The Pilot Noticed That The Engine Temperature Was High, Just Under Redline

Location: Minot, ND Accident Number: CEN22LA007
Date & Time: October 3, 2021, 16:20 Local Registration: N9115Y
Aircraft: Soneral L2 Injuries: 1 Minor
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal

On October 3, 2021, about 1620 central daylight time, a Soneral L2 airplane, N9115Y, sustained substantial damage when it was involved in an accident near Minot, North Dakota. The pilot sustained minor injuries. The flight was conducted under the provisions of Title14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The pilot stated that he prepared for his first flight in the recently acquired airplane. He conducted a preflight, started the engine, and taxied to runway 31 for takeoff at Minot International Airport (MOT). As the airplane climbed into the traffic pattern, the pilot noticed that the engine temperature was high, just under redline. He reduced engine power and the temperature came back to normal. On the downwind, he leveled the airplane and prepared for a landing. On final approach, he decided that he was not as stable as he would have liked and decided to execute  a go-around.

During the go-around, the engine did not seem to have to have much power, and the pilot saw what appeared to be engine oil on the windscreen which obscured his visibility. The pilot then saw the engine temperature gauge rise to over 500-degrees. Oil pressure was in the normal range.

The pilot decided to land the airplane as soon as possible, executed an abbreviated approach, and lined up to land on runway 31. On final approach, a few feet from touchdown, the airplane stalled. The airplane dropped to the runway and bounced a few times. The pilot tried to recover by applying power, but the engine did not seem to have enough power. The airplane listed to the right and veered off the runway, resulting to structural damage to the forward part of the fuselage and empennage.

The airplane was examined at the accident site. The two blades of the wooden propeller were shattered, consistent with rotation/power at impact. The propeller was separated from crankshaft and the forward part of the crankshaft was fractured with torsion signatures. The Volkswagon, model 2175CC engine was rotated, and drive continuity was confirmed. Throttle cables were connected and had continuity from the cockpit to engine. Slight oil streaks were present on top of the engine cowl, but source of the oil leak could not be confirmed.

After the accident, the pilot stated that since it was his first flight in the airplane, he was not familiar with its characteristics and performance. Airplane logbooks provided by the pilot showed that the airplane’s last flight was conducted in January of 1995. Additional entries showed that the airplane was ground taxi-tested several times, but not flown. The most recent condition inspection was completed on September 1, 2021, during which, the airplane’s engine was operated for about three hours (ground run) with no anomalies.