On February 15, 2005, at 0942 eastern standard time, a Grumman G-21A, N327, was destroyed during a forced landing and post-crash fire near Penn Yan Airport (PEO), Penn Yan, New York. The certificated flight instructor and the private pilot receiving instruction received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local instructional flight, which was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
According to written statements, and during telephone interviews, the flight instructor and the pilot stated that the purpose of the flight was for the flight instructor to provide multiengine airplane training to his brother, a single engine airplane-rated private pilot.
The flight instructor and the pilot met at the airport to perform a preflight inspection of the airplane, and verified that it contained 220 gallons of fuel. The pilot reported that he started the engines and allowed them to warm up, then conducted a run-up check of both engines.
The takeoff from runway 19 proceeded normally, and the pilot retracted the landing gear as he started a left turn to the crosswind leg of the traffic pattern, at an altitude about 600 feet above ground level (agl). The flight instructor then retarded the right throttle in order to simulate a failure of the right engine. The pilot performed the procedures for an in-flight engine failure, while the flight instructor guarded the engine controls.
The flight instructor looked out the right window to check for traffic and heard the pilot state, "I am at blue line but losing altitude." The pilot continued to turn the airplane left, as the flight instructor continued to scan for traffic and moved the right throttle forward to about the "half throttle" position. The flight instructor noted that the airplane was at or slightly above best single engine rate of climb speed (blue line speed), and that the airplane was descending rapidly through 400 feet agl.
The flight instructor remembered saying something to the pilot very loudly, but could not recall what he said due to the noise level in the cockpit. He also stated that he did not remember, "feeling, seeing, or hearing" the power return to the right engine. When asked, the pilot could not recall if he had adjusted either of the throttle controls after the initial application of power for takeoff. In addition, the flight instructor could not recall if the pilot had increased power on the left engine at any time during the accident sequence
The flight instructor recalled that the airplane flared before touchdown, but could not remember if he or the pilot was manipulating the flight controls at the time.
The airplane impacted the ground, caught fire, and spun 180 degrees before coming to rest. The flight instructor exited the airplane through the cabin door and the pilot exited through the left cockpit window.
In a written statement and during a telephone interview, a witness traveling northbound on the highway adjacent to the crash site stated that he saw a twin-engine seaplane flying very low and heading in an easterly direction. He saw the airplane make a "hard left turn" about 50 feet prior to reaching the roadway that he was traveling on. The left wing of the airplane impacted the ground, followed by the fuselage. Immediately upon impacting the ground, the airplane caught fire. When asked, the witness described the sound of the airplane's engines as "full loud" and "deafening."
The accident airplane was a 1939 Grumman G-21A "Goose." It had accrued 8,821 total flight hours at the time of the last annual inspection. Both engines had accumulated 80 total flight hours since the last major overhaul.
The flight instructor held an airline transport pilot certificate with ratings for airplane multiengine land and rotorcraft helicopter. He also held commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane multiengine sea, and airplane single engine land and sea. He held a flight instructor certificate with ratings for airplane single and multiengine, and rotorcraft helicopter. At the time of the accident, he reported 17,573 total hours of flight experience, and 46 hours of flight experience in the accident airplane make and model. He also reported that he possessed 30 hours of dual instruction given in the accident airplane make and model.
The pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land and sea, and instrument airplane. At the time of the accident, he reported 1,834 hours of total flight experience, and 24 hours of flight experience in the accident airplane make and model.
Examination of the wreckage was conducted at the scene by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors. Photographs of the airplane's throttle quadrant revealed that the right throttle and mixture controls were in the full forward position, the left mixture control was in an aft position, near the rear stop of the quadrant, and the left throttle control was in about the 1/3 throttle open position. The photographs also revealed that the mixture controls used a notching latch-type design that locked the mixture controls in a fixed position.
No published performance data was available for the airplane, and according to the flight instructor, much of what he knew about the performance of the airplane he learned from previous flights.
The weather reported at Penn Yan Airport, at 0946, included winds from 210 degrees at 13 knots, gusting to 18 knots, 10 statute miles visibility, scattered clouds at 2,300 feet, temperature 41 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 34 degrees Fahrenheit, and an altimeter setting of 30.01 inches of mercury.