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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 44913
Last updated: 29 November 2021
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Date:16-MAR-2004
Time:09:35
Type:Silhouette image of generic M18 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
PZL-Mielec M-18A Dromader
Owner/operator:U.S. Dept. of Interior, Bureau of Land Management
Registration: N6259N
MSN: 1Z026-05
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Category:Accident
Location:Safford, AZ -   United States of America
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Nature:Unknown
Departure airport:Safford Regl, AZ (SAD)
Destination airport:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Narrative:
The engine lost power while the pilot was turning the airplane onto the base leg of a simulated fire retardant drop pattern. Thereafter, the airplane stalled and collided with the ground while in an uncontrolled descent. The accident occurred during a public-use firefighting training flight supervised by the Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM). During the flight the pilot was practicing dropping fire retardant in a designated area on a simulated wildland fire. A witness reported hearing the engine surge several times, after which the airplane's bank increased and it descended. The airplane impacted the ground in a near-vertical, nose-down pitch attitude. The airframe and engine were examined and no evidence of any preimpact mechanical malfunction was found. The airplane was dispatched with adequate fuel for the planned flight. In the airplane's flight manual, the manufacturer provided guidance regarding equalizing unbalanced wing tank fuel quantity levels to avoid fuel starvation from unequal consumption of fuel in the tanks. During the accident investigation, no fuel was found in either the left wing or header tanks, which had retained their integrity. The right wing tank was found ruptured. The pilot operated valve that allows fuel to flow between the main fuel tanks to equalize the amount of fuel in each tank was found in the closed position. The airplane was not equipped with optional low-fuel warning lights in the cockpit. In addition, the examination determined that the AW-2-30 propeller certificated for the airplane had been replaced with the larger, unapproved AW-2 propeller and that the airplane’s propeller logbook did not reflect this change.
Probable Cause: A loss of engine power due to fuel starvation and at least one ensuing engine power surge, which caused the airplane to pitch up abruptly into a stall at an altitude too low for recovery. Contributing to the accident were the pilot's mismanagement of the fuel supply, his failure to adhere to prescribed flight manual procedures for equalizing the fuel quantity distribution between the fuel tanks, and his failure to maintain adequate airspeed after the power loss.

Sources:

NTSB: https://www.ntsb.gov/_layouts/ntsb.aviation/brief.aspx?ev_id=20040330X00400&key=1

Location


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
28-Oct-2008 00:45 ASN archive Added
21-Dec-2016 19:24 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
07-Dec-2017 17:49 ASN Update Bot Updated [Nature, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]

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