NYC07LA167
NYC07LA167

On July 13, 2007, about 1645 eastern daylight time, an amateur built Fokker D VII, Canadian registration C-GWWI, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain during a forced landing after takeoff from Geneseo Airport (D52), Geneseo, New York. The Canadian certificated airline transport pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight, which was conducted under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to the pilot, the purpose of the flight, which was being operated by a historical aviation society, was to practice for an upcoming air show. The accident airplane was the first of six airplanes performing a formation takeoff.

During the takeoff from runway 23, about 100 feet above the ground, the engine gradually began losing power. The pilot noted that there were no abnormal indications on the engine instruments, and that the engine was not running roughly. The pilot initially attempted to turn back toward the airport, but was unable to maintain airspeed in the turn, so he elected to fly straight ahead towards a field. He also did not want to return to the runway as he thought it would create a hazard to the airplanes departing behind him. He attempted to fly the airplane through a gap in a line of trees between his position and the chosen forced landing area, but the lower right wing struck a tree and the airplane impacted the ground.

Two witnesses also observed the airplane as it departed. One of the witnesses, who was also a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, reported that when the airplane reached about 75 feet above the ground, it stopped climbing, and began a shallow descent. As the airplane descended, the witness observed that it was trailing "smoke." The airplane turned right when it reached the end of the runway, then descended out of view behind trees.

The other witness, who was the operator's maintenance director, observed a "heavy mist" emanating from the right side of the airplane during the takeoff.

An FAA inspector examined the engine after the accident. According to the inspector, the spark plugs were removed and checked visually. They all appeared to have a similar coloring, and no defects were noted. Rotation of the propeller produced no binding of the drivetrain. The drive couplings of the magnetos were intact, and both magnetos were free to rotate. The throttle and mixture controls moved freely between their respective travel limits. The engine driven fuel pump was free to rotate.

Examination of the engine cowling and the area of the firewall where the fuel filter mounted, revealed that it was visibly cleaner than the surrounding area. The fuel filter housing was further examined, and the fuel filter was able to be extracted from the housing with only "hand turning."

The airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on July 10, 2007. On that date the fuel filter was inspected, reinstalled, and checked for leaks. The airplane had flown about 26 hours since that inspection.

Review of the maintenance manual for the carburetor installed on the engine revealed that a fuel system pressure of 3-psi must be maintained, otherwise the engine would lose power.

The weather conditions reported at Greater Rochester International Airport (ROC), Rochester, New York, about 20 nautical miles north of the accident site, at 1654, included winds from 140 degrees at 7 knots, 10 statute miles visibility, few clouds at 3,500 feet, broken clouds at 8,000 feet, and broken clouds at 10,000 feet, temperature 18 degrees Celsius, dew point 14 degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 29.93 inches of mercury.

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