(Pilot) Diverted To The Clarion County Airport (AXQ), Clarion, Pennsylvania For A Reported Oil Pressure Issue

Location: Grove City, PA Accident Number: ERA22FA076
Date & Time: November 24, 2021, 17:46 Local Registration: N6209U
Aircraft: Cessna T210R Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal

On November 24, 2021, at 1746 eastern standard time, a Cessna T210R, N6209U, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident near Grove City, Pennsylvania. The private pilot and a pilot-rated passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

The flight originated from the Westchester County Airport (HPN), White Plains, New York and was en route to the Akron Fulton Airport (AKR), Akron, Ohio. About 2 hours into the flight, the pilot, who was also the owner of the airplane, diverted to the Clarion County Airport (AXQ), Clarion, Pennsylvania for a reported oil pressure issue.

Witnesses at AXQ stated that after landing, the pilot requested 6 quarts of oil; he also stated that he thought the oil pressure issue was due to the oil dipstick not being properly secured which resulted in a loss of oil through the dipstick tube. A witness further stated that the airplane was “covered in oil,” with oil present on the empennage, lower fuselage, and engine cowl. The pilot and passenger cleaned the airplane with rags, serviced the engine with new oil, and elected to resume their flight. During the subsequent engine start up, one of the witnesses, who was also a helicopter mechanic, heard the airplane engine making “abnormal cracking and popping” noises. Furthermore, the pilot taxied to the end of the runway and promptly departed without performing an engine run-up.

After departure, the pilot contacted Youngstown air traffic control, climbed to 4,500 ft mean sea level (msl) and requested flight following to AKR, which was about 95 nautical miles west. About 15 minutes after takeoff, the pilot reported that the airplane was experiencing a loss of engine power and requested assistance. The controller provided instructions to land at Grove City Airport (29D), Grove City, Pennsylvania, which was at the airplane’s 12 o’clock position and 8 miles away. Shortly after the pilot reported the airport in sight, and that he did not think the airplane would be able to reach the airport, all communication and radar contact was lost.

The airplane impacted trees and steep terrain at an elevation of about 1,200 ft, about 1.5 miles from the approach end of runway 28 at 29D. The initial tree impact was about 250 ft and on a heading of about 230° to the main wreckage which came to rest on a 35° incline against several trees. A 24-inch section of the left wingtip was located near the initial tree impact and several broken branches were observed on top of a 100-ft-tall pine tree. A post-impact fire consumed the fuselage and cockpit area. The instrument panel and all associated instrumentation, gauges and electronic devices were destroyed by fire. The empennage separated during impact; the vertical and horizonal stabilizers, and their respective rudder and elevators, remained attached to their respective attachment points. There was oil residue observed on the underside of the empennage, left stabilizer and elevator. The flight control cables exhibited breaks consistent with overload. Several portions of the left wing were located along the wreckage path and near the main wreckage. The right wing was damaged by impact forces and fire. The aileron control cables were traced to the cockpit through breaks in the cables that were consistent with overload.

The engine separated from the main wreckage. The three-bladed propeller and spinner remained attached to the crankshaft flange. Two of the three propeller blades were bent aft in a relatively uniform manor. The third blade was bent aft and exhibited severe gouges and scrapes on the upper surface and leading edge of the blade tip, but little chordwise scraping was observed on all three blades. The propeller spinner was crushed uniformly from the front to aft and exhibited no evidence of rotational damage.

The engine showed evidence of heat and impact damage but was relatively intact. The turbocharger was examined and static impact impressions consistent with contact from the compressor wheel were observed. There was no rotational damage to the blades or housing. The top spark plugs were removed and revealed that the No. 5 sparkplug had damage to the electrode and was covered with oil. The No. 3 and No. 2 sparkplugs were covered with oil. The remaining sparkplugs remained intact, and they had minimal wear when compared to the Champion Check-A-Plug chart.

Two holes were observed in the top of the engine crankcase. One hole was located forward of the No. 5 cylinder and was about 2 inches in diameter. The second hole was located adjacent to the No. 4 cylinder and was about 3 inches in diameter. The No. 4 cylinder connecting rod was separated from the crankshaft. The No. 5 cylinder piston was fragmented. The engine could not be rotated.

The two through-bolts that connected cylinders No. 4 and No. 5 were missing nuts on the right side of the engine. The two through-bolts that connected cylinders No. 2 and No. 3 were missing nuts on the left side of the engine. In addition, a 1/16-inch gap was observed between the two through-bolt nuts on the aft side of the No.1 cylinder. All through-bolt threads appeared undamaged and intact. The wreckage was retained for further examination

FMI: www.ntsb.gov