NYC06LA165
NYC06LA165

On July 2, 2006, at 1148 eastern daylight time, a North American Navion, N91686, was substantially damaged during a collision with terrain following a forced landing near Sturgis, Kentucky. The certificated private pilot was seriously injured and a passenger was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight that originated at Carmi Municipal Airport (CUL), Carmi, Illinois, about 1120, and was destined for Lake Barkley State Park Airport (1M9), Cadiz, Kentucky. No flight plan was filed for the personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

In a telephone interview, the pilot explained that the airplane was in cruise flight about 2,500 feet, when the engine experienced a total loss of power. He contacted Evansville approach control, and the controller assigned a transponder code, provided nearest airport information, and a heading to fly to the airport.

During the descent, the pilot ensured that the fuel selector was in the "Main" position, and attempted to troubleshoot the loss of power. The passenger then advised that the airplane was "getting low." The pilot directed his attention outside, and determined that the airplane would not clear the power lines in its path. He started a turn away from the power lines, and noted that the airspeed was "under a hundred" as he initiated the turn. The pilot could not recall the remainder of the flight, and stated that his next recollection was waking up in the wreckage.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single engine land. His most recent third class medical certificate was issued June 15, 2005. He reported 500 total hours of flight experience, 150 hours of which were in make and model.

According to Federal Aviation Administration records, the airplane was manufactured in 1946, and had accrued 3,256 total aircraft hours. The airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed in August 2005.

At 1155, the weather reported at Henderson, Kentucky, 21 miles northeast, included clear skies, and 10 miles of visibility. The wind was from 260 degrees at 8 knots. The temperature was 32 degrees Celsius (C), and the dew point was 22 degrees C.

The airplane was examined at the site by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, and all major components were accounted for at the scene. The airplane came to rest upright, on its belly. There was fuel in both main tanks. The engine and its associated cowlings were crushed up and aft into the cockpit area. The canopy was displaced, and the remainder of the airplane was relatively intact.

The airplane's engine and components from the fuel system were removed for examination at a later date.

On August 4, 2006, the airplane's fuel selector and other fuel system components were examined under the supervision of an FAA aviation safety inspector. Examination of the components revealed some leakage, as well as some undersized gaskets and o-rings in the aftermarket selector valve, but no defects that would have precluded normal operation.

On December 4, 2007, the airplane's engine was examined and then run in a test cell under the supervision of a National Transportation Safety Board Supervisory Air Safety Investigator. The engine started, but would not sustain operation without application of auxiliary fuel pressure. The engine was stopped, and examination revealed that the engine-driven fuel pump gasket was leaking, and the pump displayed considerable fuel staining on its exterior. The pump cover was tightened; the engine restarted, but the gasket continued to leak, and again the engine would not sustain operation without auxiliary fuel pressure applied.

The engine-driven fuel pump was removed, and replaced by a slave pump. The engine then started immediately, accelerated smoothly, and ran continuously without interruption with no application of auxiliary fuel pressure.

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