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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 238465
Last updated: 30 November 2021
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Time:c. 21:30
Type:Silhouette image of generic C182 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Cessna 182A Skylane
Owner/operator:G3 Productions LLC
Registration: N4092D
MSN: 34792
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:Exeter Township, PA -   United States of America
Phase: Landing
Departure airport:Portsmouth International Airport at Pease, NH (PSM/KPSM)
Destination airport:Lancaster Airport, PA (LNS/KLNS)
Investigating agency: NTSB
On July 20, 2020, about 2129 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 182A, N4092D, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Pottstown, Pennsylvania. The pilot, pilot-rated passenger, and passenger were not injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to the pilot, during the flight the pilot-rated passenger was being "checked out" and when the accident occurred, was only working the radios, and communicating with ATC.

Earlier on the day of the accident, the pilot and pilot rated passenger had departed Smoketown Airport (N37), Smoketown, Pennsylvania then flew to Brandywine Regional Airport (OQN), West Chester, Pennsylvania to pick up a passenger. While there, they purchased 7.8 gallons of 100 LL aviation gasoline (fuel). After adding the fuel to the airplane, they boarded the passenger and departed for Portsmouth International Airport at Pease (PSM), Portsmouth, New Hampshire. After arriving at PSM, they purchased another 20 gallons of fuel.

On July 21, 2020, during an interview with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors, the pilot advised that they had departed PSM with 55 gallons of fuel and while flying direct to N37, began to experience a gradual, continuous loss of engine power, accompanied by a drop in manifold pressure and engine rpm. When they were 22.1 miles from N37, the pilot richened the mixture thinking he had excessively leaned it, and applied carburetor heat to ensure there was no accumulation of carburetor ice, yet the power loss continued. He then declared an inflight emergency, descended from 4,500 feet msl to 3,700 feet msl in one minute, and determined he would not be able to make any of the surrounding airports, so decided to land on U.S. Route 422 (Benjamin Franklin Highway). He stated the engine would only achieve 1,200 rpm at touchdown. When asked how long the "gradual" power loss happened, he stated it began 5-10 minutes before touchdown. When asked if there were any accompanying gauge anomalies, he stated none. When asked about fuel quantity indication, he stated it was normal.

On July 24, 2020, during a telephone conversation with an NTSB investigator (contrary to what he advised the FAA) the pilot advised that when they were at 4,500 feet and approaching the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania area, the engine began to "sputter". The power had been set at 22" of manifold pressure and 2,300 rpm, then it "spiked" to 2,600 rpm, and then dropped back down to 2,300 rpm. He tried to "troubleshoot" using the mixture control, but the rpm and manifold pressure continued dropping. Applying carburetor heat had no effect. When this occurred, the pilot-rated passenger declared an emergency with air traffic control.

An NTSB Form 6120.1 Pilot/Operator Incident Accident Report dated July 27, 2020, was provided to the NTSB by the pilot. In the report, the pilot stated (conflicting with what he advised during the telephone conversation with the NTSB) that while enroute, around 2120, the aircraft lost power to the engine. The rpm indicated between 1200 to 1400 rpm, while the manifold pressure was between 12 and 13 inches. An emergency was declared with Harrisburg approach and an emergency checklist was implemented to troubleshoot the loss of power. With no power, he was forced to make an emergency landing on Route 422 due to it being the best illuminated. Additionally, he stated that "We believe this could've been prevented with better maintenance of the aircraft. Loss of power cause is yet to be determined."

Examination of the accident site by the Exeter Township Police Department, revealed that the airplane had touched down traveling westbound on U.S. Route 422. During the landing rollout, the airplane struck the right rear side of one automobile, and the left rear fender of another automobile. Neither driver was injured. The airplane came to rest in the left lane just prior to the intersection of Daniel Boone Road, with both wings blocking all lanes of traffic. No fuel from the airplane was observed on the roadway, and the airplane displayed damage on its left side.

