On January 17, 2005, about 1254 eastern standard time, an amateur built Ghiles MCR-01 VLA, N3085Q, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a total loss of engine power while in cruise flight, near Cincinnati, Ohio. The certificated private pilot and passenger were not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed for the flight that departed the Cincinnati Municipal Airport-Lunken Field (LUK), Cincinnati, Ohio; destined for the Butler County Regional Airport (HAO), Hamilton, Ohio. The personal flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
According to the pilot, the airplane was in cruise flight when he smelled a "hot" smell. Approximately 10 seconds later, the engine lost all power. The pilot was not able to restart the engine, and performed a forced landing to a roadway. During the landing, the airplane's left wing struck a utility pole and separated from the fuselage.
According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, an examination of the airplane revealed that it was equipped with an un-certificated Rotax 912 ULS engine. Further examination discovered that fuel was present in the fuel system, and the engine contained oil. No leaks could be located in either the firewall mounted oil tank, or the plumbing for the lubrication system; however, when the inspector attempted to rotate the propeller by hand, the crankshaft would not rotate.
On April 7, 2004, at the facilities of Lockwood Aviation Inc. Sanford, Florida, the engine removed from the airplane was examined under the supervision of an FAA inspector. During the examination it was revealed that both carburetor choke systems were seized, and both the left and right carburetor throats showed evidence of oil residue and hardened deposits. The engine components, including the sprag clutch were dry, and almost devoid of lubrication. The lower rod bearings had failed, along with the #2 and #4 rod. The #4 rod was separated from the crankshaft, and the #4 piston was jammed into the cylinder head. The oil pump was undamaged, and did not indicate any type of failure mode. However, after the fire sleeve covering the oil feed line was cut-away, it was discovered that the hose was kinked and exhibited distance collapse of its shape.
A review of the airplane's maintenance records showed that the last maintenance action had occurred on December 26, 2004, and had involved the replacement of a throttle cable, and re-synchronizing of the carburetors. The last work performed on the lubrication system occurred on April 27, 2004, and involved an oil and filter change as well as a re-installation of the oil sending unit.
Review of the operator manual for the un-certificated Rotax aircraft engine revealed, "Warning: Never fly the aircraft equipped with this engine at locations, airspeeds, altitudes, or other circumstances from which a successful no-power landing cannot be made after sudden engine stoppage."
The manual further stated, "You should be aware that any engine may seize or stall at any time. This could lead to a crash landing and possible severe injury or death."