NTSB Identification: ATL95FA159
HISTORY OF FLIGHT
On August 17, 1995, at 0945 eastern daylight time, a PZL WSK Mielec Aircraft Company M-26, N7080L, collided with the ground during an emergency landing attempt in a bean field near Jonesborough, Tennessee. The cross country business flight operated under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91 with an instrument flight plan filed. Instrument meterological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The passenger on board the airplane was fatally injured, and the pilot received serious injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The flight departed St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport in St Petersburg, Florida, at 0545 hours.
At 0411, the pilot of N7080L telephoned St. Petersburg Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS) and requested the forecast weather conditions for Tri-City Airport in Bristol, Tennessee. The pilot also requested winds aloft for 6,000 and 9,000 feet. After the weather briefing, the pilot filed an instrument flight plan to Tri-City Airport. At 0540, the pilot of N7080L radioed St. Petersburg AFSS and requested an instrument flight clearance to Tri-City Airport.
At 0937, Tri-City Approach issued the flight radar vectors for an ILS Approach to runway 23. The pilot acknowledged the vector information, and asked the controller if any delays were anticipated for the approach. The pilot also advised the controller that the low fuel light was on. At 0938, the pilot declared a "mayday" and reported that he had an engine failure. According to the controller, the flight was 17 miles south of Tri-City airport when the pilot reported the engine failure. The controller informed the pilot of an airport 11 miles north for an emergency landing. At 0940, the controller advised the pilot of another airstrip three miles north of his position; the pilot was issued vectors to the sod airstrip.
At 0941, the pilot told the controller that he had visual contact with the ground. The controller advised the pilot to turn south and the airstrip was one mile off his nose. The pilot did not acknowledge seeing the airstrip, but selected a large field for the emergency landing. As the flight approached touchdown, the front seat passenger yelled "fence". While looking forward for the fence, the pilot "felt the nose pitch up and the stick was abruptly jerked backwards". The aircraft collided with the ground a mile short of the private airstrip.
According to the pilot, "had the passenger not interfered with the flight controls, I would have successfully completed the landing without damage to the aircraft or injury to its occupants".
Information on the pilot is included in this report at the data field labeled pilot information.
Information on the airplane is contained in this report at the data field labeled "Aircraft Information". N7080L was a Polish built experimental category airplane. According to Federal Aviation Administration airworthiness records, Experimental Operating Limitations were issued for N7080L on March 1, 1995 and expired on March 1, 1996. The exhibition operation limitations were issued for flight originating from Smithfield , North Carolina (see attached Experimental Operating Limitations).
Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. Weather information is contained in this report at the data field labeled "Weather Information".
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane rested in the open bean field on a 320 degree magnetic heading. Wreckage debris was scattered over an area 40 feet wide and 75 feet long. Several pieces from the three bladed wood propeller assembly were embedded in the freshly displaced dirt west of the main wreckage. The outboard left wing assembly was deflected aft about 45 degrees, and the entire assembly tore away from the fuselage at the root. The right wing assembly remained attached at the root, and was not deflected from the normally installed position.
An examination of the airframe failed to disclose a system malfunction or a component failure. During the functional examination of the engine, the engine suddenly quit after operating at 2200 rpm for one minute. An examination of the engine disclosed that the number two cylinder injector nozzle was plugged. The examination also discovered evidence of a rich fuel air mixture. After replacing the plugged nozzle, the engine operated normally up to 2661 rpm (see attached engine run). During the functional engine run, the engine produced rated power, and normal fuel flow. A review of the production manual engine test log revealed that before number 2 injector nozzle was replaced, the fuel consumption rate was 143 pounds per hour (pph) at 2200 rpm. After the nozzle replaced, the engine fuel consumption was 107 pph at 2220 engine rpm. A few ounces of fuel were recovered from the entire fuel system, during the airframe examination.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
No Medical or pathological information was obtained.
According to the pilot, the flight departed with 6.5 hours of fuel; approximately four hours into the flight, the engine quit. A review of the engine operator's manual, disclosed that engine operation between 2350 rpm and 2700 rpm will consume between 12.8 and 24 gallons of fuel per hour (see attached Lycoming engine operator's Manual). The airplane was equipped with the normal fuel system guages. The airplane departed St. Petersburg, with 94 gallons of usable fuel onboard.
The aircraft wreckage was released to Mr. George Lundy, Melex USA Inc., 1221 Front Street, Raleigh, North Carolina.