On March 25, 2010, about 1533 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 120, N72560, experienced a total loss of engine power during departure, and ditched in a river adjacent to Lee Airport (ANP), Annapolis, Maryland. The certificated commercial pilot was uninjured, and the airplane was substantially damaged by salt water. The flight was operated as a ferry flight under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, and no flight plan was filed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The flight was originating at ANP at the time of the accident, and was destined for Bay Bridge Airport (W29), Stevensville, Maryland. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The pilot stated that the airplane was out of annual inspection, and the purpose of the flight was to ferry it, with an obtained ferry permit, to W29 for that inspection. The airplane had not been flown for several months prior to the flight, and the pilot had obtained a ferry permit. The pilot also noted that during the preflight inspection, he drained the fuel bowl, and "observed good fuel flow and no water." Following the engine start, the pilot observed a "good" engine run-up with a "normal" magneto drop.
The pilot further stated that during the departure from runway 30, about 300 to 400 feet, the engine started losing power. The pilot made a right crosswind turn over water to attempt a return to the runway, but the engine continued to lose power. The pilot then elected to ditch the airplane in the nearby river.
A witness reported that he observed the pilot taxiing to the active runway. During the taxi, the engine "quit". He watched as the pilot restarted the engine, and "ran it up for a moment" before continuing to the runway. As the airplane took off, the engine "quit again" and the pilot made a forced landing in an adjacent river.
Examination of the wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector, revealed that the airplane was submerged in the river for a few days. After the airplane was recovered, a cursory examination revealed that both wing fuel tanks had residual amounts of fuel and trace amounts of water. Examination of the fuel lines revealed no fuel line blockage or fuel. Valve train continuity was established on the engine, and there were no flight control anomalies noted. There were no records of the last time the airplane was refueled.