ERA11LA139
ERA11LA139

On February 10, 2011, at 1140 eastern standard time, a Cessna, 182P, N25HD, owned and operated by an individual, impacted a tree during a force landing near the Lincoln Park Airport (N07), Lincoln Park, New Jersey. The pilot received serious injuries and the airplane incurred substantial damage. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight, operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The flight departed from the Morristown Municipal Airport (MMU), Morristown, New Jersey, earlier that day, about 1115.

The pilot stated that he arrived at MMU about 0945 and started the preflight inspection. He started with preheating the engine compartment. He noted a total of 38.8 gallons of fuel in the tanks as indicated on the engine digital monitor, (a JPI, EDM-750); which agreed with the airplane’s fuel gauges. He visually checked the fuel levels in the tanks; confirming the JPI and the fuel gauges. Before sumping the fuel tanks he gently rocked the wings to dislodge any contamination that may be present. The left wing fuel tank’s sump valve seemed stiff and was not easy to sump. The right wing was unremarkable. Sixteen ounces of clear blue 100 low lead aviation fuel with no contaminants was drained from the gascolator. He sump the left wing again and observed 16 ounces of blue 100 low lead aviation fuel with 2 to 3 drops of water. He completed the preflight and removed the heater. The start up, taxi, and ground run up went unremarkable.

After takeoff, the climb was continued to 1,000 feet at full throttle and power was then adjusted to 23 inches of manifold pressure with 2300 rpm thereafter; leveling the airplane at 1,800 feet. During the cruise to N07, he monitored the carburetor heat gauge and adjusted as required. Nearing N07, he started to descend to pattern altitude of 1,200 feet, and entered the downwind for runway 01, on a 45 degrees entry. On the downwind he throttled back and adjusted the descent to an airspeed of 90 mph, lowering the flaps to 10 degrees. He throttled back more to maintain the descent and applied full carburetor heat.

Once abeam from the runway, he attempted to add power to slow the descent and noted no response from the engine. He pumped the throttle twice with no response and immediately established a best glide of 80 mph; pumping the throttle and ensuring the carburetor heat was on (pulled out). He retracted the flaps and moved the fuel selector to the right wing fuel tank. He started the base leg and continued toward the runway. He pulled the engine fuel primer out and gave it a pump, the engine momentary went to full power and died. He turned toward the runway, and pumped the primer one more time. The engine went to full power and turned off; he tried it a third time, to no avail. He realized the airplane was not going to reach the runway and elected to turn east toward a tree line. He flew the airplane into a tree to avoid hitting a building.

The closest official weather observation was at Essex County Airport (CDW), Caldwell, New Jersey, about 4 miles south of the accident site. The CDW 1053 METAR, was winds 320 degrees at 7 knots; visibility 9 statute miles; clear skies; temperature minus 5 degrees Celsius (C); dew point minus 16 degrees C; altimeter 29.85 inches of mercury.

The pilot, seated in the left seat, held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land, sea, and instrument airplane. He was issued a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third-class medical certificate on April 17, 2009, with limitations, and reported he had a total of 1,177 hours at the time of the accident.

The Cessna 182 P, a four place all metal, high wing, single-engine airplane, variable-pitch propeller, with fix landing gear, serial number 18261595, was manufactured in 1972, and issued a standard airworthiness certificate, in the normal category. The airplane was powered by a Continental O-470-R, 230-horsepower engine, with a Hartzell three bladed propeller. The airplane was equipped with a fuel bladder tank system in each wing. The last engine inspection was performed on January 19, 2011, at which the engine had a total of 1,076 hours since major overhauled. The airplane’s last inspection was January 19, 2011 and the airplane had a total of 2, 249.1 hours at that time. The airplane was on an annual / 100 hours maintenance schedule.

According to the responding FAA inspector the airplane impacted a tree, about a 1/4 mile short of the approach end of runway 01at N07 adjacent to a parking lot. Damage to the airplane was consistent with the airplane in a nose below the horizon and right wing low attitude at time of impact. The top wing section across the fuselage separated exposing the cabin area. Forward and aft windshields were shattered. The left wing remained wrapped around the tree. The right wing’s outboard leading edge was crushed. The fuselage came to rest on its right side. The empennage came to rest over the right wing bent down (toward the right). The engine and cowlings separated from the firewall. The propeller remained attached to the engine. Two of the three blades were bent aft and all three blades were observed in a low pitch angle.

A wreckage examination was conducted by the airplane manufacturer with FAA oversight. The fuel selector valve was observed in the right wing fuel tank position. No water was observed in the fuel that remained in the right tank and the left wing fuel tank was breached. Evidence of ice and water was observed in the gascolator fuel bowl shortly after the accident. The carburetor heat control was pulled to the “ON” position, and the primer was fully extended. The propeller blades did not display signature damage consistent with engine power at impact. The examination did not reveal any mechanical discrepancies that would have prevented normal operation of the airplane and its systems. The engine and an engine monitoring system unit, the JPI, were retained for further examination.

An engine test run was performed at the engine’s manufacturer facility with National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) oversight. The engine started without hesitation. Throughout the test phase, the engine accelerated normally without any hesitation, stumbling or interruption in power, and demonstrated the ability to produce rated horsepower.

The data retrieved from the JPI unit at the NTSB recorders laboratory showed that the accident flight appears normal until about the last 25 seconds when the fuel flow dropped to zero along with the exhaust gas temperature (EGT) on all cylinders dropping sharply. There weren’t any discrepancies in any of the 6 cylinders during the recorded flight. At the last few seconds of data recording, the engine’s fuel flow starts up and the EGT also starts to rise; the data stopped at that moment. The data is recorded every 6 seconds and last data point was at 11:49:45 JPI time; which the time is settable by the operator.

Airworthiness Directive (AD) 84-10-0, was performed to the airplane on June 1, 1985, at a total airframe time of 1,027 hours. The AD was established to prevent power loss or engine stoppage due to water contamination of the fuel system.

The pilot stated that the airplane was washed inside a hanger about a week prior to the accident flight and did not fly since the wash.

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