ATL97LA012
ATL97LA012

On October 31, 1996, about 0330 Atlantic standard time, a Douglas C-47, N37AP, collided with the ground during a forced landing at Dorado,, Puerto Rico. The airplane was operated by Flamenco Airways under the provisions of Title14 CFR Part 91, and visual flight rules. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. A flight plan was not filed for the positioning flight between the Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci (SIG) airport and the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport (SJU). There were serious injuries to the captain and first officer, minor injuries to the airplane loader, and the airplane was substantially damaged. Origination of the flight was the Dominicci Airport, San Juan, Puerto Rico, minutes prior to the accident.

The flight crew reported that after takeoff on runway 9, the airplane was turned left, and headed west, to climb. During the climb, about 1,0000 feet, the right engine began backfiring. According to the pilots, sparks were observed from the front of the right engine, subsequently discovered to be from a cracked cylinder. An unsuccessful attempt was made to feather the right propeller, while attempting to position the airplane for a landing at the origin airport. The copilot reported that the airplane arrived at a position that was abeam the approach threshold for runway 9, at 500 feet above the ground, with an airspeed of about 95-100 knots. The airplane was turned south toward the departure runway. A decision was then made to divert to the international airport. According to the copilot, the throttle was placed in the maximum power position without increasing the propeller control. The airplane then turned right, back to a westerly heading, and subsequently crashed beside a canal about three miles west of the departure runway (see attached map).

The Federal Aviation Administration Inspector who examined the airplane reported that the number 11 cylinder on the right engine cracked. There was evidence of fire, adjacent to the cylinder on the cowling, that consisted of scorching, sooting, and a burned through area of the underside of the right engine cowling. Both propellers were in the low pitch, high rpm position, at the accident site. He also reported that the feather hold circuit on the right engine did not hold the propeller in feather when the copilot attempted to feather the right propeller. Although the copilot indicated this had occurred previously, the maintenance records did not contain previous discrepancies regarding this anomaly. The inspector indicated that the operator attempted to test the feathering system after the engine had been recovered from the crash site. When the inspector arrived at the recovery location for the engine, the feathering pump would not operate. The inspector stated he observed the right fuel selector on the right main tank, in the wreckage. A copy of the DC-3 emergency check list was provided by the inspector. The check list indicates that V2 is 85 knots, that a failed engine's propeller should be feathered, and that the affected engine's fuel selector should be placed "OFF" in the event of a fire.

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