NTSB Identification: CEN12LA446
On July 15, 2012, about 1215 central daylight time, a SC IAR SA Brasov model IAR 825 airplane, N825BA, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a loss of engine power near Peru, Illinois. The airline transport pilot was not injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by Gazelle 175, Inc, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 without a flight plan. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight. The cross-country flight departed Clark Regional Airport (KJVY), Sellersburg, Indiana, at 1015, and had the intended destination of Illinois Valley Regional Airport (KVYS), Peru, Illinois.
The pilot reported that earlier in the day he flew the turbo-prop airplane, an experimental exhibition-category military trainer, from Johnson City Airport (0A4), Johnson City, Tennessee, to KJVY. He stated that following that flight, which he estimated was 1 hour 30 minutes in duration, the airplane was topped-off with 64 gallons of Jet-A fuel before he departed on the accident flight. He reported that after flying for about 2 hours the airplane experienced a total loss of engine power while in the traffic pattern for runway 36 at the intended destination. He made a forced landing into a nearby corn field because the airplane did not have sufficient altitude to glide to the runway. The right wing was substantially damaged during the forced landing.
The pilot reported that the fuel consumption rate during the accident flight, according to an electronic fuel-flow instrument installed in the cockpit, was approximately 36.5 gallons per hour. He stated that although a majority of the cruise segment was flown at 84-percent engine power while at 5,000 feet mean seal level, various engine power settings and altitudes were used to avoid adverse weather encountered during the flight.
The airplane's total fuel capacity was 95 gallons (89.7 gallons usable), evenly distributed between the right and left wing tanks. A postaccident examination revealed that the left wing fuel tank was void of any usable fuel. Approximately 14 gallons of fuel were recovered from the right wing fuel tank during the disassembly and recovery of the wreckage. The supply line to the engine fuel control unit was void of any fuel. Mechanical continuity was confirmed from the cockpit engine controls to their respective engine components. The fuel tank selector valve was positioned to draw fuel from both wing tanks. The engine, a Walter model M601D(8), serial number 291, started and ran uneventfully during a brief postaccident operational test run. Additional testing established that the fuel tank selector valve yielded equivalent flow rates in all positions.
A handheld global positioning system (GPS) device was found within the wreckage. Although the GPS device did not contain any track data, the device's software flight timer indicated that the last flight segment was 1 hour 47 minutes. If the accident flight duration was 1 hour 47 minutes, the resulting average fuel consumption rate was 42.5 gallons per hour. Comparably, performance data provided by the engine manufacturer indicated that an 86-percent engine power setting would result in a fuel consumption rate of 42.5 gallons per hour. The calculated average fuel consumption rate for the previous flight, from 0A4 to KJVY, was 42.7 gallons per hour. If the accident flight duration was 2 hours, as estimated by the pilot, the calculated average fuel consumption rate was 37.9 gallons per hour.
At 1215 cdt, the airport's automatic weather observing station reported the following weather conditions: wind from 330 degrees at 4 knots, visibility 10 miles, sky clear, temperature 28 degrees Celsius, dew point 21 degrees Celsius, altimeter 30.08 inches of mercury.