NTSB Identification: DEN07LA148.
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Accident occurred Monday, August 27, 2007 in Watrous, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/30/2008
Aircraft: Elliott Cirrus VK30, registration: N60GE
Injuries: 2 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.
Witnesses reported seeing the airplane "flying at an odd angle" and trailing smoke. The accident site was described as an open field and suitable for a forced landing. The landing gear was down, and there were three propeller strike marks in the earth at the point of touchdown. It was determined that the airplane had at least an 11 to 12 degree nose-up angle at the point of touchdown. The wreckage path, from initial impact point to the final resting point, was strewn with airplane parts that had been exposed to fire. Several airplane pieces, mostly from the engine area, were scattered near and prior to the initial impact point. They had also been exposed to fire. The right intake scoop, that covers the right side of the engine and the right turbocharger, was heat blistered. Disassembly and examination of the engine revealed no anomalies that would have prevented normal operation and production of rated power. Metallurgical examination of the turbochargers showed "no evidence of cracks, punctures, or holes that would allow any exhaust gas to escape, and the mechanical damage was determined to be impact related." The right turbocharger, however, exhibited "a black flame impingement pattern on the outboard side of the wastegate actuator. The rear face of the actuator mounting bracket displayed a similar impingement pattern and the forward face of the bracket displayed a deposit consistent with flame contact. The impingement pattern was consistent with a flame directed forward. To the rear of the actuator are two oil lines, one is an oil pressure line from the engine and the other is connected to the density controller (the density controller is operated by the discharge air pressure from the turbocharger and adjusts the bleed rate of the oil pressure thereby controlling the wastegate actuator). A portion of the upper oil line was still attached to the actuator and an examination revealed that only the wire braiding remained. The wire braiding was discolored, consistent with it being overheated." The airplane's co-builder supplied photographs that showed "there was no other flame source to the rear of the oil line and the actuator. It is therefore probable that a leak in the oil line sprayed oil forward onto the wastegate actuator and the oil spray was ignited by the hot turbine section of the turbocharger to which the actuator is connected, and initiated the in-flight fire." The pilot's autopsy revealed no soot in the air passageways. Carbon monoxide and cyanide tests could not be performed.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's failure to maintain control of the airplane during a forced landing that resulted in a hard landing. Contributing to the accident was the ruptured pressurized oil line. Full narrative available
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