On January 6, 2002, at 1230 eastern standard time, a Cessna 414A, N6560C, piloted by a commercial pilot, was substantially damaged during an emergency landing on a frozen snow covered agricultural field following a single engine missed approach to the Kirsch Municipal Airport (IRS), Sturgis, Michigan. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight was operating on an instrument rules flight plan. The pilot sustained minor injuries, one passenger sustained serious injuries and the remaining passenger was uninjured. The flight originated from IRS, at 1210, en route to the New Braunfels Municipal Airport (BAZ), New Braunfels, Texas. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The pilot reported that the right engine lost power during a departure climb from IRS approximately 4,300 feet msl. He then received radar vectors for a return to the airport during which time the airplane began to lose altitude at a rate of 100-150 feet per minute. The pilot added that he flew the NDB 18 approach and found himself in a position too high to land, so he executed a missed approach and feathered the right engine's propeller. After finding that he was unable to avoid obstructions along the flight path, he elected to execute an emergency landing in a corn field.
The pilot reported in a written statement, "...While the aircraft was hangared, 3 suitcases weighing [less than] 30 lbs each were placed into the aft section of the nose baggage compartment. Light weight Christmas gifts had been pre-loaded on [January 5, 2002]. A picnic basket [and] thermos bottle were secured inside the cabin."
"Pre-flight, external walk-around inspection was accomplished inside the hangar and was unremarkable. The [right and left] engines showed 10 qts of oil [and] no oil was added from the previous flight on [January 2, 2002]. The aircraft was towed from the hangar [and] hangar secured."
"The checklist before starting engines was completed. The engines started normally [and] easily."
"Taxi for run-up [and] brake checks were unremarkable."
"Before [Takeoff] checklist was accomplished on the taxiway. There were no abnormalities or irregularities."
"...Following release, brakes were applied, final [directional gyro] check, flaps up, prop synchrophaser off, fuel pump ON determined. Throttles were advanced slowly, fuel flows [right and left] engines advanced normally [and] symmetrically. Engine gauges showed all needles in green arcs. Brakes released at 25" [manifold pressure]. Throttles advanced to full power. There was no abnormal power [right] or [left] engine on roll out. No braking was required. Lift off was at a point estimated to be 2000 - 2500' from runway threshold. Leveled off aircraft at 50', speed increased to 110 KIAS (blue line) [and] wheels (gear) was retracted when runway insufficient for landing. Climb out was at blue line (110 KIAS) to 500' AGL where first power reduction was made to top of green MP [and propeller] reduction to 2500 RPMs. The climb was continued at 120 KIAS. Power appeared normal in both engines. Entered bottom of overcast at 1550' MSL."
"At 4000-4300' MSL, still in overcast layer, the [right] engine changed tone (no explosion or loud bang), the [right propeller] RPM decreased progressively [and] with moderate rapidity. Manifold pressure (MP) decrease similar to RPM decrease. Throttles, [propellers and] mixture controls were advanced full forward. Fuel selector switches were determined to be on [right and left] main tanks, respectively [and] fuel pumps were still on. I leveled the aircraft, determined the inoperative engine to be the [right] engine. I set up a [left] 5 [degree] bank into the good engine [and] applied [right] rudder to maintain direction."
"A20 [air traffic control] was advised of [right engine power loss]. Continued stabilization was effected."
"N6560C requested vectors for NDB 10 [approach] at IRS, Kirsh [Municipal] Airport. Shortly, thereafter, maximum [right] rudder was necessary to maintain vectored course heading."
"I set up for NDB 18 with a 170 [degree] course heading. [Approach] plates were still mounted on the yoke clip. Gear was lowered [and] descent started. At 1500' the airport runways were not evident ( airport was covered with snow uniformly). Five clicks on 123.05 gave little to no help from lighting as it related to identification of runways. At the time [runway] 18 was identified, aircraft was too high to effect a normal or near normal transition for landing."
"Next, I made a decision to attempt a go-around to avoid houses in the airport vicinity [and] downtown Strugis which was ahead of the aircraft. I applied full [left] throttle, [propeller and] mixture controls. At that time, the [right propeller] was feathered from its windmilling profile [and] I closed the [right] throttle [and right] mixture to idle/cut off. When in level flight, flaps were retracted from 15 [degrees] (1 notch)(maximum extension). Then when stable the gear was retracted. A [right] turn was then effected to avoid downtown Sturgis [and] surrounding city. I could not maintain level flight in a [right] bank. Altitude loss on the [vertical speed indicator] was 150-200 fpm. At full [left] engine throttle, [propeller and] mixture settings, clean."
"After clearing one tree row with minimum clearance [and vertical speed indicator] still indicating 150-200 fpm descent, it was evident that the aircraft would not be above tree [and] telephone lines, which were visible ahead of me."
"Next, I determined that a bank of the degree required to change direction in order to avoid the rapidly approaching trees [and] telephone lines, would probably result in a stall at low altitude with no means to recover before ground impact. I was approaching agricultural land."
"Summarily, I changed course to miss an agricultural sprinkler [and] at the same time direct the aircraft course toward a relative decreased density of trees in the next tree row."
Next, I closed down the [left] engine throttle, [propeller] to feather [and] mixture to off. Switched tanks to [right and left] off positions. [Magnetos] to off [and] then maintained 300 fpm descent to touchdown."
"The terrain was previously plowed agricultural land. The snow, unfortunately, provided less friction on the fuselage. The aircraft slid across US-12 and came to rest approximately 20' from the road with the nose between two trees which were approximately 20' apart."
