Piper PA-25-235, N7313Z: Accident occurred July 23, 2012 in Westerly, Rhode Island

http://registry.faa.gov/N7313Z

NTSB Identification: ERA12LA474
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, July 23, 2012 in Westerly, RI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/29/2013
Aircraft: PIPER PA-25-235, registration: N7313Z
Injuries: 1 Minor.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

About 12 minutes into a local banner towing flight, while flying 650 feet above the ocean, the airplane’s engine began running roughly. The pilot responded by increasing the throttle to full, richening the mixture, and applying carburetor heat, all to no avail. Shortly thereafter, the engine lost power completely, so the pilot performed a forced landing to the ocean and was later rescued by civilian boaters. The airplane was recovered from the ocean more than 1 week after the accident. The pilot/operator was able to perform a cursory inspection of the engine at the time, but no definitive cause for the loss of power was identified. Due to the salt water-damaged state of the engine, no further detailed examination could be completed. At the time of the accident, the engine had accumulated nearly 2,300 hours since its most recent overhaul and 150 hours since its most recent annual inspection. Weather conditions at an airport 6 miles from the accident location were conducive to the formation of serious carburetor ice at glide power settings.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
A total loss of engine power for reasons that could not be determined due to the postaccident salt water-damaged state of the engine.

On July 23, 2012, at 1502 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-25, N7313Z, registered to and operated by Simmons Aviation, was substantially damaged following a forced landing into the Atlantic Ocean, near Westerly, Rhode Island. The certificated airline transport certificated pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the local flight, which originated from Westerly State Airport (WST), Westerly, Rhode Island, about 1445. The banner tow flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The pilot stated that he departed with 25 gallons of fuel for a 45-minute flight, and had not taken on any fuel that day. About 12 minutes into the flight, and while flying at an altitude of about 600 feet, the engine began running “roughly” and sounded as though it misfired. After about 20 seconds, the pilot responded by increasing engine power to full, richening the mixture, and applying carburetor heat. Shortly after, the engine experienced a total loss of power. The pilot subsequently ditched the airplane into the ocean with the banner still attached, approximately 6 miles from shore. The pilot transmitted a distress call, and was later rescued by a civilian boat.

The airplane was recovered from the ocean on July 31, 2012. The pilot performed a cursory examination of the engine and noted that the crankshaft was free to rotate, and oil was present within the engine case. The pilot reported that there was an unspecified “problem” with a valve of the number 4 cylinder, and that he was unable to check operation of the magnetos since they were saturated with water. An unspecified quantity of fuel was found in a fuel tank. Due to the extent of damage related to immersion in salt water, no further examination of the engine was possible.

The pilot had most recently purchased fuel from a fixed base operator at WST. The fuel facility there was inspected at the direction of a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector following the accident. No abnormalities were noted during the inspection.

The accident airplane was manufactured in 1965 and was equipped with a Lycoming O-540-B4B5 engine. Review of maintenance records showed that the airplane’s most recent annual inspection was completed on August 7, 2011. At that time, the airframe had accumulated 4,720 total flight hours, and the engine had accumulated 2,147 hours since the most recent overhaul. The airplane had accumulated an additional 150 flight hours since that time.

The pilot held an airline transport pilot certificate with numerous ratings, including airplane single engine land. His most recent FAA second class medical certificate was issued in June 2012, and he reported that he possessed 9,175 total hours of flight experience, 1,500 hours of which were in the accident airplane make and model.

The weather reported at WST, at 1500, included winds from 210 degrees magnetic at 9 knots, 10 statute miles visibility, a broken ceiling at 1,600 feet, temperature 26 degrees Celsius (C), dew point 21 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 29.98 inches of mercury. The temperature and dew point conditions at that time were conducive to the formation of serious carburetor icing at glide power settings.

NTSB Identification: ERA12LA474
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, July 23, 2012 in Westerly, RI
Aircraft: PIPER PA-25-235, registration: N7313Z
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On July 23, 2012, about 1500 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-25, N7313Z, registered to and operated by Simmons Aviation, was presumed substantially damaged following a forced landing into the Atlantic Ocean, near Westerly, Rhode Island. The certificated airline transport certificated pilot was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the local flight, which originated from Westerly State Airport (WST), Westerly, Rhode Island, about 1445. The banner tow flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The pilot stated that he departed with 25 gallons of fuel, for a 45 minute flight, and had not taken on any fuel that day. About 12 minutes into the flight, the engine began running “roughly”, and then it sounded as though the engine misfired before it lost power completely. The pilot subsequently ditched the airplane approximately 6 miles from shore. The pilot transmitted a distress call, and was later rescued by a civilian boat. The airplane was last seen floating east, and to date has not been recovered.

