ATL98LA045
ATL98LA045

On February 17, 1998, at 1720 eastern standard time, a Pitts S-2A, N32TP, collided with the ground, according to the pilot, as he was attempting an emergency landing five miles north of New Smyrna Beach, Florida. The pilot reported that the flight operated under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91, and he had not filed a flight plan. He also stated that visual weather conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. According to the pilot, the airframe sustained substantial airframe damage. Neither of the two air transport pilots on board the airplane were injured. The flight departed Spruce Creek Airport in Daytona Beach Florida, at 1700.

The pilot reported that they were performing flat spin maneuvers when the propeller assembly stopped turning. At the same time, the pilot realized that the engine had also quit. Attempts, by the pilot, to restart the engine, failed. The pilot surveyed the immediate area for an emergency landing area. The pilot said, he selected a landfill and established an approach for an emergency landing. He recalled, as the airplane touched down, the main landing gear sank into the soft soil, and the airplane flipped over on the left side.

Examination of the airplane disclosed that the starter drive assembly was stuck, and it was also jammed against the engine flywheel. The starter drive assembly was described as being "gummed up".". After the starter drive assembly was freed the engine started normally. The normal restart procedure requires the use of the starter assembly. Examination maintenance records disclosed that the airframe maintenance procedures were completed in accordance with prescribed procedures. According to the pilot the starter assembly had not been serviced in several years.

According to the Chief Test Pilot for Aviat Aircraft Inc, Pitts Aviation Enterprises, Inc., and other S-2A pilots, it is not uncommon for the S-2A to experience a loss of engine power during the execution of a flat spin. The normal in-flight restart procedures are required to recover from this maneuver. (see attached emergency procedures for in-flight engine restart).

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