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Wed, Feb 28, 2024

NTSB Prelim: Cessna 150

Engine Continued To Produce Some Power Until They Were About 50 Feet Above The Road, “And It Just Quit”

Location: Parkland, FL Accident Number: ERA24LA105
Date & Time: February 5, 2024, 15:35 Local Registration: N3747J
Aircraft: Cessna 150 Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On February 4, 2024, about 1535 eastern standard time, a Cessna 150G, N3747J was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident in Parkland, Florida. The pilot and pilot rated passenger were not injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The flight had departed Pompano Beach Airpark (PMP), Pompano Beach, Florida, and was destined for Airglades Airport (2IS), Clewiston, Florida. According to the pilot, after topping off the fuel, getting a weather briefing, conducting a preflight inspection, and doing a run-up, he and the pilot rated passenger did a safety review making it clear if an emergency were to occur, he would fly the airplane and she would do the checklists. After departure from PMP, they had climbed up to 2,000 feet above mean sea level, and when the pilot leveled off, he immediately recognized that the engine rpm was not increasing as he had anticipated. They had just started flying over the Everglades when this occurred. The tachometer was only indicating 2,100 rpm and he was expecting 2,400 to 2,500 rpm.

The pilot then did a quick check of configuration and settings, and immediately determined something was not right. The engine was still running smoothly, and he stated to the pilot rated passenger that they were going to go back to PMP. He then made a 180-degree turn, and they were maintaining altitude momentarily, before the engine began to shake. There was no immediate indication of the engine “expiring” when they made the turn and started back to PMP. The engine rpm then began to decrease, and the engine started to run very rough. The pilot reduced power to see if he could reduce the shaking and then radioed air traffic control and declared an emergency. At this time, the pilot rated passenger was getting the emergency checklist out as the airplane was obviously coming down. The pilot had identified a landing area (a road) and flew directly there when the loss of power and shaking began. As they approached the road for landing, he managed the airspeed and wing flaps to assure they would be able to clear a traffic light crossbar at an intersection that was ahead of them. There were vehicles approaching head-on on their left and trees on their right, and the pilot maneuvered the airplane to land between them. They had plenty of roadway to land on, and the vehicles were far enough in front of them, that there was no problem with them.

The engine continued to produce some power until they were about 50 feet above the road, “and it just quit.” Everything looked good to the pilot until just after touchdown, when a 2-inch diameter branch caught the tip of the right wing and turned them perpendicular to the road. They “whipped to the right in what seemed a blink of an eye we were stopped.” Review of video taken by a witness confirmed that the engine was running rough prior to touchdown.

Examination of the airplane revealed that during the impact sequence it had incurred substantial damage. The propeller and engine cowling were damaged, and the left wing sustained damage to the wingtip, and the outboard leading edge of the wing, and displayed buckling near the wing root. The right wing sustained damage to the wingtip, the outer leading edge, and the wing spar, and displayed spanwise twisting and folding near the wing root. 

Examination of the engine revealed an approximate 6-inch hole in the top of the engine case just behind the No. 2 cylinder. Further examination revealed indications of oil starvation, though the oil tank was found to contain 5 quarts of oil, and the oil pump was found to be functional.

The No. 2 connecting rod was found to be twisted, displayed thermal damage, and was found to be separated from the engine crankshaft. Multiple metallic fragments which among other things included bearing material, pieces of the No. 2 rod end cap, and pieces of the piston rings, were found in the engine and oil tank. The No. 1, No. 3, and No. 4, rod end bearings displayed evidence of extrusion of the bearing material. No metallic debris was discovered in either the engine oil screen or oil filter.

According to airplane maintenance records, the time since major overhaul of the engine had occurred about 187 hours of operation prior to the accident. The wreckage was retained for further examination.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov

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