) where it attaches to the carburetor (square-box-shaped). He mentioned to the pilot that this was an improper practice.

Another friend of the pilot stated that the pilot had installed a fuel transducer about one to two weeks prior to the accident flight, and noted at the time that the unit did not have a bypass. The friend also observed that the pilot had not connected the electrical wires for the transducer to be operational, but had installed the unit.

Lycoming Manual

According to the engine's maintenance manual, the rated horsepower was 235 at 2,575 rpm. To obtain the maximum recommended service life of the engine, the manual recommends that the cylinder head temperature be maintained below 435 degrees Fahrenheit (F) during high-performance cruise operation, with a maximum temperature of 500 degrees F. The Lycoming manual additionally stated that the fuel pressure requirements were a minimum pressure of .5 psi and a maximum of 8 psi.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

A routine aviation weather report (METAR) generated by an Automated Surface Observation System (ASOS) in Newport reported that at 1635 there was an overcast cloud layer at 1,900 feet above ground level (agl) with 5 miles visibility. It recorded the temperature at 52 degrees Fahrenheit; dew point 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

COMMUNICATIONS

No record exists of the pilot, or a pilot using the airplane's registration number, contacting any Air Traffic Control tower, or Common Traffic Advisory Frequency, during the duration of the flight.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT

The accident site was located in the paper mill adjacent to the Yaquina River in Toledo, Oregon, with the debris confined to the immediate area near the main wreckage. The Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates for the main wreckage were approximately 44 degrees 36 minutes 53 seconds north latitude and 123 degrees 56 minutes and 14 seconds west longitude, at an elevation about 10 feet mean sea level (msl). A complete pictorial of the wreckage location and surrounding terrain is contained in the public docket for this accident.

The closest airport to the accident was in Toledo, Oregon and was located 0.7 nm from the accident site on a heading of 192 degrees. The wreckage came to rest in a flat area, which was a portion of dirt road on the perimeter of the mill. Surrounding the site were 20 foot (ft) high stacked bales of crushed cardboard boxes, and a railroad track with parked train cars. Additionally, a northwest-southeast oriented 12 ft-diameter tubular conveyer was observed near the accident site that was about 70 feet high and 1,625 feet long. The airplane departed from Newport, Oregon which was located 5.6 nautical miles (nm) from the main wreckage on a heading of 248 degrees.

The main wreckage, which consisted of nearly the entire airplane, came to rest on a heading of 310 degrees. The initial point of impact consisted of a ground scar and disrupted dirt located about 25 feet and on the heading of 220 degrees from the cockpit section of the main wreckage. Embedded in the dirt were fragments of red lens and shards of paint and fiberglass, consistent with the left wing impacting first.

From the red lens fragments there was disrupted dirt and ground scars up to blue paint rub marks on an adjacent woodpile. On an exposed yellow pipe embedded in the ground were numerous blue paint transfer marks, which at 16 feet from the red lens, was consistent with being a signature of the undercarriage contacting it (the airplane's wingspan was about 32 feet). In a ditch just below the pipe was a 7-ft section of the inboard left wing from the leading edge at to about the spar. From the pipe, on a heading of about 020 degrees, was engine casing debris and lower engine pieces, including the oil drain plug.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Lincoln County Medical Examiner completed an autopsy of the pilot and passenger. The FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI) performed toxicological screenings on the pilot. According to CAMI's report (#201400089001) the toxicological findings were negative for carbon monoxide and tested drugs.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

A detailed examination report with accompanying pictures is contained in the public docket for this accident.

Airframe

The main wreckage cockpit area was open, with the engine and firewall twisted toward the right wing. Most of the upper cabin area had broken free from the airframe; the section that remained attached consisted of fiberglass on the aft right side about four feet forward of the bulkhead.

The throttle, propeller, and mixture control levers were bent in their respective control quadrant, which was consistent with them being in the full-forward position at the time of impact.