"The passengers were advised to exit the aircraft, immediately and they did so under their own power..."
The pilot reported sustaining a laceration to his lower lip and the passenger seated in the aft facing seat behind the right front seat sustained a fracture of the second lumbar vertebrae. The remaining passenger who was seated in the right front seat did not receive any injuries.
The IRS automated weather observing system recorded:
at 1201, an overcast ceiling 500 feet agl, visibility of 1 1/4 sm in mist, temperature of 1 C, and altimeter setting of 29.75 inches of Hg.
at 1221, an overcast ceiling 500 feet agl and visibility of 1 1/2 sm in mist, temperature of 1 C, and altimeter setting of 29.75 inches of Hg.
at 1238, an overcast of 700 feet agl, visibility of 2 sm in mist, temperature of 1C, and altimeter setting of 29.75 inches of Hg.
The NDB 18 approach at IRS has approach minimums of 1500 feet msl and 1 sm visibility for category A and B aircraft. The touchdown zone elevation and the airport elevation were 915 msl and 925 feet msl, respectively. Runway 18 was equipped with a visual slope approach indicator and pilot controlled runway end identifier lights.
The engine inoperative procedure for an engine failure during flight at a speed above air minimum control speed is listed in the Cessna 414A pilot's operating handbook as:
1. Inoperative Engine - DETERMINE. Idle engine same side as idle foot.
2. Operative Engine - ADJUST as required.
Before Securing Inoperative Engine:
3. Fuel Flow - CHECK. If deficient, position auxiliary fuel pump switch to ON.
4. Fuel Selectors - MAIN TANKS ( Feel For Detent).
5. Fuel Quantity - CHECK. Switch to opposite MAIN TANK if necessary.
6. Oil Pressure and Oil Temperature - CHECK. Shutdown engine if oil pressure is low.
7. Magneto Switches - CHECK ON.
8. Mixture - ADJUST. Lean until manifold pressure begins to increase, then enrichen as power increases.
If Engine Does Not Start, Secure As Follows:
9. Inoperative Engine - SECURE.
a. Throttle - CLOSE.
b. Propeller - FEATHER.
c. Mixture - IDLE CUT-OFF.
d. Fuel Selector - OFF (Feel For Detent).
e. Auxiliary Fuel Pump - OFF.
f. Magneto Switches - OFF.
g. Propeller Syncrophaser - OFF (Optional System).
h. Alternator Switch - OFF.
i Cowl Flap - CLOSE.
10. Operative Engine - ADJUST.
a. Power - AS REQUIRED.
b. Mixture - ADJUST for power.
c. Fuel Selector - AS REQUIRED (Feel for Detent).
d. Auxiliary Fuel Pump - ON.
e. Cowl Flap - AS REQUIRED.
11. Trim Tabs - ADJUST 5 [degree] bank toward operative engine with approximately 1/2 ball slip indicated on the turn and bank indicator.
12. Electrical Load - DECREASE to minimum required.
13. As Soon As Practical - LAND.
The 1978 Cessna 414A, serial number 414A-0013, was powered by two Teledyne Continental engines rated at 310 hp at 2,700 rpm. The airplane was equipped with an ATS 414A Vortex Generator Kit installed under supplemental type certificate (STC) SA5672NM for the installation of 118 vortex generators on the wings, vertical stabilizer and strakes so as to improve stall characteristics and to reduce stall and minimum controllable airspeeds. There were no modifications made to the aircraft's engines under this STC. The listed one engine inoperative climb rate at sea level conditions for a Cessna 414A was 290 fpm and 230 fpm at respective gross weights of 6,750 lbs and 7,105 lbs.
The airplane basic empty weight was 4,959.07 lbs, the pilot weight was 180 lbs, the front right seat passenger was 182 lbs, the aft facing passenger was 178 lbs, fuel was 1,170 lbs and baggage was 130 lbs.
Maintenance records indicate on May 8, 2001 the right engine, serial number 509986, was removed for repair due to a propeller strike. According to these records, the engine was reinstalled using original hoses and routine minor repairs were made to baffling, ducts and hoses. The Hobbs meter was recorded as 2,559 hours at the time of this maintenance. The Hobbs meter at the accident site was 2,590.7 hours.
The rate of climb one engine inoperative performance data (included in this report) for the airplane indicates that the airplane rate of climb data is based upon pressure altitude, outside air temperature and weight. The data is predicated on: 2,700 rpm and 38.0 inches of Hg, fuel flow in the white arc, landing gear in the up position, wing flaps in the up position, inoperative propeller in the feathered position, and wings banked 5 degrees toward the operative engine with approximately 1/2 ball slip indicated on the turn and bank indicator. Values which are to be subtracted from the one engine inoperative rate of climb data are listed as follows; inoperative engine windmilling, 400 fpm; gear down, 350 fpm; flaps down 15 degrees, 200 fpm; flaps down 45 degrees, 800 fpm.
The airplane was resting amongst several trees along an agricultural field approximately 2 nm southwest of IRS. The wreckage was preceded by a 600-700 foot long skid mark across a frozen field. Both wings were severed at the wing root as were the engine's from their firewalls. The right engine cowling was covered with oil, which was streaked rearwards. The majority of lines and hoses leading to the engine exhibited stretching or separation through overload except for the turbo oil return line (part number CM3758F114F325S), which was disconnected and exhibited no stripping of the threads of ends of the connector. Metallic debris was found in the oil sump pan upon its removal.
The Federal Aviation Administration, Cessna Aircraft Company and Teledyne Continental Motors were parties to the investigation.