Pilot Executed A Forced Landing To A Field, But The Left Wing Collided With A Tree

Location: Bayport, MN Accident Number: CEN23LA101
Date & Time: February 4, 2023, 16:30 Local Registration: N9111L
Aircraft: Bellanca 7ACA Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal

On February 4, 2023, about 1630 central standard time, a Bellanca Aircraft 7ACA, N9111L, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Bayport, Minnesota. The pilot sustained minor injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The pilot reported that, before departure, he checked the fuel level in the wing fuel tanks with a dip stick and the level correlated to about 24 gallons. After departure from Lake Elmo Airport (21D), Lake Elmo, Minnesota, he flew for about 3 hours. While approaching 21D, the engine lost all power. The pilot executed a forced landing to a field, but the left wing collided with a tree during the forced landing. The airplane came to rest about 3 miles from 21D and sustained substantial damage to the fuselage and wings during the impact.

A postaccident examination by the Federal Aviation Administration found that the left-wing fuel cap was missing, and the fuel tank was void of fuel. The fuel cap was not located during a search of the area or of the fueling location at 21D. During recovery of the airplane, when the right wing was cut at the root, a fire ignited and consumed a portion of the right wing. During the accident sequence the seatbelt, an Aero Fabricators Model No. H-702-300, failed with a separation of the threading at the “Y” junction. The date of manufacturing stamp on the shoulder harness restraint was December 15, 2017. The shoulder harness label stated that the restraint system was an FAA-PMA part with a rated strength assembly of 1,500 pounds.

A detailed engine and airframe examination is pending.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov