ERA09LA473
ERA09LA473

On August 22, 2009, about 1025 eastern daylight time, a Flight Design GMBH, CTSW, special light sport airplane, N535CT, registered to and operated by a private owner, as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight, experienced a total loss of engine power in cruise flight near Okeechobee, Florida. The pilot made a forced landing to a pasture, and the airplane nosed over inverted, receiving substantial damage to the airframe. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The private pilot received minor injuries. The flight originated from Okeechobee County Airport (OBE), Okeechobee, Florida, at 1020.

The pilot stated he was on climbout at less than 1,250 feet mean sea level, at full power, when he heard a grinding noise followed by a total loss of engine power. He observed a pasture straight ahead, headed for it, and made a "MAYDAY" call over the airplane radio. He did not deploy the ballistic parachute because he was too low and homes were in the area. He flared the airplane; it touched down hard in the soft sandy soil, bounced, and touched down again. The main landing gear sank in the sand, and the airplane nosed over inverted.

Examination of the crash site revealed the airplane collided with the ground on the main landing gear, bounced back in the air, collided with the ground and went forward about 50 feet before it nosed over and came to rest on a heading of 250 degrees magnetic.

The engine assembly remained attached to the airframe and the engine cowling was intact. The spinner exhibited no evidence of rotation. All three propeller blades remained attached to the propeller crankshaft flange. One propeller blade was damaged. The nose wheel was bent aft.

The forward cabin area was damaged. The throttle was in the closed position and the carburetor heat was in the off position. The fuel selector valve was in the off position. Continuity of the flight controls was confirmed from the flight controls aft to all flight control surfaces. The aircraft registration and the special airworthiness certificate were located in the airplane. The left and right landing gear were attached to the airframe.

Both wings remained attached to the airframe and were not damaged. Neither fuel tank was ruptured; the fuel caps had a tight seal. The fuel vent stand pipes were bent. Browning of vegetation was not present on the ground. The right flap and right aileron were not damaged and remained attached to their attachment points.

The empennage aft of the pilot’s compartment was not damaged. The rudder, left and right horizontal stabilizers, and elevators were not damaged. The top of the vertical fin was damaged. The right elevator trim tab was in the neutral position.

The airplane was recovered to a repair facility for further examination and an engine run. Approximately 11 gallons of fuel was removed from the fuel tanks. The oil filter and fuel gascolator were examined and no contamination was present. A replacement oil filter and the gascolator were reinstalled. The engine assembly was secured in a modified stand for an engine run. The engine was started, and ran at idle power before being advanced to 2,500 rpm. The power was increased to 4,000 rpm, and no anomalies were noted. The engine power was reduced to idle power, and the engine was shut down.

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