On November 6, 1996, about 1605 hours Pacific standard time, a Cessna 210L, N30115, forced landed in a farm pond following a loss of engine power during the takeoff initial climb from the Sunset Sky Ranch Airport, Elk Grove, California. The aircraft was owned by the operator's son, and was on a ferry flight to another airport where an annual inspection could be attained. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The aircraft incurred substantial damage. The certificated airline transport pilot, the sole occupant, sustained minor injuries.

The pilot reported that everything was normal until ". . . passing over end of runway and altitude 300 feet agl, manifold pressure observed to be slightly lower [than at takeoff] pressure." He further stated that the engine stopped running, and he started a left turn and lowered the nose to maintain airspeed. About 20 feet agl, the left wing struck a tree and the aircraft nose dived into a 4-foot pond of water where the airplane came to rest.

The aircraft wreckage was examined on November 7, 1996, at the accident site by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors from the Sacramento Flight Standards District Office. Engine and flight control continuity was established on-site. Fuel was found in both fuel tanks, and no evidence of contaminants were found in the fuel. All fuel lines, oil lines, engine fuel injection lines, exhaust system, and engine ignition system appeared intact.

Following the recovery of the aircraft a successful test run of the engine was completed by the FAA inspectors. No anomalies were noted.

Review of aircraft records revealed that the last annual inspection completed on the accident aircraft was March 10, 1987. The FAA inspectors reported that the pilot was attempting to ferry the aircraft, without an FAA ferry permit, to another airport where maintenance could be accomplished. They further stated that the ". . . aircraft records could not demonstrate a clear picture of airworthiness directive (AD) completion." In a face-to-face interview, the pilot stated ". . . that all ADs were completed, but his mechanic did not make log book entries as required."

The FAA inspectors stated that in 1985 the pilot had voluntarily surrendered his pilot's certificate instead of retesting for a failed proficiency check. The FAA then canceled the certificate. The FAA inspector also reported that a void stamp was placed on the pilot's certificate that was not evident at the time the pilot interview was conducted.

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