ERA11LA399
ERA11LA399

On June 30, 2011, about 1250 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 182K, N2888R, operated by a private individual, was substantially damaged during a forced landing to Chesapeake Bay, following a total loss of engine power during initial climb from Bay Bridge Airport (W29), Stevensville, Maryland. The certificated airline transport pilot was not injured. The maintenance flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local flight.

The pilot reported that an annual inspection had just been completed on the airplane, and he planned to conduct takeoffs and landings, while remaining in the airport traffic pattern. He added 15 gallons of fuel to each wing tank. The pilot completed a preflight inspection of the airplane, and noted that the fuel samples were unremarkable. The engine run-up, and first takeoff and landing were uneventful. During the second takeoff, about 300 feet above the ground, the airplane experienced a total loss of engine power. Due to the low attitude, the pilot did not attempt to return to the airport and instead landed in a shallow saltwater creek.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, the mishap was initially thought to be an incident, and the airplane sat in the saltwater for 3 days until recovery. A subsequent cursory examination was completed to determine damage, but the engine and fuel system were not inspected. Additionally, at that time, a full damage assessment could not be made. Fourteen days after the mishap, the wing damage was determined to be substantial and the NTSB was notified.

The FAA inspector then planned to hire a mechanic to examine the engine under his oversight. The mechanic he intended to use was unavailable for 1 week, and by the time the inspector was able to schedule the mechanic, approximately 1 month had passed since the accident. Due to saltwater corrosion, the inspector subsequently elected not to perform any further examinations as the evidence was compromised. He added that the airplane had sat for approximately 1 year prior to completion of the recent annual inspection.

Subsequently, a mechanic examined the engine under direction of an insurance adjuster. The mechanic found no obvious signs of catastrophic failure. He also removed the carburetor and found fuel in the carburetor along with dirt that appeared to be from the creek where the airplane landed.

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