During a local sightseeing flight in Page, Arizona, the pilot noticed that the Cessna 207’s engine had lost partial power, and he initiated a turn back toward the airport while troubleshooting the loss of power.
Despite these attempts, the engine would not regain full power and was surging and sputtering randomly.
The pilot entered the airport’s traffic pattern on the downwind leg, and, while on final approach to the runway, the plane encountered multiple downdrafts and wind gusts.
It is likely that, due to the downdrafts and the partial loss of engine power, the pilot was not able to maintain control. The airplane subsequently landed hard short of the runway surface and nosed over, coming to rest inverted, resulting in one fatality, one serious injury and five minor injuries.
The reported wind conditions around the time of the accident varied between 20° and 70° right of the runway heading and were 14 knots gusting to greater than 20 knots.
In addition, a company pilot who landed about eight minutes before the accident reported that he encountered strong downdrafts and windshear while on final approach to the runway and that he would not have been able to reach the runway if he had a partial or total loss of engine power.
A post-accident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of any pre-existing mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation.
The engine was subsequently installed on a test stand and was successfully run through various power settings for several minutes. The reason for the partial loss of engine power could not be determined.
The NTSB determined the probable cause as the pilot’s inability to maintain aircraft control due to a partial loss of engine power and an encounter with downdrafts and gusting crosswinds while on final approach to the runway.
NTSB Identification: WPR14FA186
This May 2014 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.