|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||0601 To 1200|
|Locale Reference||airport : 3az2|
|Altitude||msl bound lower : 3000|
msl bound upper : 3000
|Operator||general aviation : personal|
|Make Model Name||Any Unknown or Unlisted Aircraft Manufacturer|
|Operating Under FAR Part||Part 91|
|Flight Phase||cruise other|
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||other other : other|
pilot : commercial
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 15|
flight time total : 1180
flight time type : 20
|Anomaly||aircraft equipment problem : critical|
other anomaly other
|Independent Detector||aircraft equipment other aircraft equipment : unspecified|
other flight crewa
|Resolutory Action||flight crew : declared emergency|
|Consequence||faa : investigated|
While cruising at 3000 ft MSL, approximately 1700 ft AGL, with a power setting of 25 inches manifold pressure and 1800 RPM, the 985 pratt and whitney engine suddenly lost power. It acted as though it had run out of gas. I was on the main tank, of 48 gallons capacity, and that tank had 40 gallons of 89 and 100 octane aviation fuel mix, which I drained out of that tank after the accident. A quick check of: switches (both magnetos on), mixture (full rich), propeller (full forward), gauges -- oil pressure (80 pounds), oil temperature (70 degrees C), and fuel pressure (0)! I determined I had a fuel pump failure on the engine. I pumped the throttle a couple of times, no response. I set the throttle full forward. I turned to a crop dusting strip to land on and started to pump the wobble pump to regain fuel pressure. The engine backfired twice but failed to regain power. The fuel pressure never did come up on the gauge, even though I continued to wobble the pump until a forced landing was inevitable, and I had to try to get it into a field. Human performance: due to the very high parasitic drag of the biplane and my lack of experience in this type, I realized upon turning from base to final that I would come down short of the strip and might hit the 2 large concrete lined ditches in front of the strip, so I slipped it to the right and stuck it in a small field short of the strip. The primary factor affecting my performance apart from not taking the excess parasitic drag into account, and especially with a stalled propeller, was that my r-hand had to maintain control and descent speed, while leaving my l-hand to check propeller, mixture, throttle, gauges and also to run the wobble pump. With a zero reading on the fuel pressure, my greatest priority was to regain fuel pressure. This activity took 80-90 percent of my time with my l-hand, and also caused me to have to divert my attention to trying to regain fuel pressure rather than watching my deteriorating altitude and speed to make my intended emergency landing. I had other alternatives that I considered making but I was sure I had the emergency strip made until my turn to final took more altitude than anything else I've ever practiced forced lndgs in. Recommendations: I feel sure that had I had a modern high volume electric driven fuel boost pump, that: 1) either I would have regained fuel pressure to restart engine, or 2) at least my workload would have been sufficiently reduced to allow me to more fully concentrate on final phrase of the emergency landing procedure. A great number of stearman and N3N-3 types are being restored from old crop dusters, and do make safe and fun aircraft for the private sport sector of GA. However, I would recommend, most strongly, that a modern electric driven fuel boost pump be included in these restorations, and that they be included in the standard type certificate, or included in a form #337 field approval. Further, I would recommend that the pump be of a different design than the original pratt and whitney engine driven pump merely hooked up to an electric backup system. Callback conversation with reporter revealed the following information: reporter stated that the aircraft landing gear was sheared off during the forced landing with minor damage to the fuselage. He reiterated that he would like to see that the FAA recommend that all boeing stearmans with the 985 engine be provided with an electric driven fuel pump so that the pilot would not have to pump the hand wabble pump during an emergency when the engine driven pump failed. He stated that he is waiting to have one installed on his aircraft and with an FAA form 337 approval.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: PLT OF A BOEING STEARMAN BIPLANE MADE AN OFF ARPT FORCED LNDG AFTER THE ENG DRIVEN AND THE MANUAL BOOST FUEL PUMPS FAILED IN CRUISE FLT. THE MAIN LNDG GEAR WAS BROKEN OFF DURING THE FORCED LNDG. THERE WERE NO INJURIES TO THE PLT OR HIS PAX.
