This July 2009 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.
Aircraft: Beech TC 45J. Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious. Location: Verdel, Neb. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.
What reportedly happened: The private pilot/owner and a passenger were transporting the pilot’s multi-engine airplane to another airport so it could undergo an annual inspection. A review of FAA records revealed that the owner held a private pilot certificate for airplane single-engine land but was not certified to operate multi-engine airplanes. His last FAA third class medical was issued June 30, 2008. At that time, he reported a total of 1,000 flight hours.
There was no record of the pilot having formal training in the Beech. The accident flight was his first time flying the airplane by himself. The airplane had not received an annual inspection in approximately eight years prior to the accident. Shortly after departure, the right engine began to vibrate violently and the pilot elected to make a forced landing to a pasture. The airplane caught on fire and both radial engines separated from the airframe and sustained impact damage.
Examination of the right engine revealed extensive mechanical damage possibly due to a connecting rod failure.
Probable cause: The pilot’s improper decision to fly an airplane that was not airworthy and for which he was not properly rated to operate, and his failure to maintain control of the airplane during a forced landing to a field following an engine failure. Contributing to the accident was the failed cylinder connecting rod.
For more information: NTSB.gov NTSB Identification: CEN09LA444