After the owner was given permission by the NTSB to remove the airplane from the roadway, the wings were removed for transport, and the airplane was transported to N37, where the wreckage was examined by an FAA inspector. Since the wings had been removed to transport the airplane, the inspector could not check the remaining fuel quantity. However, the chief pilot of Skydive Lancaster, which used the airplane for its skydiving (parachuting) operation, advised the FAA that when he was on-scene during the wing removal, that 5 to 6 total gallons of fuel was removed from the left wing fuel tank, and that the right wing fuel tank was empty. The FAA inspector also received a statement from the mechanic who had removed the wings for transport, where he stated that he estimated 4 to 5 gallons were removed from the left wing, and the right tank was dry. A visual examination of both wings by the FAA inspector, also revealed the left wing fuel tank feed hose displayed dampness, and there was visible staining consistent with the blue dye used in 100LL aviation gasoline around the area where the wing was de-mated for transport. The right wing hose however was dry, and no staining was present.

Further examination revealed visible wing damage primarily to both outboard leading edges and tip caps, with minor denting of the leading edge farther inboard. Damage was also noted on the left horizontal stabilizer leading edge; however, no wing or stabilizer spars were visibly damaged. No primary flight controls appeared to be damaged. Substantial damage to the fuselage structure was discovered surrounding the left cabin door and main landing gear box area, with deformed skin from the left side of the wing carry-through around the bottom of the fuselage to the right main landing gear box area. This included deformation of the left side cabin floor and supporting structure. The left cabin door, which was separated from the fuselage also displayed, a broken lower hinge, and deformation of the aft lower corner which was indicative of the fuselage having deformation in that area. During the examination, it was also discovered that during the recovery, the fuselage attachment for the left wing strut had been cut due to the bolt not being able to be removed. Examination of the wing end attachment bolt threads indicated that they had gouged the fitting during removal, which was suggestive of it having to be removed under strain.

Due to the wings being previously removed, the fuel selector was in the "BOTH OFF" position. The fuel strainer was clean, full of fuel and contained no water. The fuel was consistent with 100LL aviation gasoline. The oil filter was removed, cut open, and inspected for metallic particles with none noted. The oil level was at the correct level and no discrepancies were noted with the oil's condition. The air filter was removed and found to be serviceable, and the carburetor throat was clear of obstructions. The throttle, mixture, and carburetor heat controls were checked for continuity with no discrepancies noted. The spark plugs were removed and both magnetos checked for operation with no discrepancies noted. A thumb compression check of all 6 cylinders was accomplished and all cylinders appear to have good compression. A 1-quart can was obtained and attached to the right wing fuel pick-up so the engine could be run. Two engine runs were then performed. During the second engine run, the rpm was increased to more than 2,400 rpm, and no anomalies were noted. All indications were found to be normal.

A review of the airplane, engine, and propeller logbooks revealed no maintenance issues, and all inspections were up-to-date.

Review of the Cessna 182A Owner's Manual indicated that fuel was supplied to the engine from two rubberized bladder type fuel cells (fuel tanks). Unlike newer designs, each fuel cell, had a single fuel line located in the aft inboard section of the fuel cell. Fuel would flow via gravity from each of these fuel lines through the fuel selector valve, and fuel strainer, to the carburetor. The manual stated that that there were 1.5 gallons of unusable fuel per fuel tank (3 gallons) and that, when not in level flight, there was an additional 3.5 gallons of unusable fuel per fuel tank (10 gallons).

On July 28, 2020, a written statement provided to the NTSB by the chief pilot revealed that when he talked with the pilot after the accident, the pilot informed him that they had requested 10 gallons of fuel per side in PSM. When the chief pilot asked him if they dipped the tanks (measured them with a fuel quantity stick), the pilot told him that he did not remember. When the chief pilot asked him how much fuel he had when he left PSM, he gave him estimates based on the fuel used on the installed engine data monitor. When the chief pilot asked him why he didn't top off the tanks he began to tell him how expensive fuel was in PSM, but moments later told him he made the wrong decision and should have topped the tanks.

The airplane's engine data monitor was retained by the NTSB for download.



Revision history:

21-Jul-2020 21:36 Geno Added
21-Jul-2020 21:46 Geno Updated [Source, Damage, Narrative]
11-Aug-2020 20:21 Captain Adam Updated [Damage, Narrative]

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