Aircraft: Cessna 152. Injuries: None. Location: Miami, Fla. Aircraft damage: Substantial.
What reportedly happened: The student and flight instructor reported that, during their preflight inspection, 4.5 quarts of oil was in the engine sump and the fuel tanks were full. Another quart of oil was added to the engine before takeoff.
About 1 hour 40 minutes into the flight, the engine began to run rough, then quit. Attempts to restart it were unsuccessful. The flight instructor took the controls for a forced landing in a field. The airplane nosed over on touchdown.
During the recovery of the wreckage, the fuel tanks were drained, and each tank contained about one quart of fuel. There was no oil or fuel on the ground under the wreckage. The oil dipstick showed no oil on the stick. About 1-1/3 quarts of oil were drained from the engine. According to the engine manufacturer, the minimum safe quantity of oil in the sump is two quarts.
Examination of the wreckage revealed no evidence of an oil leak anywhere on the engine or airframe. The engine showed evidence of seizure due to a lack of lubrication. The engine oil and filter were reportedly changed during a 100-hour inspection that occurred three days before the accident. Investigators stated that although the crew reported that they departed with sufficient oil and fuel, the physical evidence did not support that assertion.
Probable cause: The pilots’ operation of the airplane with an insufficient supply of engine oil, resulting in engine seizure and total loss of engine power.
NTSB Identification: ERA12LA405
This June 2012 accident report is are provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.