On March 19, 2011, about 1515 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-18A “150”, N9692D, registered to and operated by Van Wagner Aerial Media LLC, was landed hard during a forced landing, following a reported total loss of engine power, at North Perry Airport, Hollywood, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 banner tow flight. The airplane sustained substantial damage and the commercial pilot, who was the sole occupant, was not injured. The flight originated about 1 hour 20 minutes earlier from North Perry Airport. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The pilot stated that after departure he flew a banner for the prescribed time and proceeded to return to North Perry Airport where he intended to drop the first banner and pick up a second banner. About 1 mile before arrival at the airport, he moved the fuel selector to the left tank position and placed the mixture control to the full rich. After dropping the first banner he remained in the banner traffic pattern and deployed a hook for the second banner. He turned base and final then descended in order for the hook to catch the banner tow rope suspended between poles. He slowly added full power and rotated to begin to climb but the engine, which powered up some, “completely shut off”, with no sputtering noted. At that time the airplane was between 50 and 100 feet above ground level. He immediately applied forward elevator control input and verified that the mixture was full rich and the fuel selector was on the left tank. Prior to touchdown, he applied aft elevator control input but there was no response and the airplane landed hard.
Personnel from the operator arrived immediately after the crash and secured the airplane which included moving the fuel selector from the left to off position, and moving both magneto switches from on to off positions. The battery was placed from the on to off position, and the throttle control which was in the full forward position was moved to the idle or throttle closed position. The mixture control which was leaned out slightly was moved to the idle cut-off position, and the carburetor heat which was extended approximately 1/2 inch, was pulled out to 3/4 inch extension. With the fuel selector in the off position, the fuel strainer was checked and only drips of fuel were noted. The fuel selector was placed in the left and right positions and fuel flowed normal.
A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airworthiness inspector reported the airplane impacted the ground west of runway 18R, slide 23 feet, nosed up striking the propeller, then came to rest upright. Both wings and fuselage sustained substantial damage. An adequate quantity of fuel was noted in the left, and two right fuel tanks. No fuel leakage was noted at the accident site. During recovery of the airplane fuel leakage was noted from the right fuel vent.
Following recovery of the airplane, with FAA oversight, fuel was noted in the carburetor bowl. Throttle control cable continuity was confirmed from the cockpit to the carburetor. With the engine installed in the airframe, a replacement propeller was installed, and the engine was started and operated to 1,500 rpm. During the engine run, the fuel selector was moved to the left and right positions with no engine discrepancies noted.
A surface observation weather report taken at the accident airport at 1453, or approximately 22 minutes before the accident, indicates in part that the temperature and dew point were 26 and 14 degrees Celsius, respectively.
Federal Aviation Administration Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin (SAIB) CE-09-35, dated June 30, 2009, related to carburetor icing prevention, indicates that based on the temperature and dew point readings about the time of the accident, the conditions were favorable for serious icing at glide power.