FTW98LA034
FTW98LA034

On October 27, 1997, at 1117 central standard time, a Wsk Pzl Mielec M-18A agricultural airplane, N149RA, registered to and operated by Riceland Aviation, Inc., of Jennings, Louisiana, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a loss of engine power near Roanoke, Louisiana. The commercial pilot, the sole occupant, was not injured. No flight plan was filed and visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the Title 14 CFR Part 137 local aerial application flight that departed Jennings at 1045.

In a written statement provided to the NTSB investigator-in-charge and during a personal interview conducted by the FAA inspector, the pilot reported that the engine lost power as he entered a right turn following completion of a pass to apply fertilizer to a ryegrass field. He pushed the throttle full forward and began pumping the wobble pump (manual fuel pump), but he was not successful in restoring power. The pilot attempted to turn the airplane to land parallel to a ditch running along the edge of the field; however, the airplane touched down at an angle to the ditch. During the landing roll, the left wing contacted a tree which turned the airplane left into the ditch, where it nosed down and came to a stop.

According to the FAA inspector, who examined the airplane at the accident site, the leading edge of the left wing was crushed back to the spar at the point where the outer wing mated to the wing center section. Barbed wire was found wrapped around the propeller shaft, and notches, consistent in size with the diameter of the barbed wire, were present in the leading edges of two of the four propeller blades. No bending or warping of the propeller blades was noted. Under the supervision of the FAA inspector, the airplane was removed from the ditch, and 11 gallons of fuel were drained from the left wing tank, 23 gallons from the right wing tank, and 9 gallons from the fuselage header tank. The fuel was blue in color and appeared to be 100LL aviation gasoline. Fuel was present at the carburetor fuel screen and the firewall fuel filter. Throttle continuity was verified from the carburetor to the cockpit control. The fuel shutoff valve was found in the "ON" position, and when operated, appeared to be functioning correctly.

Following completion of the on-scene investigation, the airplane was released by the FAA inspector to the operator, who agreed to inform the inspector of any discrepancies found during repair of the airplane. The operator reported to the FAA inspector that the engine was removed from the airframe and taken to the facilities of Airmotive, Inc., a certified repair station in Clinton, Arkansas, where it was run on a test stand for 1 hour 16 minutes with no discrepancies noted. Following structural repairs to the airframe, made at the facilities of Clark Aviation, a certified repair station in Bay Minette, Alabama, the engine was reinstalled and operated with no discrepancies noted.

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