NTSB Identification: MIA03LA019.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, November 19, 2002 in Moncks Corner, SC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 02/05/2004
Aircraft: John H. Heiring Express, registration: N297JH
Injuries: 3 Fatal.
NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
The flight departed Charleston Airport with a private-rated pilot, two passengers, and about 50 gallons of fuel onboard a homebuilt Express airplane. The airplane was flown to Berkeley County Airport where the pilot performed about 6 to 7 touch-and-go landings on runway 05 for about half an hour. The airplane departed the traffic pattern and a witness in a boat on Lake Moultrie located north of the airport reported seeing the airplane flying from Moncks Corner towards Bonneau, and it "sounded like it was running out of gas." The airplane was then observed to pitch nose down and banked to the right completing not more than 2 rotations before impacting the water in a 90-degree nose low attitude. The total flight time was 45 minutes. Examination of the wreckage revealed all damage was impact related. The main fuel selector was found between "off" and "left," and the left secondary fuel selector was positioned to "left main." Testing revealed that fuel flow was possible through the main fuel selector, as found. Test of the engine driven magneto revealed it operated post accident; a discrepancy with the condenser was noted. Part of the electronic ignition system was tested and initially one of the two amplifiers worked post accident, but ceased operating. A bench test of the servo fuel injector indicated that at maximum metering suction (comparable to full throttle and full rich mixture), the flow was 3 pounds-per-hour (pph) below the service limits. Debris was found on the ball-valve and seat of the regulator and in the mixture control housing; the diaphragm appeared new. Examination of the engine revealed no evidence of pre impact failure or malfunction. On July 12, 2002, the engine was overhauled by a certified FAA repair station due to a propeller strike, the airplane had flown about 40 hours prior to the accident. The last conditional inspection was 2.5 months before the accident. Weight and balance calculations revealed the airplane was within the center of gravity limits at the time of departure and at the time of the accident.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's failure to maintain airspeed following a loss of engine power for undetermined reasons, resulting in an inadvertent stall and subsequent uncontrolled descent and in-flight collision with water. Full narrative available
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