Aviation Accident Summaries

Aviation Accident Summary ANC17LA020

Willow, AK, USA

Aircraft #1




The pilot reported that, after departing on the personal flight, he observed that the manifold pressure was low and the airplane performance was poor. The engine began running roughly and lost partial power. The pilot maneuvered the airplane for an emergency landing on a nearby highway. During the descent, the airplane impacted power lines, then impacted the ground and came to rest vertically against a grove of trees along the highway. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage. Examination of the engine, engine accessories, and airframe did not reveal evidence of any preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. The propeller assembly showed blade damage consistent with some degree of rotation at impact; however, the amount of power to the propeller could not be determined. Based on fueling documents provided and the pilot's statements, there was likely sufficient quality fuel for the engine to operate normally. The reason for the loss of partial engine power could not be determined.

Factual Information

HISTORY OF FLIGHTOn April 15, 2017, about 1610 Alaska daylight time, a Cessna 182E, N9362X, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Willow, Alaska. The pilot received minor injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The pilot reported that he planned to fly from Big Lake Airport (BGQ), Big Lake, Alaska to Talkeetna Airport (TKA), Talkeetna, Alaska, which was a 30 minute flight. Before the flight he checked the fuel quantity at 1/4 of a tank in each of the two wing fuel tanks. He estimated that would be sufficient for 1 hour of flight time. After the airplane departed BGQ about 1600, while flying north at 800 feet about 4 miles from the highway, he observed that the manifold pressure was low, (below the 23 inches that he set) and the airplane performance was poor. He turned on the carburetor heat and climbed to 1,200 feet. The engine started running "very rough" and the pilot searched for an airstrip to land. With no airstrips nearby, he initiated a turn toward the George Parks Highway and set up for a landing on the highway to the south. The pilot stated that during the approach to land, about 60 ft, he observed power lines across the wind screen, and he attempted to add power and climb, but the airplane impacted the lines, pitched down, and impacted the road, then slid on its nose into trees along the highway. It came to rest in a vertical nose-down attitude. The pilot egressed and noted strong fuel fumes and fuel leakage on the ground. He was transported to a local hospital and treated for minor injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the fuselage. See figure 1. Figure 1. N9362X Cessna 182 at the accident scene along the George Parks Highway. According to a Federal Aviation Administration Inspector who responded to the accident site, the nose gear was sheared off and both main landing gear legs had power lines wrapped around them. The airplane had struck power lines that were strung across the highway. ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONA review of fuel receipts and quality checks provided by Sheldon Air Service at TKA revealed that the airplane was fueled with 29.9 gallons of 100LL on April 14. The fuel truck daily fuel quality report indicated satisfactory quality checks on that day. According to the pilot, the only flight that was made since that fueling was from TKA to GGQ earlier on the accident day. The pilot reported that he used 14 gph for his flight planning. TESTS AND RESEARCHA postaccident examination of the airframe and engine was conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board Investigator-in-Charge (IIC) and a technical representative from Continental Motors. The engine was intact with all accessories, fuel and oil lines attached securely. Impact damage was sustained to the air intake, air filter, exhaust pipe and right engine mounts. The carburetor and propeller controls and cable linkages were verified as continuous and fully controllable. The crankshaft rotated freely, and continuity was confirmed to all six cylinders. The engine piston domes, cylinders and valves exhibited normal combustion signatures. The spark plugs exhibited normal wear signatures. Both magnetos produced spark at individual ignition leads and magneto timing was measured at 22° for each. The carburetor was intact with fuel present and no contamination noted. The propeller was attached and moved freely by hand. Both propeller blades exhibited torsional twisting and chordwise scratching. The gascolator fuel strainer was intact with fuel present in the bowl that was consistent with 100LL aviation fuel with a small amount of debris at the bottom. The fuel caps were secure on the wing fuel tanks and fuel was present in each tank. Examination of the airframe and fuel system did not reveal evidence of any preaccident mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.

Probable Cause and Findings

The partial loss of engine power for reasons that could not be determined based on the available information, which resulted in the forced landing attempt and impact with power lines.


Source: NTSB Aviation Accident Database

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