Bearing failure brings down Beech

 This April 2010 accident reports is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.

Aircraft: Beech Bonanza. Injuries: 2 Fatal. Location: Dayton, Ohio. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.

What reportedly happened: The 50-year-old private pilot had just taken off when the engine of the Bonanza failed. The pilot turned back toward the runway.

A witness located about a mile west of the airport, said that the sound of the engine abruptly ceased. Another witness, located near the airport, said the airplane approached from the west and turned to align with the downwind runway. The airplane was very low, and during the turn, the left wingtip hit the ground and the airplane crashed short of the runway and caught fire.

The post-accident examination of the engine revealed that the No. 1 main crankshaft bearing had failed. The progressive failure of the bearing likely precipitated secondary failures of the crankcase through-bolt and the fuel pump coupling, which resulted in a complete loss of engine power. The cause of the bearing failure was not determined. Investigators noted that an interstate highway and an open grass area short of the runway were both potentially available for an emergency landing.

Probable cause: The complete loss of engine power due to failure of the No. 1 main bearing, and the secondary failure of a crankcase through-bolt and the fuel pump drive coupling. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s decision to attempt a return to the airport for a downwind forced landing, despite having an interstate highway and an open grass area short of the runway as available emergency landing sites.

For more information: NTSB.gov. NTSB Identification: CEN10FA180

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