MIA00LA251
MIA00LA251

On August 26, 2000, about 0840 eastern daylight time, a Ryan Navion A, N5117K, registered to, and operated by Spruce Creek Fly-In Aviation Inc., as a Title 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, ditched into the ocean off Daytona Beach Shores, Florida, following a loss of engine power. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The aircraft incurred substantial damage, and the private-rated pilot and two passengers received minor injuries. The flight originated in Spruce Creek, Florida, the same day, about 0815.

The pilot stated that he had conducted a preflight inspection on the accident aircraft, and had taken off, proceeding north, paralleling the beach at 1,000 feet mean seal level (MSL). The pilot stated that when he was directly abeam Daytona Beach International Airports' east/west runway, the engine ceased operating, and he turned the aircraft toward the beach, "lined up with DBIA runway 27", and tried to restart the aircraft engine. He said he tried to restart the engine two times but did not have any success. According to the pilot, he then set himself up for, and executed a landing about 150 yards from the shore, in about 11 feet of water.

Both passengers who were on board the aircraft stated that they had been airborne, and was proceeding north, about 1/2 mile off the coast, heading toward St. Augustine. The passengers further stated that without warning, the engine "lost" power, and the pilot established a glide, while attempting to restart the engine, using "throttle, carb heat, boost pumps and primer." According to the passengers, all attempts to restart the engine were unsuccessful, so pilot turned the aircraft toward the coast, and while avoiding nearby swimmers, executed a water landing.

Several witnesses on the land and in the water stated that they observed the aircraft, and that its engine had not been operating during the glide and water landing.

The aircraft had crashed off Daytona Beach Shores, in about 11 feet of water, and in contrast to the NTSB's request that it be recovered to the beach, promptly loaded, and removed to a secure facility for examination, local officials directed that the aircraft be towed several miles at sea, and be secured at the Coast Guard station instead. During maritime tow operations, the tow broke, and the aircraft sank in over 35 feet of water. The following day the aircraft was recovered to the Coast Guard station, after being in the ocean for about two days.

An FAA inspector and a representative from the engine manufacturer examined the aircraft wreckage, and the examination revealed that the aircraft's empennage had separated from the main wreckage, and there had been additional damage to the wreckage as a result of towing operations. According to the inspector, the examination did not reveal the presence of any preexisting mechanical malfunction. The inspector retained the carburetor, electric boost fuel pump, and the engine driven fuel pump for further examination, and the examination, which was conducted by the NTSB, did not reveal any anomalies.

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