NTSB Identification: ERA12TA542
14 CFR Public Use
Accident occurred Thursday, August 16, 2012 in Gull Lake, NY
Aircraft: RIDGE LOWELL H J230, registration: N365R
Injuries: 2 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this public aircraft accident report.

On August 16, 2012, about 0845 eastern daylight time, an experimental amateur built Jabiru J230, N365R, received substantial damage during a ditching in Gull Lake, New York after an in-flight separation of the propeller. The public use flight was operated by Patriot Technologies LLC under contract with the Department of Defense (DOD). The commercial pilot and his one crew member were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight which departed Burlington International Airport (BTV), Burlington Vermont about 0800, destined for Griffiss International Airport (RME), Rome, New York.
According to the operator, the purpose of the flight was to provide aerial support for a DOD training exercise. At the time of the accident, the flight was receiving VFR flight following from the New York Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC).
According to the pilot, after departing BVT, he headed westbound and climbed to 6,500 feet above mean sea level. Approximately 45 minutes into the flight, the engine began to run rough "like it was developing carburetor ice" so the pilot applied carburetor heat. The engine however, continued to run rough and began to "cough" like it was being starved for fuel, so the pilot made sure that both fuel valves were open, and turned on the electric fuel boost pump.

The pilot then assessed that the engine might stop running, so he called for the high altitude engine failure checklist. However, before they began the checklist, the propeller came off the airplane, struck the right side of the cowling, struck the right lift strut, and fell away.

The pilot then declared an emergency with the ARTCC, began evaluating landing sites, and elected to ditch in a nearby lake. After ditching, the airplane came to rest on the surface of the lake with the cabin halfway submerged. Both crewmembers then egressed from the cabin and swam to the lake shore, and were later picked up by helicopter.

Four days after the ditching occurred, the airplane was recovered from the lake. Post accident examination revealed that the entire propeller assembly, including the propeller spinner, and propeller flange extension, had separated from the engine crankshaft.

The crankshaft, along with multiple engine parts was retained by the NTSB for further Examination.

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