Narrative: WHILE CRUISING AT 3000 FT MSL, APPROX 1700 FT AGL, WITH A PWR SETTING OF 25 INCHES MANIFOLD PRESSURE AND 1800 RPM, THE 985 PRATT AND WHITNEY ENG SUDDENLY LOST PWR. IT ACTED AS THOUGH IT HAD RUN OUT OF GAS. I WAS ON THE MAIN TANK, OF 48 GALLONS CAPACITY, AND THAT TANK HAD 40 GALLONS OF 89 AND 100 OCTANE AVIATION FUEL MIX, WHICH I DRAINED OUT OF THAT TANK AFTER THE ACCIDENT. A QUICK CHK OF: SWITCHES (BOTH MAGNETOS ON), MIXTURE (FULL RICH), PROP (FULL FORWARD), GAUGES -- OIL PRESSURE (80 LBS), OIL TEMP (70 DEGS C), AND FUEL PRESSURE (0)! I DETERMINED I HAD A FUEL PUMP FAILURE ON THE ENG. I PUMPED THE THROTTLE A COUPLE OF TIMES, NO RESPONSE. I SET THE THROTTLE FULL FORWARD. I TURNED TO A CROP DUSTING STRIP TO LAND ON AND STARTED TO PUMP THE WOBBLE PUMP TO REGAIN FUEL PRESSURE. THE ENG BACKFIRED TWICE BUT FAILED TO REGAIN PWR. THE FUEL PRESSURE NEVER DID COME UP ON THE GAUGE, EVEN THOUGH I CONTINUED TO WOBBLE THE PUMP UNTIL A FORCED LNDG WAS INEVITABLE, AND I HAD TO TRY TO GET IT INTO A FIELD. HUMAN PERFORMANCE: DUE TO THE VERY HIGH PARASITIC DRAG OF THE BIPLANE AND MY LACK OF EXPERIENCE IN THIS TYPE, I REALIZED UPON TURNING FROM BASE TO FINAL THAT I WOULD COME DOWN SHORT OF THE STRIP AND MIGHT HIT THE 2 LARGE CONCRETE LINED DITCHES IN FRONT OF THE STRIP, SO I SLIPPED IT TO THE R AND STUCK IT IN A SMALL FIELD SHORT OF THE STRIP. THE PRIMARY FACTOR AFFECTING MY PERFORMANCE APART FROM NOT TAKING THE EXCESS PARASITIC DRAG INTO ACCOUNT, AND ESPECIALLY WITH A STALLED PROP, WAS THAT MY R-HAND HAD TO MAINTAIN CTL AND DSCNT SPD, WHILE LEAVING MY L-HAND TO CHK PROP, MIXTURE, THROTTLE, GAUGES AND ALSO TO RUN THE WOBBLE PUMP. WITH A ZERO READING ON THE FUEL PRESSURE, MY GREATEST PRIORITY WAS TO REGAIN FUEL PRESSURE. THIS ACTIVITY TOOK 80-90 PERCENT OF MY TIME WITH MY L-HAND, AND ALSO CAUSED ME TO HAVE TO DIVERT MY ATTN TO TRYING TO REGAIN FUEL PRESSURE RATHER THAN WATCHING MY DETERIORATING ALT AND SPD TO MAKE MY INTENDED EMER LNDG. I HAD OTHER ALTERNATIVES THAT I CONSIDERED MAKING BUT I WAS SURE I HAD THE EMER STRIP MADE UNTIL MY TURN TO FINAL TOOK MORE ALT THAN ANYTHING ELSE I'VE EVER PRACTICED FORCED LNDGS IN. RECOMMENDATIONS: I FEEL SURE THAT HAD I HAD A MODERN HIGH VOLUME ELECTRIC DRIVEN FUEL BOOST PUMP, THAT: 1) EITHER I WOULD HAVE REGAINED FUEL PRESSURE TO RESTART ENG, OR 2) AT LEAST MY WORKLOAD WOULD HAVE BEEN SUFFICIENTLY REDUCED TO ALLOW ME TO MORE FULLY CONCENTRATE ON FINAL PHRASE OF THE EMER LNDG PROC. A GREAT NUMBER OF STEARMAN AND N3N-3 TYPES ARE BEING RESTORED FROM OLD CROP DUSTERS, AND DO MAKE SAFE AND FUN ACFT FOR THE PVT SPORT SECTOR OF GA. HOWEVER, I WOULD RECOMMEND, MOST STRONGLY, THAT A MODERN ELECTRIC DRIVEN FUEL BOOST PUMP BE INCLUDED IN THESE RESTORATIONS, AND THAT THEY BE INCLUDED IN THE STANDARD TYPE CERTIFICATE, OR INCLUDED IN A FORM #337 FIELD APPROVAL. FURTHER, I WOULD RECOMMEND THAT THE PUMP BE OF A DIFFERENT DESIGN THAN THE ORIGINAL PRATT AND WHITNEY ENG DRIVEN PUMP MERELY HOOKED UP TO AN ELECTRIC BACKUP SYS. CALLBACK CONVERSATION WITH RPTR REVEALED THE FOLLOWING INFO: RPTR STATED THAT THE ACFT LNDG GEAR WAS SHEARED OFF DURING THE FORCED LNDG WITH MINOR DAMAGE TO THE FUSELAGE. HE REITERATED THAT HE WOULD LIKE TO SEE THAT THE FAA RECOMMEND THAT ALL BOEING STEARMANS WITH THE 985 ENG BE PROVIDED WITH AN ELECTRIC DRIVEN FUEL PUMP SO THAT THE PLT WOULD NOT HAVE TO PUMP THE HAND WABBLE PUMP DURING AN EMER WHEN THE ENG DRIVEN PUMP FAILED. HE STATED THAT HE IS WAITING TO HAVE ONE INSTALLED ON HIS ACFT AND WITH AN FAA FORM 337 APPROVAL.
Data retrieved from NASA's ASRS site as of July 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.