NTSB Identification: ERA11LA325
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, June 03, 2011 in Merritt Island, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/07/2012
Aircraft: Clamar Floats INC CA-4, registration: N434JC
Injuries: 1 Minor.
NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
During the experimental amateur-built amphibian airplane's first water takeoff, the engine began to lose manifold pressure. The airplane stopped climbing, and, as the engine continued to lose power, the pilot initiated a turn and prepared for a forced landing on the water. Although the pilot attempted to flare for landing, the airplane landed hard in a left wing-low attitude. The left float separated from the airplane, the right float folded upward, and the airplane sank. The airplane was recovered from the water, and a postaccident examination was scheduled. However, despite clear instructions not to disassemble the airplane before the examination, the owner proceeded to do so. As a result, any evidence of a preimpact mechanical anomaly was compromised, and the reason for the loss of engine power could not be determined. The pilot, who had been hired by the owner to fly the airplane during its first 40 hours, reported that he had previously made 12 flights in the airplane from a paved runway. He stated that a possible scenario for the power loss was water ingestion by the engine during the takeoff run due to the lack of spray rails installed on the floats and the location of the air intake on a low point of the cowling.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The loss of engine power during takeoff for reasons that could not be determined because a postaccident examination could not be performed before the airplane was disassembled. Full narrative available
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