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Read more:    http://www.theday.com

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Pilot, Block Island Sound Crash
Credit: NBC 10 News
A pilot (in the orange shirt) whose plane ditched in Block Island Sound on Monday, July 23, 2012, leaves the U.S. Coast Guard Station Point Judith.

 

 NARRAGANSETT, R.I. –  A pilot whose plane experienced engine trouble and ditched in Block Island Sound on Monday was rescued from the water.

The pilot was picked up by a private boat at about 4 p.m.  A Coast Guard boat transferred the pilot to Point Judith.

The pilot walked out of the Coast Guard station, got into a truck and drove away about an hour later.  He told NBC 10 News that he was OK.

Two men came out of the station carrying two airplane wheels.

The single-seat plane, which was pulling a banner with a marriage proposal, went down in the water between Watch Hill and Block Island.  It had taken off from Westerly Airport at about 3 p.m.

Several mayday calls were made before the plane went down. The pilot reported engine trouble.

The plane’s tail number is registered to Simmons Aviation of Pawcatuck, Conn.

The pilot’s name and hometown were not immediately available.

Story, photo and video:    http://www2.turnto10.com
Pilot rescued with help from 8-year-old son

A Good Samaritan boater and the pilot’s 8-year-old son took part in rescuing a pilot whose plane went down in Block Island Sound Monday afternoon.

Lt. Bryan Swintek, a Coast Guard Spokesman at Sector Southeastern New England at Woods Hole, Mass., said the Coast Guard took a call from New England Air Control at about 3:21 p.m., reporting that they had overheard a radio transmission between a pilot and a young child who was later identified as the pilot’s son.

Swintek said the pilot was reporting he was in distress.

Swintek said the pilot was heard to tell his son. “I’m going down.”

New England Air Control was able to provide a probable flight path of the craft.

The Coast Guard was able to contact the boy whose name they did not release. The son was able to report that his dad had put out the distress call about two minutes after takeoff, which helped the Coast Guard’s search.

Swintek said an “urgent marine information broadcast” was put out on the universal marine radio channel 16.

Boats from Coast Guard stations at Castle Hill, Point Judith and Block Island were deployed for the search, along with a helicopter from Cape Cod. He said first responders from area towns were also alerted.

“We basically sent everyone in the area,” he said. “We didn’t have a good location.”

He said a civilian boater rescued the plot from the water about 3 miles south of Ninigret Pond in Charlestown, R.I.

The pilot was then brought aboard a Coast Guard vessel and taken to Point Judith for medical evaluation.

“He was alert and oriented when they got him,” Swintek said. “He was speaking and did not appear to have any serious injuries, but he is going to Point Judith for further evaluation.”

Swintek credited the son with being a big help in the mission.

“He was incredibly calm,” Swintek said. “He played a key role in helping his dad.”

Swintek said the aircraft had not yet been located or recovered.

“We’re now making the transition from a search-and-rescue mission to a pollution and debris response,” he said.
Source:    http://www.theday.com

Report: Plane carrying proposal sign crashes

Went down in the waters off Westerly

Coast Guard crews were called to the waters off Westerly Monday afternoon after reports of a small plane crash.

USCG Lt. Bryan Swintek told Eyewitness News the plane had just gotten airborne and the pilot was believed to be talking to his 8-year-old son over the radio when he broadcast a mayday.

The FAA confirmed the plane was carrying a “Will You Marry Me” banner when it went down into the Block Island Sound.

Swintek told Eyewitness News New England Airline heard the mayday and then notified the Coast Guard.

While boaters were put on alert to look for the plane, Coast Guard officials were able to speak to the pilot’s son to get a general idea where his father was.

Swintek said a good Samaritan aboard the boat “The Stampede” was able to pull the pilot – who was alert and conscious – from the water.

The pilot was then taken to Pt. Judith, where an ambulance from Narragansett EMS was waiting onshore.

After evaluating the the pilot, EMS advised him that he    did not need to be transported to the Hospital.

Story, photo and video:    http://www.wpri.com