The Engine “Coughed” About Three Times And Was Not Making The Power He Expected

Location: Princeton, OR Accident Number: WPR21LA008
Date & Time: October 2, 2020, 11:30 Local Registration: N8678X
Aircraft: Cessna 180 Injuries: 2 None
Flight Conducted Under:

On October 02, 2020 about 1130 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 180E, N8678X, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Princeton, Oregon. The pilot and passenger were not injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The pilot stated that he departed from Moses Lake, Washington about 0900 with an estimated 44 gallons of fuel on board. While en route to the destination, he chose an altitude of 11,500 feet mean sea level (msl) in an effort to stay above the smoke and leaned the fuel/air mixture accordingly. After arriving in the vicinity of the intended destination, he planned on completing a low reconnaissance over a road to determine if it was a potential area to land.

The pilot further stated that he completed a traffic pattern to the road positioning to land to the west. He observed automobile traffic on the road and decided to make a go-around. With the airplane about 100 to 120 feet above ground level (agl), he added full throttle an in response, the engine RPM temporarily increased. Immediately thereafter, the engine “coughed” about three times and was not making the power he expected. He opted to land immediately given the rising terrain ahead. The airplane landed hard in the dirt, about 40 ft south of the road. During the landing, the airplane crossed over the road and the landing gear broke off. The airplane incurred damage to the left wing, horizontal stabilizer, and elevator.

During the recovery efforts, the pilot drained about 4 to 6 gallons of fuel from the airplane. He thought there was probably more fuel on board that had come out of the overflow due to the position the airplane came to rest after the accident.