NTSB Identification: ERA14LA161
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, March 21, 2014 in Palatka, FL
Aircraft: CESSNA AIRCRAFT CO LC41-550FG, registration: N717RR
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.
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 have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
On March 21, 2014, about 1050, Eastern Daylight Time, a Cessna LC41-550FG, N717RR, was substantially damage after a loss of engine power while executing a go-around at Palatka Municipal Airport (28J), Palatka, Florida. The certificated private pilot received serious injuries, and the pilot rated passenger was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight conducted under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, that originated from Northeast Florida Regional Airport (SGJ), St. Augustine, Florida.
According to the pilot, originally he and the pilot rated passenger were going to fly to Ocala International Airport (OCF), Ocala Florida for lunch but after takeoff from SGJ, decided instead to go to 28J. They initially climbed up to 2,500 feet above mean sea level (msl), but do to clouds they descended to 1,400 feet msl on their way to 28J. Upon arriving in the area of the airport they then descended to 1,200 feet msl, and were able to "see the ground really well."
They entered a left downwind for runway 09 on a 45 degrees angle. An airplane then "passed" them so the pilot made a 360 degree turn for spacing as he was approaching the "western tip of the runway." Another airplane then passed them, so the pilot extended the downwind leg of the traffic pattern.
When the pilot joined the left base leg of the traffic pattern, he determined that they were "high" and decided to do a "low approach" instead of doing a touch and go landing. He then set 12 inches of manifold pressure. When he had descended to about 400 feet msl, he decided to go around and "screwed the throttle in," but the engine did not respond. He then pitched for 100 knots indicated airspeed which was his best glide airspeed. He then attempted to land straight ahead but "saw pine trees" ahead of him. The engine was still indicating 12 inches of manifold pressure and the propeller appeared to be "windmilling." He "did not want to stall." He then tried to land on a "pond."
A witness observed the airplane flying over the last 1/3rd of runway 09. The airplane was below a tree line which ran parallel to the runway the entire time he observed it, and he could see "gray" smoke coming out of the exhaust. It appeared to him that the airplane was "struggling to maintain altitude." As the airplane approached the end of the runway it appeared to pitch up and pass over trees at the end of a field, off the end of the runway. He advised that there were "a bunch of airplanes" in the traffic pattern at the time and he could not discern if the airplane's engine was running due to noise from the other airplanes.
Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane initially touched down on the waters of a retention pond that was located on the east side of the airport, then slid up on an embankment, struck a chain link fence, and then stacks of wooden shipping pallets before coming to rest approximately 30 feet from a home improvement store.
Examination of the wreckage revealed that, there was no evidence of any preimpact structural or flight control failure, and that there was fuel onboard the airplane when it came to rest.
Examination of the engine revealed no evidence of preimpact mechanical failure of the engine drivetrain. However examination of the sparkplugs revealed that they were carbon fouled.
Portions of the fuel injection, ignition, and turbocharging systems, were retained by the NTSB for further examination.
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