On May 1, 2009, about 1518 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 182Q, N382CH, collided with objects during an off airport forced landing following a loss of engine power at Puyallup, Washington. The owner/pilot was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The certificated airline transport pilot sustained minor injuries; the airplane sustained substantial damage to the airframe, rudder, and wings from impact forces. The personal cross-country flight was departing with an intended destination of Bremerton, Washington. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The pilot stated that this was the first flight following completion of an annual inspection, which included replacement of the fuel sending units. This required draining the fuel tanks. Maintenance personnel indicated that they had fueled the airplane with 20 gallons in each tank, and completed a 10-minute ground run of the engine without any difficulties noted prior to the accident flight.
The pilot reported that he experienced no anomalies during start, taxi, run-up, or the takeoff. He stated that the engine lost power about 500 feet above ground level (agl) over the departure end of runway 34. The pilot started a steep 180-degree turn, and intended to land on the parallel taxiway. The airplane was short takeoff and landing (STOL) equipped, and he had practiced this maneuver.
Local law enforcement was conducting an exercise on the field, and they responded to the perceived emergency by driving down the taxiway on which the pilot intended to land. The pilot stated that he looked for an alternate landing site, and noted that the area between the parallel taxiway and runway was soft due to recent rainfall. While in the turn about 50 feet above ground level (agl), he saw a heavy fence, which he thought was too substantial to hit. He was also over a port-a-potty maintenance and storage facility, and turned to the right to look for a softer target. The pilot stated that he chose to fly the airplane into a 50-foot square block of the port-a-potty units, which had a pile of wood chips behind them.
The pilot aimed to contact the units about 3-5 feet above the seat and tank area. He was happy with the results as he experienced a 2-g deceleration, and the airplane slowed from an estimated 60 knots to 30 knots. As the airplane settled, it nosed over, and came to rest softly in the wood chip pile.
A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector reported that the airplane had already been moved to a hangar by the time he examined it on the night of the accident. The inspector noted that maintenance personnel drained no fuel from the left tank and 20 gallons from the right tank. The left wing was intact; the right wing sustained damage and drooped. The fuel selector was in the OFF position.
On May 11, maintenance personnel added 5 gallons of fuel to the left wing tank. The engine started immediately, and was run until all temperatures and pressures were within normal operating limits. The engine was then run up to 1,800 revolutions per minute (rpm); it accelerated smoothly without hesitation. A magneto check was performed with a 50 rpm drop on both magnetos. The engine was then decelerated to idle rpm; the engine ran smoothly, and shutdown was unremarkable.
The inspector interviewed the pilot, who indicated that he did not visually check inside the fuel tanks prior to flight. The pilot stated that the fuel gauges indicated an equal amount in each tank.
J.P. Instruments Unit
The airplane had a J.P. Instruments EDM 700/800 engine data management unit installed. Among the engine parameters recorded by this unit were the fuel flow in gallons per hour (gph), manifold pressure, engine rpm, exhaust gas temperature (EGT), and cylinder head temperature (CHT) for all six cylinders. It also recorded the parameters in relation to time.
A plot of the data revealed an initial rpm of 1,400 and a corresponding fuel flow of 4 gph. About 32 seconds later, the fuel flow increased linearly over 12 seconds to 28 gph, and the rpm increased to 2,600. These values remained constant for 18 seconds. The fuel then decreased linearly to 0 gph over 12 seconds. Six seconds after the fuel flow began to decrease, the rpm decreased linearly over 6 seconds to 1,400 rpm. It then gradually declined to 700 rpm over the next 14 seconds where the data ended. The EGT dropped rapidly as the rpm decreased.