Accident Piel CP-301A Emeraude N718PP, Thursday 15 March 2012
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Date:Thursday 15 March 2012
Type:Silhouette image of generic CP30 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Piel CP-301A Emeraude
Registration: N718PP
MSN: 313
Total airframe hrs:850 hours
Engine model:Continental 0-200 SERIES
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Substantial
Location:About a mile northeast of Ruckel Airport - FL17, Niceville, FL -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Departure airport:Niceville, FL (FL17)
Destination airport:Holt, FL (FD93)
Investigating agency: NTSB
Confidence Rating: Accident investigation report completed and information captured
The pilot/owner had been in a previous airplane accident which resulted in traumatic brain injuries. Subsequent to that accident, he acquired an experimental amateur-built airplane, which he would only taxi because of his lack of medical clearance. Anticipating a return to medical status, the pilot asked another pilot to serve as pilot in command and fly with him to another airport for the airplane’s condition inspection.There were no witnesses to the engine start, taxi time, or takeoff to the north. An air traffic controller at a nearby air force base was contacted by one of the pilots, who reported that the airplane just departed the airport, as was the custom. The controller then attempted to contact the airplane twice to determine the pilots’ intentions but received no response. Radar data indicated a brief, primary (skin paint) return at the time, but no track or altitude could be determined. During the initial climb, a witness saw the airplane when it was about halfway down, and about 300 to 400 feet above the runway, and heard a power reduction. The airplane did not turn to return to the runway, but continued straight ahead over trees, and the witness eventually lost the sound of the engine. A motorist subsequently saw the airplane, gliding south, back toward the departure airport with the propeller stopped, before he lost sight of it behind trees. The airplane later impacted trees, wings level, heading eastbound, just north of a new highway.
Because both pilots were ejected from the airplane, it was not possible to determine which pilot had been in which seat or who was flying. The engine had also separated from the main wreckage, which likely altered the positions of the engine controls, including the carburetor heat. Torsional bending of one of the propeller blades, as well as malleable bending (heating) of the exhaust system indicated that the engine was under some power at impact; an examination of the engine did not reveal any malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. Dark spark plug electrodes were noted and are consistent with a very rich mixture, either from carburetor icing or carburetor heat, or both. Weather data recorded near the time of the accident indicated an outside air temperature of 82 degrees F and a dew point of 64 degrees. Carburetor icing probability charts indicated the likelihood of serious carburetor icing at glide power for the temperature and dew point conditions. Because one of the pilots made a normal departure call, the effects of carburetor ice were probably first noticed subsequent to that call. At some point, the engine lost power and the pilots attempted to turn back toward the airport. They were then likely able to at least regain at least some power, likely by applying carburetor heat, but were too low to recover.

Probable Cause: The pilots’ inadequate use of carburetor heat, which resulted in carburetor icing and a subsequent loss of engine power.

Accident investigation:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Report number: ERA12LA227
Status: Investigation completed
Duration: 2 years
Download report: Final report





A photo of the accident aircraft from May 2010 at the 1st Annual Brewton Fly-in in Brewton, AL.

Revision history:

15-Mar-2012 14:09 gerard57 Added
15-Mar-2012 14:55 harro Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Location, Source]
15-Mar-2012 23:22 Anon. Updated
16-Mar-2012 00:11 RobertMB Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Registration, Cn, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
16-Mar-2012 09:37 Geno Updated [Source]
18-Mar-2012 02:06 scottieshea Updated
10-Apr-2012 11:25 Geno Updated [Time, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
15-Jan-2015 16:45 Alpine Flight Updated [Time, Aircraft type, Narrative]
21-Dec-2016 19:26 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
27-Nov-2017 20:26 ASN Update Bot Updated [Other fatalities, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]

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