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NTSB Final Report: Hawker Hunter

After Two Unsuccessful Attempts To Restore Engine Power, The Pilot Ejected At 3,000 Ft Mean Sea Level

Location: Wilmington, North Carolina Accident Number: ERA22LA277
Date & Time: June 20, 2022, 15:50 Local Registration: N337AX
Aircraft: Hawker Hunter Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Powerplant sys/comp malf/fail Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Public aircraft

Analysis: The vintage military jet was being operated under an experimental certificate. The airplane experienced a partial loss of engine power over an ocean at flight level 240. Specifically, the engine rpm reduced and stabilized to about 5,000. The pilot knew that 6,800 to 7,200 rpm would be required to maintain altitude and return to an airport. After two unsuccessful attempts to restore engine power, the pilot ejected at 3,000 ft mean sea level. 

The fuel system was examined at a maintenance facility after the wreckage was recovered from the ocean. The examination revealed that a bearing failed in the high-pressure fuel pump governor, which prevented pump output pressure from increasing above 850 pounds per square inch (psi); the operating range limit was between 1,900 to 2,200 psi.

Probable Cause and Findings--The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: A bearing failure in the high-pressure fuel pump, which resulted in a partial loss of engine power.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov

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