The right wing remained attached to the fuselage at all attach points, and the flap and aileron control surfaces remained attached to their respective hinges. The right wingtip aft section and fragments of a blue/green lens were located just below the right wing adjacent to a concrete divider. Around the divider was evidence of blithe, and numerous areas of vegetation had been crushed, which was consistent with fuel exposure. The right wing sustained major skin deformation crushing from the aft outboard tip to about three feet inboard; this was consistent with the size and orientation of the concrete divider that was located immediately below it. The wing sustained aft crush deformation, with the bottom leading edge skin folded into itself, giving it an accordion-type appearance. The crush was nearly uniform through the entire length of the wing. The leading edge displayed characteristics consistent with hydrodynamic deformation. Control continuity was confirmed in the right wing up to the crush deformation in the cockpit area.

The left wing was attached to the fuselage at all attach points, and the flap and aileron control services remained attached to their respective hinges. The left flap was attached to the two inboard respective hinges and creased at the center hinge in an upward crush. The left aileron was found wedged underneath the main wreckage cockpit area. The leading edge displayed characteristics consistent with hydrodynamic deformation. Control continuity was confirmed in the left wing up to the crush deformation in the cockpit area.

The right and left horizontal stabilizers and elevator remained intact with creasing noted on some of the surfaces; continuity to the cockpit was established. The vertical stabilizer and rudder remained intact with a slight crease on the rudder control surface about six inches from the top and consisted of a four inch bend. The rudder was attached to its control cables and continuous to the rudder pedals and secured. The elevator was attached to the push-pull tube, which was continuous up to the cockpit area. Both control sticks were attached and safetied.

Powerplant

The engine mount support tubes were severed by investigators between the engine and firewall, which essentially separated the engine from the airframe. An external visual examination of the engine revealed that it had sustained crush damage to the bottom of the crankcase, with the majority of damage to the left side. There were dark stains to the left of the upper spark plug holes, which was consistent with oil staining.

The spark plugs were removed and no mechanical damage was noted; the electrodes and posts exhibited a light ash white coloration, which according to the Lycoming representative was consistent with a very lean operation(s). The ignition harnesses were attached from both magnetos to their respective spark plugs. The right magneto was secured to its respective mounting pad. Upon rotation, investigators observed spark produced at all posts. The left magneto sustained varying degrees of damage that rendered the unit inoperative and therefore, could not be functionally tested.

The crankshaft was rotated by hand utilizing the propeller. The crankshaft was free and easy to rotate in both directions. "Thumb" compression was observed in proper order on all six cylinders. The complete valve train was observed to operate in proper order, and appeared to be free of any pre-mishap mechanical malfunction. Normal in uniform "lift action" was observed at each rocker assembly. Clean, uncontaminated oil was observed at all six rockerbox areas. Mechanical continuity was established throughout the rotating group, valve train and accessory section during hand rotation of the crankshaft.

The cylinders' combustion chambers were examined through the spark plug holes utilizing a lighted borescope. The combustion chambers remained mechanically undamaged, and there was no evidence of foreign object ingestion. The valves were intact and undamaged. There was no evidence of valve to piston face contact. The chambers and valve faces all displayed little combustion signatures and there was a whitish light ash coloration; the exhaust valve faces were slightly darker, exhibiting a white-orange-coloration. This white residue/soot was additionally seen throughout the remainder of the exhaust system.

The Hartzell propeller, model HC-C2YK-1BF, serial number 40546, remained attached to the engine crankshaft. All propeller mounting bolts remained in the hub and exhibited no signatures consistent with shear stress. The propeller blades remained attached at the hub. The spinner was displaced from the propeller h

NTSB Probable Cause

A total loss of engine power due to fuel starvation because of a blocked fuel line that resulted from the pilot’s improper maintenance practices and the pilot’s subsequent failure to maintain adequate airspeed while attempting a forced landing, which led to the airplane exceeding its critical angle-of-attack and experiencing an aerodynamic stall.

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(c) 2009-2018 Lee C. Baker / Crosswind Software, LLC. For informational purposes only.