MIA06LA107
MIA06LA107

On May 11, 2006, about 2030 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 152, N93152, registered to and operated by a private individual, crashed into Lake Harris near Leesburg, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the 14 CFR Part 91 local, personal flight from Leesburg Regional Airport, Leesburg, Florida. The airplane was substantially damaged and the private-rated pilot sustained minor injuries while the passenger was not injured. The flight originated about 1930, from Leesburg Regional Airport.

The pilot stated that before takeoff he listened to the ASOS on the Leesburg Airport which indicated that thunderstorms were nearby. He elected to depart and then after flying locally, he waited for the thunderstorms to move away from the airport. He then elected to return to the airport and entered the traffic pattern for runway 31 and performed a go-around. He reentered the traffic pattern for runway 31 and while on the base leg, he noted the precision approach path indicator (PAPI) lights indicate the flight was low. He added full power but the engine did not respond. He turned off the carburetor heat, verified the mixture control was full rich, and changed aircraft pitch to maintain 60 knots. He turned onto final approach and after recognizing that he would be unable to land on the runway, elected to ditch the airplane. He and the passenger exited the airplane and were in the water approximately 2 hours before being rescued.

The passenger stated that he and the pilot went flying for a "quick flight" and after takeoff when the flight was approximately 8 miles east of the airport, it began to rain and was "...storming very bad...." When the flight returned to the airport they had trouble finding the runway and the pilot performed two go-around's; the next thing he knew they were in the water. He initially was trapped, but released his seatbelt and exited the airplane.

After recovery the airplane was examined by an FAA airworthiness inspector. Examination revealed the airplane was in several sections due to recovery. The outboard leading edge of the left wing was displaced up and aft. The flap selector was positioned to the 0 degree setting. Examination of the engine revealed crankshaft, camshaft, and valve train continuity. Compression was noted in all cylinders during hand rotation of the crankshaft. No abnormal carbon deposits were noted on any of the spark plugs, which were light gray/tan in color. The magnetos did not spark due to being wet, but the impulse coupling was heard to operate during hand rotation of the engine. The carburetor was broken at the flange, but activation of the throttle control revealed a discharge of fluid from the accelerate pump discharge nozzle. Disassembly of the carburetor revealed the carburetor bowl was clean with no evidence of pre-existing contamination. The accelerator pump piston seal and metal float were in good condition; the metal float did not show any signs of internal leakage. The float needle was intact and pliable. No pre-crash anomalies with aircraft, flight controls, or engine were found.

A review of FAA records revealed the pilot's last medical certificate (2nd class) was dated January 28, 2003; the pilot was 37 years old at the time of the examination. A review of 14 CFR Part 61.23 revealed a medical certificate expires the 36th month after the date of the examination if the person had not reached his or her 40th birthday at the time of the examination.

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