WPR09LA330
WPR09LA330

On July 3, 2009, about 1230 Pacific daylight time, a Taylorcraft DCO-65 airplane, N51459, sustained substantial damage during a forced landing following a loss of engine power after takeoff from the Tracy Municipal Airport, Tracy, California. The airplane was registered to, and operated by, the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The student pilot sustained serious injuries and his passenger sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight. The local flight was originating at the time of the accident.

The pilot reported that prior to takeoff; he conducted an engine run and checked the magnetos and carburetor heat. The pilot checked the airport traffic area, taxied onto the runway, and proceeded to takeoff. As the airplane climbed through about 300 to 350 feet above ground level (agl), the pilot reported that the airplane seemed to "lose lift" and noted that the engine rpm was at 1,800 rpm instead of 2,500 rpm. The pilot verified the magneto switch position, mixture, and throttle settings were in there normal position. The pilot stated that the airplane was not holding altitude and he initiated a forced landing to the south of the Delta-Mendota Canal. Subsequently, the airplane landed hard on the northern side of the canal, bounced, and went into the waters of the canal. The pilot and passenger exited the airplane as it began to sink in the water.

Local law enforcement reported floating debris from the airplane on the water surface. Canal Water Authority personnel reported that despite numerous attempts, the wreckage of the airplane has not been located and is presumed to have drifted downstream.

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