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N217CE accident description

West Virginia map... West Virginia list
Crash location 37.000000°N, 81.000000°W
Reported location is a long distance from the NTSB's reported nearest city. This often means that the location has a typo, or is incorrect.
Nearest city Bluefield, WV
37.269840°N, 81.222319°W
22.3 miles away
Tail number N217CE
Accident date 22 Nov 2016
Aircraft type Cirrus Design Corp SR22
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On November 22, 2016, about 1142 eastern standard time, a Cirrus Design Corp. SR-22 single-engine airplane, N217CE, sustained substantial damage during an aborted takeoff on runway 5 at the Mercer County Airport (BLF), Bluefield, West Virginia. The commercial pilot, the passenger, and two dogs were not injured. The airplane was registered to a private company and operated by the pilot. Visual meteorological conditions existed at the airport at the time of the accident which was being conducted as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 flight. No flight plan was filed for the personal flight that was destined for Hilton Head Airport (HXD), Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

The pilot stated that he and his father departed for a cross country flight. The father sat in the front right seat and held two small dogs on his lap during the takeoff roll. The pilot said that during the takeoff roll, the airplane's engine was not making full power and there were fluctuations with the airspeed, so he elected to abort the takeoff. He reduced power and applied full braking, but the left wing became airborne and the right wing struck the runway. The airplane veered to the right and the propeller struck a grassy area. The airplane impacted the ground and spun 180° before it came to a stop. A postaccident examination of the airplane revealed substantial damage to the right wing and the engine mounts.

The engine was removed from the airframe and sent to the manufacturer to be test run. During the pre test-run examination, it was noted that the engine's magneto-to-engine timing was set 7° in advance of what was specified for this model engine. The pilot reported that prior to takeoff, he had trouble starting the engine, which resulted in multiple start attempts. The starter-adapter was removed from the engine. When the starter-adapter was manually rotated by hand, irregular friction was noted, which was indicative of damage being present. When the adapter's housing cap was removed, metallic debris was observed along with gear impressions and circumferential scrapes/gouges on the housing walls. Removal of the gear shaft revealed that the drum displayed compression damage from the spring that smeared and deformed the aft ends of the splined areas. Damage to the gear shaft was consistent with needle bearing impingement and the needle bearing rollers were galled. According to the engine manufacturer, this damage was consistent with damage observed on other starters that were involved in engine-start "kick-back" events for which, the FAA released a Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin NE-17-11, "Engine damage as a result of kickback" on May 10, 2017, to address the issue. Since advanced engine timing can also contribute to engine kick-back events, the crankshaft gear bolts were removed as per the Continental Motors Service Bulletin 16-6 (issued October 2016), Engine Damage Due to Kickback. The gear bolts were found in place with the safety wire intact. The bolts were examined and no damaged was identified. Even though the starter was found damaged, its primary role is for engine-starting purposes only and would not have affected the engine's ability to operate after it was started.

A new starter adapter was placed on the engine and the engine-to- magneto timing was left "as is" before it was placed in a test cell. The engine started immediately and ran through its full power band without interruption. No preimpact anomalies were identified that would have precluded normal operation of the engine.

The airplane was equipped with a Cirrus Perspective Garmin GPS and a Recoverable Data Module (RDM), both of which were downloaded to obtain flight information. According to the data, the pilot attempted to start the engine 32 times on the morning of the accident, and was able to start the engine twice. The pilot described in a written statement that first time the engine started, he shut it down due to a high cylinder head temperature (CHT) reading. He then tried again to start the engine, and after several more attempts, the engine finally started a second time. The pilot observed good CHT readings following the second engine start, then taxied to the runway and departed.

The data showed that after the airplane entered the 4,743-foot-long runway, engine speed was increased to 2,300 rpm at 11:42:09 as the airplane rolled over the runway numbers (in the displaced threshold area). About 50 ft past the displaced threshold (about 700 ft down the runway surface) the engine speed was recorded as being over 2,600 rpm, where it remained until the aircraft was about 2,100 ft down the runway, when the power was reduced to 1,500 rpm. The airplane had attained an indicated airspeed of 73 knots (safe takeoff speed) when the airplane was about 1,300 ft down the runway and retained a safe takeoff speed until the airplane was about 3,300 ft down the runway. The airplane momentarily became airborne, the stall horn activated, and it departed the right side of the runway (about 3,450 ft) at a groundspeed of about 61 knots before the data ended at 1142:39

The engine data also revealed that associated engine parameters moved in response to rpm increases and decreases, and there was no evidence of a power loss. The airspeed also corresponded to the power changes and no erroneous fluctuations were recorded.

According to the airplane's Pilot Operating Handbook, the procedure for an aborted takeoff is:

1) Power Lever.....Idle

2) Brakes.....As Required

From the time the pilot initiated the power reduction, there was about 2,600 ft of remaining runway.

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine and multiengine land airplane, and instrument airplane. He reported a total of 883 total flight hours, of which, 460 hours were in the same make/model as the accident airplane. The pilot's last Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third-class medical was issued on September 15, 2014.

Weather at the airport at 1152 was reported as wind from 280 degrees at 8 knots, visibility 10 miles, and clear skies.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's failure to maintain directional control during the aborted takeoff.

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