Airplane Did Not Appear To Climb, Descended, Turned Left, And Rolled Onto Its Left Side

Location: Bridgeton, NJ Accident Number: ERA22FA426
Date & Time: September 19, 2022, 13:48 Local Registration: N2716E
Aircraft: Champion Aeronca 7AC Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal

On September 19, 2022, about 1348 central daylight time, a Champion Aeronca 7AC airplane, N2716E, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Bridgetown, New Jersey. The pilot and pilot-rated passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to a witness, located near the departure end of runway 18 at Bucks Airport (00N), he heard an airplane departing runway 18 that sounded “unusual.” He observed the airplane 3 to 4 ft above the runway surface that “aggressively pulled up” in a climb at a steep angle from the end of runway. The airplane cleared power lines, but the engine did not sound like it was accelerating or generating full power. The airplane did not appear to climb, descended, turned left, and rolled onto its left side. He then lost sight of the airplane when it descended behind trees but heard the sound of an impact.

Another witness, the owner of the airport was sitting in the pilots lounge, which was located near the end of runway 18, when he observed the airplane depart the 1,900-foot-long turf runway with about 50 ft remaining. He stated that the airplane entered a steep angle-of-attack and then slowly leveled out again, but he lost sight of the airplane after it slowly turned left.

The accident site was located in the front yard of a residential house, about 50 ft from a road. The airframe came to rest upright oriented on a heading of about 20° magnetic. The cabin, instrument panel, seats, and engine compartment were all fractured in several pieces. Flight control continuity was established to the flight controls. The propeller was fractured off the engine and one propeller blade was bent aft. The propeller blades did not display chordwise scratching or S-bending. The top spark plugs were removed for examination and thumb compression was established on all cylinders. Engine continuity was established through the engine from the propeller flange to the accessory case. The magnetos were removed, and spark was produced on all leads. The carburetor was removed and disassembled. No anomalies were noted. The oil screen was clean and clear of debris. A fuel sample was taken, and it was clean and clear, blue in color consistent with 100LL aviation gasoline.

The airplane was retained for further examination.