He Heard A “Loud Pop”, And The Engine Lost All Power

Location: Dover, NC Accident Number: ERA21LA188
Date & Time: April 15, 2021, 16:05 Local Registration: N731TB
Aircraft: Cessna A188 Injuries: 1 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal

On April 15, 2021, at 1605 eastern daylight time, a Cessna A188B, N731TB, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Dover, North Carolina. The pilot was not injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to the pilot, he fueled the airplane prior to the flight at a private airport. The purpose of the accident flight was for the pilot to familiarize himself with the airplane and to practice maneuvers in advance of the spraying season. The agricultural airplane’s hopper was empty, there was no intent to spray chemicals. A few minutes after takeoff, at an altitude of about 300 ft, he heard a “loud pop”, and the engine lost all power. He looked at the engine gauges and noticed that there was “no fuel flow”. As the propeller windmilled, he unsuccessfully attempted to restart the engine, then elected to perform a forced landing to a nearby corn field. He described that the landing was “hard”.

Examination of the airplane at the accident site by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector revealed leading edge damage and compression buckling of the top of the left wing, outboard of the wing strut and extended aft of the wing spar. The left side of the empennage was buckled just forward of the vertical stabilizer. The right horizontal stabilizer was bent upward slightly, about 12 inches from its root. The upper surface of the right elevator was buckled forward of trim tab. When the inspector attempted to rotate the propeller by hand, she heard a “clink” sound, and the propeller would not rotate.

A review of the airplane’s maintenance records revealed that the most recent annual inspection was performed 9 days (11 flight hours) prior to the accident. The previous annual inspection was performed in September 2019 (73 flight hours prior to the accident). The airplane was retained for further examination.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov