|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||1201 To 1800|
|Locale Reference||airport : gri|
|Altitude||agl bound lower : 0|
agl bound upper : 0
msl bound lower : 2500
msl bound upper : 2500
|Operator||general aviation : personal|
|Make Model Name||Small Aircraft, High Wing, 1 Eng, Retractable Gear|
|Flight Phase||cruise other|
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : private|
pilot : instrument
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 100|
flight time total : 2400
flight time type : 2000
|Anomaly||aircraft equipment problem : critical|
|Independent Detector||other other : unspecified cockpit|
|Resolutory Action||flight crew : declared emergency|
|Air Traffic Incident||other|
1I was on a business return flight from peoria, il to ft collins, co, and had refueled with some 100 gals of gas at plattsmouth, northeast. Some 19 mi southeast of gri, the engine on my small aircraft failed completely. An unknown part of the engine shot through the cowling. After about 6 seconds of vibration, the engine simply quit. I was fortunately able to make a successful forced landing on a rain-soaked gravel farm road, with no fire. The reason for this engine failure is still unknown. The aircraft was moved from gri to a repair shop in greeley, co, and the engine removed. That the failure was catastrophic was confirmed by punctures in the crankcase, cowling and oil pan. This aircraft is flown for business purposes only and is meticulously maintained at considerable expense. Indeed, it (the engine) had been topped about 100 hours previous to this incident. I am a phd engineer who works as a full-time consultant in vibration, stress, and dynamics for some of the largest companies in the us and around the world. A failure such as I experienced is something that, in my opinion, just shouldn't happen--yet the greeley repair shop advises me they have had 3 of them in just the past 2 months. I doubt the FAA or engine company has ever really studied the engine crankshaft design, its stresses, critical speeds, etc, etc. Indeed, neither seems interested in other than trivia, who can be subject to legal action, etc. No one seems interested, except me, in why this engine, and the others, disintegrated. This scenario and experience are very disconcerting, especially since I depend on another which also has the same engine. I am thus submitting this report in hopes that NASA will have more interest in the adequacy, or lack of it, of this type engine. There should be, in my opinion, considerably more interest that that of the FAA, which has been nil. I do not believe the latter has hardly addressed GA safety matters at all. Callback conversation with reporter revealed the following: reporter states: I called the engine mfr and they wanted me to ship the engine to them and for $500 they would tell me what caused the engine to disintegrate. The damaged engine has not been torn down, so I DOD not now for certain what the failure was. FAA has sent me a notice that I was out of date on my flight inspection--not concerned that I was nearly killed by a faulty engine, but trying to stick me with a technical violation.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: ENGINE DISINTEGRATION OF SMA FORCED AN OFF ARPT LNDG.
Narrative: 1I WAS ON A BUSINESS RETURN FLT FROM PEORIA, IL TO FT COLLINS, CO, AND HAD REFUELED WITH SOME 100 GALS OF GAS AT PLATTSMOUTH, NE. SOME 19 MI SE OF GRI, THE ENG ON MY SMA FAILED COMPLETELY. AN UNKNOWN PART OF THE ENG SHOT THROUGH THE COWLING. AFTER ABOUT 6 SECS OF VIBRATION, THE ENG SIMPLY QUIT. I WAS FORTUNATELY ABLE TO MAKE A SUCCESSFUL FORCED LNDG ON A RAIN-SOAKED GRAVEL FARM ROAD, WITH NO FIRE. THE REASON FOR THIS ENG FAILURE IS STILL UNKNOWN. THE ACFT WAS MOVED FROM GRI TO A REPAIR SHOP IN GREELEY, CO, AND THE ENG REMOVED. THAT THE FAILURE WAS CATASTROPHIC WAS CONFIRMED BY PUNCTURES IN THE CRANKCASE, COWLING AND OIL PAN. THIS ACFT IS FLOWN FOR BUSINESS PURPOSES ONLY AND IS METICULOUSLY MAINTAINED AT CONSIDERABLE EXPENSE. INDEED, IT (THE ENG) HAD BEEN TOPPED ABOUT 100 HRS PREVIOUS TO THIS INCIDENT. I AM A PHD ENGINEER WHO WORKS AS A FULL-TIME CONSULTANT IN VIBRATION, STRESS, AND DYNAMICS FOR SOME OF THE LARGEST COMPANIES IN THE U.S. AND AROUND THE WORLD. A FAILURE SUCH AS I EXPERIENCED IS SOMETHING THAT, IN MY OPINION, JUST SHOULDN'T HAPPEN--YET THE GREELEY REPAIR SHOP ADVISES ME THEY HAVE HAD 3 OF THEM IN JUST THE PAST 2 MONTHS. I DOUBT THE FAA OR ENG COMPANY HAS EVER REALLY STUDIED THE ENG CRANKSHAFT DESIGN, ITS STRESSES, CRITICAL SPDS, ETC, ETC. INDEED, NEITHER SEEMS INTERESTED IN OTHER THAN TRIVIA, WHO CAN BE SUBJECT TO LEGAL ACTION, ETC. NO ONE SEEMS INTERESTED, EXCEPT ME, IN WHY THIS ENG, AND THE OTHERS, DISINTEGRATED. THIS SCENARIO AND EXPERIENCE ARE VERY DISCONCERTING, ESPECIALLY SINCE I DEPEND ON ANOTHER WHICH ALSO HAS THE SAME ENG. I AM THUS SUBMITTING THIS RPT IN HOPES THAT NASA WILL HAVE MORE INTEREST IN THE ADEQUACY, OR LACK OF IT, OF THIS TYPE ENG. THERE SHOULD BE, IN MY OPINION, CONSIDERABLY MORE INTEREST THAT THAT OF THE FAA, WHICH HAS BEEN NIL. I DO NOT BELIEVE THE LATTER HAS HARDLY ADDRESSED GA SAFETY MATTERS AT ALL. CALLBACK CONVERSATION WITH RPTR REVEALED THE FOLLOWING: RPTR STATES: I CALLED THE ENG MFR AND THEY WANTED ME TO SHIP THE ENG TO THEM AND FOR $500 THEY WOULD TELL ME WHAT CAUSED THE ENG TO DISINTEGRATE. THE DAMAGED ENG HAS NOT BEEN TORN DOWN, SO I DOD NOT NOW FOR CERTAIN WHAT THE FAILURE WAS. FAA HAS SENT ME A NOTICE THAT I WAS OUT OF DATE ON MY FLT INSPECTION--NOT CONCERNED THAT I WAS NEARLY KILLED BY A FAULTY ENG, BUT TRYING TO STICK ME WITH A TECHNICAL VIOLATION.
Data retrieved from NASA's ASRS site as of August 2007 and automatically converted to unabbreviated mixed upper/lowercase text. This report is for informational purposes with no guarantee of accuracy. See NASA's ASRS site for official report.