On July 20, 1994, about 1407 eastern daylight time, a Bellanca 14-9, NC25310, registered to Ronald E. Carpenter, operating as a 14 CFR Part 91 maintenance flight sustained a total loss of engine power on initial takeoff climb from the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport, Lakeland, Florida. The pilot initiated a forced landing, collided with wires, and crashed in an open field. The airplane was destroyed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The commercial pilot sustained serious injuries. The flight originated about 4 minutes before the accident.

Air traffic control specialists on duty in the Lakeland Air Traffic Control Tower stated NC25310 taxied to runway 9, and entered the active runway without clearance. Radio contact was established with the pilot and a takeoff clearance was issued. The airplane was observed by tower personnel in a left descending turn. The airplane collided with electrical transmission lines near the east airport boundary and crashed.

A witness located adjacent to the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport, in Warring Industrial Park heard an airplane with its engine sputtering. He looked up and saw an airplane at about 300 feet agl. The airplane was observed in a steep left turn, descending, and the propeller had stopped turning. The airplane continued to descend towards a warehouse complex located at 2920 Parkway Drive. The left main landing gear and the left wing collided with power lines. The nose of the airplane pitched down, the power lines separated, and the airplane collided with the ground. A postcrash fire was observed near the right rear section of the engine firewall. The witness ran across the street to the airplane, extinguished the fire with a portable fire extinguisher, and assisted the injured pilot until emergency personnel arrived at the crash scene.

An employee at the Lakeland Water and Electric Department stated, records indicate a power interruption occurred at station number 16811, located at the dead end street on Parkway Drive at 1407.


The Federal Aviation Administration records, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, revealed the pilot was involved in an aircraft accident on February 25, 1994, in Brandon, Florida. The engine quit and the pilot made a forced landing. On landing rollout the airplane nosed over. Water was found in the fuel. The pilot was involved in another accident in Kingston, New Hampshire, in September 1987. The accident was attributed to a mechanical failure of the engine. (For additional information pertaining to the pilot-in-command, Ronald E. Carpenter, is contained in NTSB Form 6120.4).


The airplane did not have a current annual inspection and a special airworthiness certificate (ferry permit) had not been issued by the FAA. The emergency locator transmitter (ELT) was in the off position, and the antenna was not installed. The aircraft airworthiness certificate and registration certificate was not in the airplane. The magnetic compass did not have a current compass card. Review of the Type Design Data for the Bellanca Model 14-9 revealed no shutoff valve is installed in the engine oil supply line. The owner installed the oil shutoff valve, and could not present any evidence of approval from the FAA for the installation. The airplane logbooks were requested for review, but were not provided by the registered owner.


Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. For additional information see NTSB Form 6120.4.


The wreckage of NC25310 was located in an open field west of 2920 Parkway Drive in Warring Industrial Park, Lakeland, Florida.

Examination of the crash site revealed the main landing gear and left wing of the airplane collided with three one-phase transformer electrical lines and one neutral line separating the lines, and the top 8 feet of the telephone pole at station number 16811. The airplane collided with the ground in a nose down left wing low attitude. A postcrash fire ensued. Electrical wires were wrapped around the main landing gear and the left inboard wing. Wire marks were present on the leading edge of the left wing extending outboard from the wing root to the left main landing light. The engine assembly was separated from the main fuselage forward of the main cabin section. The oil shutoff valve on the fire wall was in the off position. The oil cooler was ruptured and oil was present on the ground beneath the engine assembly. The wood propeller was attached to the propeller flange. The propeller hub was cracked on both sides. The spinner was crushed with no evidence of rotation. The left wing was pushed aft and the left wing tip was separated. The left and right fuel tanks were not ruptured, and fuel was present in the fuel tanks. The main fuselage came to rest on a heading of 305 degrees magnetic about 110 feet west of the initial point of impact.

Examination of the airframe, and flight controls revealed no evidence to indicate any preimpact failure or malfunction. Continuity of the flight control system was established for pitch, roll, and yaw. All components necessary for flight were at the crash site.

Examination of the engine-driven fuel pump was conducted by an airframe and powerplant mechanic with inspection authority. The examination revealed an improper alteration of the operating arm in its attachment to the pump diaphragm mechanism. The lever was attached to the mechanism with two steel slotted machine screws. The alteration limited the travel of the operating arm, restricting the fuel system's ability to supply fuel to the engine at full power. (For additional information see FAA inspector's statement, and Supplemental Data Re. Aircraft Accident Bellanca NC25310 on 7/20/94).


The pilot, Ronald E. Carpenter, was transported to the Lakeland Regional Medical Center, Lakeland, Florida, with serious injuries. Toxicology studies of specimens from the pilot were requested, but not performed.


Fuel samples from the left and right fuel tanks were sent by the FAA to The State of Florida, Department of Agriculture and Customer Services, Tallahassee, Florida for analysis. The samples meet the requirements specified by the Florida Statutes for regular grade gasoline. No contamination or sediment was found in the gasoline. (For additional information see FAA Aviation Safety Inspector Fuel Report, and The State of Florida, Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Analysis of Official Gasoline Samples).


A friend of the pilot, Dean Tilton, stated the accident airplane did not have a current annual inspection, and the pilot had not obtained a ferry permit from the FAA. He further stated he assisted the pilot in hand starting the airplane by propping the propeller. The pilot taxied over to get fuel in both main tanks. He assisted the pilot in starting the airplane a second time before he taxied to the active runway and took off from runway 9. The pilot did not conduct a preflight inspection or sump the fuel tanks before departing. He then observed the airplane at about 300 feet agl in a left descending turn, and watched the airplane until it disappeared from view.

The airplane wreckage was released to Mr. William L. Morton Jr., Supervisor Airport Maintenance, Lakeland Linder Regional Airport, Lakeland, Florida, on July 21, 1994. The airplane engine was released to Mr. Fred E. Ware III, Florida Aero Services, Lakeland, Florida, on July 21, 1994.

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