NTSB Identification: ERA14FA232
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, May 09, 2014 in Hamilton Township, NJ
Aircraft: NAVION G, registration: N2473T
Injuries: 1 Fatal,2 Serious,1 Minor.
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 either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
On May 9, 2014, at 2031 eastern daylight time, a Navion G, N2473T, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain in Hamilton Township, New Jersey, after a loss of engine power. The commercial pilot and one of the passengers were seriously injured, while another passenger sustained minor injuries. A pilot-rated passenger was fatally injured. Night instrument meteorological conditions prevailed. No flight plan was filed for the flight, from St. Mary's Airport (2W6), Maryland, to Atlantic City International Airport (ACY), Atlantic City, New Jersey; however, approaching Atlantic City, the pilot requested and received an instrument flight rules clearance. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.
According to the pilot, the purpose of the flight was to attend a local area airshow the next day. Prior to the flight, he checked the weather via internet and called ACY Tower several times to check its progress. He was aware of potential low visibilities and his alternate plan should he not be able to land at ACY was to either fly to an airport in Millville, New Jersey, or return home.
The pilot initially completed an ILS 13 approach to ACY; however, due to the low visibility, he could not complete the landing and flew a missed approach. The controller offered another approach, which he accepted. Commencing the second approach, the pilot was advised of the current weather [controller reported a 200-foot overcast, ¼-mile visibility in fog], and knew then that he had no chance of completing the approach. He requested vectors to Millville, and was told to climb to 2,000 feet. He added full power, and the engine "stopped" with the pilot perceiving either a fuel or an electrical problem.
Once the engine quit, the pilot moved the fuel selector through various positions, then checked the ignition, throttle and mixture.
The pilot also stated that the fuel gauges were inaccurate and that he checked the fuel quantity in both tip tanks and the main tanks prior to the flight using a calibrated stick. Both tip tanks had 10 gallons each while the main tanks had slightly over 15 gallons total. In addition, and as was normal procedure, he ran the engine for 3 minutes on the ground from each tip tank to ensure proper tip tank feed.
The pilot further noted that he always took off and landed on main fuel tanks and utilized the tip tanks in transit. On this flight he utilized the left tip tank for 22 minutes, 40 seconds and was certain of the time due to using a stopwatch. He utilized the main tanks for the first approach and after the missed, switched to the right tip tank. About 1 minute before the engine quit, he switched from right tip tank to the main tanks again.
The pilot also advised that the boost pump was utilized for start and could be used during approach and takeoff. In addition, when utilizing tip tanks in cruise flight, it was normal to run a tip tank out of fuel. At that point, the main tank would be selected, and the engine would return to operating 5-10 seconds later. He further noted that the airplane was recently flown several legs round trip to the Atlanta, Georgia, area, and during the last flight, when he ran a tip tank dry, it seemed that the engine took a little longer than normal to return to running.
The wreckage was located in a flat, wooded area the vicinity of 39 degrees, 28.26 minutes north latitude, 074 degrees, 39.03 minutes west longitude. Tops of pine trees were cut in a descending path, with an estimated descent angle of 20 to 30 degrees, heading about 140 degrees magnetic for an estimated 200 feet. The tree cuts suddenly stopped about an estimated 60 feet above the ground in the vicinity of the wreckage location; there were no ground scars leading up to the wreckage.
The airplane came to rest about on its left side, about 45-degrees nose down/tail up. The fuselage was mostly intact; however, both wings were separated from the airplane about 2 feet from their roots and the empennage was separated from the fuselage.
All flight control surfaces were found at the scene, and flight control continuity was confirmed to the cockpit.
The left fuel tip tank was compromised. No fuel was found in it, nor was there an odor of fuel in the soil beneath it. Utilizing the calibrated stick, the right tip tank had about 5 gallons of fuel in it, and the connected main tanks had about 15 gallons of fuel in them. About 10 gallons of fuel were drained from the main tanks, with additional fuel remaining in the tanks.
The propeller did not exhibit any chordwise scratching or leading edge damage that would have been consistent with the presence of engine power.
The engine and airframe were transferred to a storage facility for further documentation and a future attempt to run the engine.
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