On July 6, 2010, about 1830 eastern daylight time, a Beech F33A, N350NW, was substantially damaged during a forced landing to a lake following a loss of engine power while in the traffic pattern at Lake Norman Airpark (14A), Mooresville, North Carolina. The certificated private pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight, which originated from Piedmont Triad International Airport (GSO), Greensboro, North Carolina, about 1800. The flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
During a telephone interview, the pilot stated that the airplane was being brokered for sale, and had not flown for an extended period. He elected to fly the airplane to his home located near 14A in order to "exercise" it. During the prefight inspection, the pilot noted that all of the fuel tanks contained fuel, and that he "sumped" the main fuel tanks several times to verify that the trace amount of water and contaminants, he observed in the first sample, were removed. The pilot attempted to start the engine but discovered the battery voltage was too low due to the airplane's extended period of inactivity. It was subsequently started with assistance from an external power supply. During the engine run-up, prior to takeoff, the pilot reported that there were indications of "fouled [spark] plugs which did clean up after [the] leaning procedures." He did not note any other abnormalities with the airplane before takeoff.
After departing from GSO, the pilot climbed the airplane to the planned cruise altitude of 6,500 feet mean sea level. During the descent, the pilot reviewed the supplemental before landing checklist, and maneuvered the airplane to enter the traffic pattern. During the downwind to base turn, about 500 feet above ground level, the pilot began the final checklist for landing and activated the fuel boost pump. Immediately after the fuel pump activated, the engine began to "sputter" and lose power. The pilot quickly turned off the fuel boost pump and performed the emergency procedures checklist to restart the engine. He elected to land in Lake Norman and attempted to restart the engine several times before impacting the water.
A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector examined the airplane after it was recovered from the lake. The airplane exhibited substantial damage along the right side of the fuselage and the left wing tip fuel tank. The fuselage was buckled aft of the right cabin door and the left wing fuel tip tank was dented along the aft outboard section of the tank.
According to FAA records, the airplane was manufactured in 1977, and most recently registered to in 2003. It was equipped with a 350-horsepower, Lycoming TIO-540 series engine, which was installed under the provisions of a supplemental type certificate. It was a four-place, all-metal, low-wing, single-engine, monoplane with retractable tricycle landing gear. According to the pilot, the airplane had accumulated approximately 2,740 hours of total time in service as of last annual inspection, which was performed on November 17, 2009.
The FAA inspector examined the engine in Clayton, Georgia on July 29, 2010. The engine crankshaft was rotated by hand at the propeller and continuity of the crankshaft and valvetrain to the accessory section of the engine was confirmed. Thumb compression was confirmed on all cylinders. The spark plugs were removed and exhibited normal wear. Examination of the magnetos revealed water in the housing, and rotation of the magneto failed to produce spark. The water was drained, but neither produced any spark. The turbo charger moved freely with no blockage or oil contamination noted. The inspector attempted to initiate a test run of the engine, but was unsuccessful.
The pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, multiengine land, and instrument airplane. His most recent FAA second class medical certificate was issued on May 26, 2009. The pilot reported 3,757 total hours of flight experience, of which, 25 hours were in the accident airplane make and model.
The 1952 recorded weather at Statesville Regional Airport, located about 9 miles north of the accident location, included calm winds, scattered clouds at 9,000 feet, 10 miles visibility, temperature 31 degrees C, dewpoint 14 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.10 inches of mercury.