ERA11LA290
ERA11LA290

On April 29, 2011, about 1840 eastern daylight time, a Grumman G-164A, N896X, nosed over during a forced landing onto an open field in Albion, New York. The certificated commercial pilot was uninjured and the airplane incurred substantial damage. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the agricultural, aerial application flight, which was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 137. The flight originated from the pilot/owner’s private property about 1600.

The responding Federal Aviation Administrator (FAA) inspector stated that the pilot informed the Orleans County Sheriff Office representative that he was on the last application for the day when the engine “failed” (stopped producing power). The pilot elected to land in a nearby dirt field. The airplane’s main wheels sunk into the soft soil as lift depleted, which caused the airplane to nose over before coming to a complete stop. The airplane’s empennage and top wing spar incurred substantial damage. The propeller would not rotate when turned by hand and no external engine damage was observed.

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with a single and multi-engine land, an instrument rating, and an airframe and powerplant mechanic’s certificate with an inspection authorization. He was issued a FAA second class medical certificate on March 3, 2011, with limitations. At that time, he reported a total of 15,000 civilian flight hours.

The airplane was powered by a Pratt & Whitney R-985-AN-14B engine. The nine-cylinder, air cooled, supercharged, radial engine was rated at 450 horsepower at 2,300 rpm.

The engine was partially disassembled by the pilot/owner. Two bearings in the collector, a section of the supercharger, were observed damaged, seized, and bearing debris were observed in the collector area. Once the collector was disconnected from the engine, the crankshaft and pistons moved freely. A review of the airplane’s engine maintenance records showed, at the time of the accident, the engine had a total of 1,131 hours since major overhaul, which was performed on September 4, 1992, at an unknown total time in service. The supercharger section was inspected and repaired on March 20, 2002, due to high engine oil consumption. The last inspection to the engine was performed on April 19, 2011, with a 1,121 hours total time since major overhaul.

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