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On June 27, 2011, about 1735 central daylight time, a Cessna 182, N759ZS, experienced a total loss of engine power after takeoff from the Holly Springs-Marshall County Airport (M41), Holly Springs, Mississippi. The pilot subsequently made and off airport forced landing. The certificated private pilot sustained minor injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage to the wings. The flight was operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed for the flight destined for the John Farese Airpark (MS14), Ashland, Mississippi.
According to a local mechanics statement, the airplane had undergone an annual inspection and had a Ballistic Recovery System (BRS) installed. The mechanic stated that he had informed the pilot that cockpit fuel selector valve was in the "OFF" position. The pilot acknowledged that statement and replied that he will "take care of that" when he started the airplane.
According to the pilot, he taxied the airplane to the intersection at mid-field and performed a preflight run-up and checklist. During the checklist he touched the fuel selector valve lever to verify the fuel was selected to "BOTH" tanks. He reported that the selector valve was not pointed toward either wing. The airplane departed to the south and after climbing through approximately 400 feet above ground level (agl), he began a left turn towards his intended destination, when the engine and propeller "stopped." The airplane began to bank left then right and was pointed nose down. He activated the Ballistic Recovery System and the airplane went from a vertical to a more horizontal pitch attitude, with reference to the horizon. The airplane's wings impacted several trees approximately 30 feet agl and the airplane subsequently impacted the ground. The pilot reported no preimpact mechanical malfunctions.
The pilot, age 67, held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land, multiengine land, free balloon, and instrument airplane. His most recent application for a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third-class medical certificate was issued on April 4, 2011. He reported 3,662 total hours of flight experience, of which, 186 total hours of flight experience was in the accident airplane make and model.
The airplane was manufactured in 1978 and was issued an FAA airworthiness certificate on April 25, 1978. It was equipped with a Continental Motors IO-470F engine. The airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on June 27, 2011. At the time of the inspection, the reported aircraft total time was 2,178.4 total hours and the recorded tachometer was 1,243.4 hours, the engine recorded time in service was 637.4 hours. The tachometer was located in the wreckage and indicated 1,243.6 hours.
The 1745 recorded weather observation at Olive Branch Airport (OLV), Olive Branch, Mississippi, located approximately 10 miles to the northwest of the accident location, included wind from 200 degrees at 18 knots, visibility 8 miles, temperature 32 degrees C, dew point 24 degrees C; altimeter 29.90 inches of mercury.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
According to photographs provided by an FAA inspector who responded to the accident, the airplane was found between two trees and in the upright position. The left wing was bent in the positive direction at the fuselage attach point and the leading edge exhibited impact damage. The right wing was bent in the positive direction approximately mid-span. The airplane was equipped with a Ballistic Parachute Recovery System on June 27, 2011, and the parachute deployed and remained attached. The engine and propeller appeared to have little damage. The airplane was equipped with a canard system which remained attached and exhibited no damage.
According to the maintenance facility records, the airplane was fueled with 50 gallons of 100LL on June 22, 2011 and 18.3 gallons on the day of the accident. According to the recovery company, the airplane had approximately 60 gallons of fuel on board at the time of recovery.
On July 5, 2011, a follow-on examination was conducted by the Safety Board near Holly Springs, Mississippi. During the examination the fuel selector valve was found in the "OFF" position. The airplane had been partially dismantled to facilitate transporting it to a local airport.
The airplane exhibited damage to the cockpit floor area and it was bowed in the positive direction. The cabin roof exhibited crush damage and was also damaged during transportation. The parachute was detached from the fuselage at the four attach points which are located at the leading edge wing attach point, for both wings, and at the aft baggage compartment attach points.
Flight control cable continuity was confirmed from the cockpit control column to the wing attach point where the cable had been cut, then from the cut cable end to the associated wing flap or the associated aileron. Cable continuity was confirmed from the rudder pedals to the rudder and from the control column to the elevator located on the tail and the canard located on the right and left side of the engine cowling.
Trim cable continuity was confirmed from the trim wheel, located in the cockpit, to the associated trim tab and operated normally from the associated trim wheels to the rudder and elevator. The elevator trim was slightly nose up attitude and the rudder trim was slightly nose right trim.
The airplane's engine was examined and the top spark plugs were removed, they appeared light gray in color with normal wear. The cylinders were examined using a lighted borescope and all of the cylinders except for cylinder No. 2 had normal carbon deposit buildup. The No. 2 cylinder had been replaced during the most recent annual inspection. The electrical driven fuel pump was impacted damaged at the bottom and the fuel bowl drain was impact damaged. The damaged portions were removed and fuel, recovered from the airplane, was added to the right wing fuel line. The fuel selector was turned to the "RIGHT TANK" setting. The No. 6 injector line was removed, air pressure of about 5 psi was applied to the temporary fuel tank, and fuel was observed coming out of the No. 6 injector port. The injector line was retightened and the engine was started using manual hand priming and air pressure through the temporary fuel tank. The engine started normally, operated without hesitation at idle; however, due to the security of the airplane only 1500 rpm was applied and obtained.
The BRS handle cover was removed and the handle was found extended with no noticeable anomalies noted.
The cockpit seats were examined and all of the seat belts except for the left front (pilot) seatbelt were attached and operated normally. The pilot seatbelt and shoulder harness were found unfastened. The belts were fastened and operated normally. The pilot seatbelt had slight web stretching. The seat frame was examined, no noticeable bending or deformation was noted to the seat frame or glide rollers, and it remained attached to the associated seat track. The front seatbacks remained attached to the seat pan and no deformation of the seatback was noted.
Ballistic Recovery System
The recovery system utilized a rocket deployed parachute to lower the airplane to the ground. The system comprised of an activation handle, rocket motor assembly, and an aluminum parachute canister. The aluminum parachute canister was comprised of a 2,400 square foot, round, non-steerable parachute, steel jigs, deployment bag, rear attach harness, and rocket motor lanyards; all of which was packed inside an aluminum canister and was mounted in the baggage compartment. The rocket motor assembly consisted of a rocket motor (which housed the motor case, motor aft bulkhead, propellant, and nozzle) igniter, and rocket motor base. The solid propellant rocket motor was mounted aft of the canister. The parachute was attached to the airplane's primary structure with a four-point harness assembly fabricated of woven Kevlar straps. Two of the harness straps were routed through a slot in the rear window and across the top of the cabin roof and are attached to the predetermined mounting points on each wing. The rear harness straps were stored inside the baggage area and attached to the aft cabin primary structure which had been modified with a rear attachment assembly. The rear harness assembly was comprised of two sections that were different in length. The shorter section has a mechanical release mechanism and is activated by a fused pyrotechnic reefing line cutter. It utilized a series of metal rings routed through each other. The longer section was installed folded in half and sewn together with several rows of nylon thread. As tension is applied the stitching is peeled away. The system was activated by manually pulling an activation handle that was mounted in a protective box on the floor between the pilot and copilot seat. When the system is activated, the rocket motor will penetrate the rear window and extract the parachute away from the airplane. The system is designed to control the pitch dynamics of the airplane during the deployment cycle by limiting the length of the rear harness strap until the deployment cycle was complete. After the line cutter fires, the longer section of the strap takes over and the airplane assumes its touchdown attitude of approximately ten degrees nose down in order to optimize the occupants protection. According to the Ballistic Recovery System website, approximately 300 feet of altitude may be lost during the deployment and recovery process.