On December 24, 2005, at 1310 Pacific standard time, a Forrest Haynes Lancair 320, N320WH, impacted trees and terrain during a forced landing following a loss of engine power while descending toward the Ramona Airport, Ramona, California. The airplane was operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91 as a personal flight. The private pilot and his passenger sustained minor injuries, but the airplane was destroyed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed for the cross-country flight that originated from Bullhead City, Arizona, about an hour prior to the accident. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
According to the pilot, the flight was about 35 miles out from their destination so he set the manifold pressure at 15 inches and the engine at 2300 rpm to slow down the airplane and begin the descent. The pilot indicated that all was normal at this point. Around 14 miles from Ramona, the pilot performed a pre-landing check by switching to the header fuel tank, turning on the auxiliary fuel pump, lowering the landing gear, and applying a full rich mixture setting. He noted no anomalies.
When the airplane was about 4 miles from the airport at an elevation of 4,000 feet, the engine rpm and manifold pressure began to steadily decrease. The pilot ensured that all engine controls were full forward and switched the fuel selector to one of the wing fuel tanks. The engine did not regain power, and the pilot diverted his attention to an emergency landing spot. His passenger pointed out a field and the pilot set up for landing between two trees. During the forced landing the left wingtip clipped a tree limb and the airplane impacted the ground. As the airplane came to a stop, the pilot looked back and saw fire behind him. He and his passenger exited the airplane, which burned to the ground.
Review of the maintenance records revealed that the IO-320-D1C engine (serial number L-5911-55A) was overhauled on February 28, 2003, following a propeller strike at an airframe total time of 472.2 hours (about 95 hours prior to the accident). On May 13, 2005, the airframe/engine underwent an annual inspection at an airframe total time of 544.1 hours, and 71.9 hours since the overhaul. On November 23, 2005, (at an aircraft total time of 552.8 hours) an entry was made in the engine logbook indicating that the electric fuel boost pump was replaced with an overhauled pump and was operationally tested with no anomalies observed. On December 19, 2005, another maintenance action was entered into the logbook at an aircraft total time of 553.9 hours. That entry indicated that the boost pump was removed and sent to Quality Aircraft Accessories for overhaul and was reinstalled. The fuel servo was also removed and sent to Mike's Fuel Metering for inspection and repair. It was reinstalled on the accident airplane. Additionally, the JP Instruments EDM 700 Engine Analyzer display head was also removed and sent to the manufacturer's facility for inspection. It was reinstalled on the accident airplane. According to the pilot, he had just purchased the amateur-built airplane on the 23rd of December, and had flown it from Kansas to California.
An inspector with the Federal Aviation Administration's San Diego, California, Flight Standards District Office examined the wreckage at the accident site. According to the inspector, the entire aircraft and fuel supply system was destroyed by the fire. The engine remained attached to the engine mount and the propeller remained attached to the engine. The one propeller blade was bent aft about mid-span and the other was bent aft slightly at the tip. The wreckage was recovered to Air Transport in Phoenix, Arizona, where it was examined by an NTSB investigator. Internal engine continuity was confirmed by rotating the propeller manually, but the fire damage precluded the testing of any of the powerplant systems.