CHI01LA189
CHI01LA189

On June 26, 2001, at 2015 eastern daylight time, a Bellanca 7KCAB, N86960, operated by a private pilot, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing to a field near Hudson, Michigan. Prior to the accident the pilot reported the airplane lost engine power while in cruise flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was operating under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The was no flight plan on file. The pilot reported no injuries. The cross-country flight originated at Rochester, Wisconsin, at 1730 central daylight time, and was en route to Toughkenamon, Pennsylvania.

In his written statement, the pilot said he was cruising at 9,500 feel mean sea level on a direct course from Rochester, Wisconsin, to Kent State, Ohio. Approximately 2 hours into the flight the engine sputtered and quit. The pilot said he attempted to restart the engine but was unsuccessful. The pilot said, "[I] Asked Toledo Approach for a vector to the nearest airport. [I] Tried to make Adrian (Lenawee County Airport, Adrian, Michigan), but could not." The pilot said he selected a green field and proceeded with a "dead stick landing". The pilot said, "On roll out [I] noticed [a] drainage ditch and tried to maneuver to avoid it, but [the] RT gear went over the edge and [the] plane came to [an] abrupt stop."

The pilot told a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector that the airplane had just had new wings installed at the American Champion Aircraft Company, Rochester, Wisconsin. He said that he was taking the airplane to Delaware.

A FAA inspector examined the airplane at the accident scene. The right main landing gear was pushed aft. The fuselage frame at the landing gear attach point was bent upward. The fuselage skin at the landing gear attach point was wrinkled. The lower cowling, oil filter and propeller spinner showed dents and scrapes. An examination of the cockpit showed the 2 position, on-off fuel selector switch in the "on" position. An examination of the airplane's fuel tanks showed right fuel tank empty and the left fuel tank full of fuel. The screens in the two fuel pick-up ports in the left fuel tank were completely blocked with debris. Flight control continuity was confirmed. No other anomalies with the airplane were found. Later examination of the fuel pick-up fittings and finger screens revealed the debris to be hardened mud and mulch similar to that found in nests made by wasps.

A representative for the American Champion Aircraft Company said that their annual inspection criteria calls for the finger strainers in the pick-up fittings to be pulled and inspected for screen damage and debris. When the new wings were installed on the airplane, on June 25, 2001, the existing fuel pick-up fittings were determined to be serviceable and were installed in the new fuel tanks. The airplane underwent an annual inspection on June 20, 2001. According to the owner/pilot, the airplane flew 8 hours between the annual inspection and the accident.

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