NYC95LA231
NYC95LA231

On September 29, 1995, about 1320 eastern daylight time, a Waco UPF-7, N167K, was substantially damaged during flight near Staten Island, New York. The airplane was substantially damaged. The commercial pilot and two passengers were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed. The local sightseeing flight had departed from Old Bridge, New Jersey and was being conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

In a statement submitted by the pilot stated:

...I was flying at about 800' over the water at 1800 RPM when 19 3/4" of my propeller departed the aircraft. The vibration seemed like an earthquake. I instantly chopped the throttle and mixture, and turned off the mags and master switch; with my hand on the throttle, I felt the throttle being pulled forward by the weight of the engine as I watched it disappear from view. (I saw after landing that the engine was hanging down between the landing gear struts about a foot off the ground, held on by the throttle linkage, fuel line and heavy duty starter wire.)....

The pilot further stated that he performed a forced landing in a parking lot. No damage occurred during the landing.

A section of the remaining propeller blade at it's point of separation was examined by the National Transportation Safety Board, Material Laboratory, Washington, District of Columbia. The metallurgist's report stated that there was a fatigue origin area at the point of separation.

Additionally, the Federal Aviation Administration Inspector stated:

...Examination of the propeller revealed 12 inches of one blade tip was missing. The propeller was by Curtis-Reed, Model 55501 (Circa 1940).....Log book records revealed that during the overhaul, January 1995, this propeller was removed from another airplane (a Stearman) and installed on aircraft N167K....

...[Additionally,]The propeller failed as a result of fatigue cracking and mechanical damage on the flat face (aft) of the propeller. Paint was found in the crack indicating that the propeller was painted after it was damaged. The time when the damage occurred is unknown because the propeller and engine were on another aircraft.

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