On January 24, 1997, about 1630 eastern standard time, a Navion G, N2417T, registered to a private individual, crashed shortly after takeoff from the Indiantown airstrip, Indiantown, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the local flight. The airplane was substantially damaged and the private-rated pilot and one passenger sustained serious injuries. The flight was originating at the time of the accident. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The pilot stated that after landing he immediately taxied to the approach end of the runway and performed an engine run-up with no discrepancies noted. He began the takeoff roll, rotated at 80 mph, and with a positive climb and 95 miles per hour indicated, he retracted the landing gear. At 300 feet, the engine experienced a sudden loss of power with no sputtering; and the propeller continued to rotate. With insufficient runway remaining he maneuvered the airplane to the right to avoid a hangar and while descending, the airplane collided with trees then the ground, with the airplane remaining upright.
Postcrash examination of the airplane by an FAA inspector revealed sufficient fuel (approximately 30 gallons) to sustain engine operation, fuel contamination was not noted. The landing gear was retracted and the fuel selector was in the detent at the "main" position. The auxiliary fuel pump was found in the "off" position, and the throttle, mixture, and propeller controls were fully forward in the cockpit. The fuel vent was later determined to be free of obstructions. Postaccident testing of the fuel system by temporary installation of an auxiliary fuel tank plumbed into the fuel selector inlet from the accumulator tank position revealed no blockage forward through the fuel selector to the fuel strainer and forward of the electrically operated auxiliary fuel pump. The auxiliary fuel pump was checked on both the low and high positions with no discrepancies noted. Examination of the gascolator revealed 3-4 tablespoons of fuel; no water was found. The magneto switch was tested and found to be functional with no evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction. The engine was removed for a test run.
The engine was placed in a test cell at the manufacturer's facility and after replacement of impact damaged components which are listed in the engine manufacturer's report, the engine was started and operated normally using the engine-driven fuel pump. The operation of the engine included duplication of the taxi and run-up times before takeoff. No determination could be made as to the reason for the loss of engine power due to fuel starvation during the initial climb.
The wreckage minus the retained engine was released to Mr. Richard Sample of Sample International on February 28, 1997. The retained engine was also released to Mr. Sample on April 28, 1997.
On October 20, 1999, and December 27, 1999, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) staff of the Southeast Regional Office received two letters from the accident pilot/aircraft owner. The letters requested information regarding previously (several months earlier) reported information pertaining to discrepancies with the engine driven fuel pump and the status of the follow-up investigation. Copies of the letters are an attachment to the follow-up report.
Follow-up investigation revealed that after the successful engine run at the manufacturer's facility, the engine driven fuel pump which had safety wire at the relief valve cover assembly, was disassembled at the manufacturer's facility by Teledyne Continental Motors personnel, with FAA oversight. According to personnel of Teledyne Continental Motors and review of photographs provided of the engine driven fuel pump P/N 646212-2, an "old style drive coupling" P/N 631263, and a "current style fuel pump shaft" P/N 646176, were installed. The old style drive coupling which was not failed was 1.254 inches in length; no wear or rounding of the square corners was noted on either end of the coupling. Additionally, no contamination was noted inside the engine driven fuel pump during disassembly. Copies of the photographs showing disassembly of the engine driven fuel pump provided by personnel from the engine manufacturer are attachments to the follow-up report.
Review of Airworthiness Directive (AD) 93-16-15, which lists an effective date of September 27, 1993, and is not recurring, was applicable to the installed engine driven fuel pump. The AD was required to be complied with within 30 hours time in service from the effective date to prevent possible fuel pump drive shaft disengagement and loss of engine power. The AD indicates that with the combination of the fuel pump drive coupling and the fuel pump drive shaft that was installed in the accident engine driven fuel pump, the fuel pump drive coupling was required to be replaced with a serviceable fuel pump drive coupling, P/N 653359. The AD also states that, "this amendment becomes effective December 14, 1993, to all persons except those persons to whom it was made immediatel [sic] effective by priority letter AD 93-16-15, issued September 27, 1993, which contained the requirements of this amendment." The AD is an attachment to the follow-up report.
According to Jerry Robinette, Senior Engineer-Propulsion, FAA Atlanta Aircraft Certification Office, who is listed as the point of contact for further information pertaining to AD 93-16-15, it was generated due to the findings of seven engine driven fuel pumps that had only approximately 1/8 inch engagement with the drive couplings to the engine gear train. He reported that damage to the end of the coupling (rounding off of the corners of approximately 1/8 inch), occurred in all of the seven engine driven fuel pumps. He referenced National Transportation Safety Board accident investigation case number DCA92MA040, which had damage to one of the drive couplings. He also stated that based on his experience, the drive coupling could not fully disengage without finding damage to the drive coupling. The priority letter mentioned in the body of the AD bypasses the regulatory route and was mailed by the FAA from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to affected registered owners, but the 30 hour compliance time was still in effect.
The airplane had not been operated and no annual inspections were recorded from the effective date of the AD to the date of the last annual inspection (May 1996). Airworthiness Directive 93-16-15, was not complied with by the IA at the last annual inspection, the entry indicates in part, "...all ads checked to date...." It does not indicate that AD 93-16-15 was required to be completed within 30 hours time in service. The airplane was previously determined to have been operated for approximately 38 hours at the time of the accident since the last annual inspection; 15.5 hours of which were by the accident pilot since he purchased the airplane in November 1996. The pilot unknowingly operated the airplane 8 hours beyond the 30 hour compliance as indicated by the AD. Copies of the maintenance records and copies of excerpts from the pilot's pilot logbook are attachment to this follow-up report.