Beech crashes in ferry flight

Aircraft: Beech Sierra. Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious. Location: Wheeling, Ill. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.

What reportedly happened: The airplane, which had been operated by a flight school, was sold to a private individual. The purpose of the accident flight was to ferry the airplane to the new owner. The plane’s engine had been overhauled and the plane had been flown for one hour before the accident.

According to a mechanic at the flight school, the airplane was involved in a propeller strike approximately two years before the accident and a new propeller was installed. The airplane was then flown 25 to 50 hours and metal shavings were found in the engine oil, so the engine was sent out for overhaul.

The engine was received back from the overhaul, but there were still problems with the induction system, the starter, and other “discrepancies.” The mechanic continued to work on the airplane and believed that he had all the issues resolved.

The airplane had been flown about one hour after the overhauled engine was installed. He stated that at some point the airplane was sold and there were several delays of the new owner picking up the airplane. He stated he charged the battery and ran the airplane several times during the delay period and that the engine operated normally during these engine runs. He added that, to his knowledge, there was not a pre-buy inspection performed on the airplane.

Prior to takeoff, the pilot, who was also an A&P, did three pre-takeoff run-ups. No problems were detected, so he opted to take off. During the takeoff, the airplane began to sink, and he retracted the flaps at an altitude of about 200 feet. He turned the airplane back toward the airport, at which time the engine began to vibrate and lose power. The pilot leveled the wings and attempted to glide to the runway. The airplane did not have enough altitude and hit the roof of a building before crashing into a parking lot where it hit five cars then caught fire.

According to witnesses on the ground, the airplane seemed to have difficulty gaining altitude after takeoff. They reported that it was in a nose-high attitude and that the wings were rocking back and forth. They said the airplane banked abruptly to the left and descended, that the landing gear remained extended, and that the flaps were retracted. Probable cause: A loss of engine power for undetermined reasons and the pilot’s decision to turn back toward the airport at an insufficient altitude to complete the maneuver. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s failure to maintain airspeed, which resulted in a loss of aircraft control.

NTSB Identification: CEN11FA125

This December 2010 accident report 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.

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