|37000 Feet||Browse and search NASA's
Aviation Safety Reporting System
|Local Time Of Day||0601 To 1200|
|Locale Reference||airport : zzz.airport|
|Altitude||msl single value : 9000|
|Controlling Facilities||artcc : zzz.artcc|
|Operator||general aviation : personal|
|Make Model Name||Bonanza 35|
|Operating Under FAR Part||Part 91|
|Flight Phase||cruise : level|
|Function||flight crew : single pilot|
|Qualification||pilot : commercial|
pilot : instrument
|Experience||flight time last 90 days : 30|
flight time total : 2500
flight time type : 900
|Function||observation : passenger|
|Anomaly||aircraft equipment problem : critical|
|Independent Detector||aircraft equipment other aircraft equipment : oil pressure gauge|
other flight crewa
|Resolutory Action||flight crew : diverted to another airport|
flight crew : declared emergency
flight crew : landed in emergency condition
Saturday we were on our way home from ZZZ1 to ZZZ2; sailing along in the bonanza at 9000 ft enjoying a clear sunny day and a nice 20 KT tailwind as we approached abc VOR en route to our refueling stop at ZZZ3. There was a continuous overcast layer far below us but this was not a concern; until I thought I noticed some very subtle variations in the RPM so readjusted it from 2400 ft back to 2300 ft RPM and tightened the locking ring; but didn't know why it had changed. I then did a routine instrument scan and was shocked to see the oil pressure gauge pegged at zero! I warned my wife (also a pilot) to get ready for the engine to stop soon and advised center of our emergency situation. My GPS showed a small airport with a 4000 ft runway about 10 mi ahead. ATC confirmed this and cleared me direct to ZZZ (as though I had many options) and began to advise of my relative position. About that time; my engine called it quits (although the propeller kept wind milling all the way to the ground). We glided easily to above ZZZ but at 2000-3000 ft we were on top of the solid overcast layer without any visual ground contact. Gliding the 10 mi was no problem; finding the airport once I got there would have been impossible without the GPS. As I spiraled down over the field; ATC lost radar and radio contact with me so of course could not give me any further situational help or keep up with what was happening. The GPS was able to tell me exactly where the airport was below the clouds and allowed me to stay over it. We broke out of the clouds at just 600-700 ft directly over the middle of the field and were able to execute a successful engine-out landing. Due to the low ceiling; my visual maneuvering options were very limited when I broke out so if I'd been 1 mi or 2 mi off; the outcome would have been much different as the surroundings were inhospitably hilly and wooded terrain. The GPS paid for itself many times over! Since the GPS had told with such certainty where we were and where the field was during the whole emergency descent; we both very calm and confident of the outcome.(or maybe we were just fools.) no life flashing before my eyes or anything. I could focus on flying the plane to the ground and doing all the things we'd been trained to do throughout my 38 yrs/3000 hours of flying so that this becomes almost just another landing. My main problem once we broke out of the clouds so close to the ground was trying to get in a landing position quickly without stalling or spinning in. My wife cracked the door open just before we touched; I killed the fuel and electricals; etc; by the book. The biggest concern was a deep drop-off at the end of the runway; but we stopped just in time even though we touched down well past mid-field and had only 1000 ft to stop. As soon as we landed (not pretty; but ok) we were descended upon by a dozen skydivers hanging around the airport but grounded by the low clouds. Within a couple of mins; 2 police cars and even a couple of foremen arrived. They had been scrambled by center since they had no idea how my flight concluded once they lost radio contact. I called them on the phone; but they had already sent rescue people. Glad they weren't needed! There was no apparent damage to the plane as a result of the landing although of course lots of oil was dripping off the plane's bottom from the nose to the tail. I opened the top cowling and examined the engine. The top 2/3 was perfect; but the bottom 1/3 was covered with oil but no obvious sources of the sudden leak. Broken hose; seal; crack; quick-drain; and ?. After lunch the head airport mechanic arrived but couldn't see anything obvious either. Tuesday night he called to say that the engine was shot and the leak was caused by an impossible to see crack from a bolt hole in the mounting block that holds the oil filter on the engine case. No leaks or warning; just a failure and immediate loss of oil.
Original NASA ASRS Text
Title: A GPS EQUIPPED BE35 EXPERIENCED AN ENGINE FAILURE BECAUSE OF OIL LOSS BUT WAS ABLE TO GPS NAVIGATE TO A SAFE ON ARPT LANDING THROUGH AN IMC DESCENT.
Narrative: SATURDAY WE WERE ON OUR WAY HOME FROM ZZZ1 TO ZZZ2; SAILING ALONG IN THE BONANZA AT 9000 FT ENJOYING A CLR SUNNY DAY AND A NICE 20 KT TAILWIND AS WE APCHED ABC VOR ENRTE TO OUR REFUELING STOP AT ZZZ3. THERE WAS A CONTINUOUS OVCST LAYER FAR BELOW US BUT THIS WAS NOT A CONCERN; UNTIL I THOUGHT I NOTICED SOME VERY SUBTLE VARIATIONS IN THE RPM SO READJUSTED IT FROM 2400 FT BACK TO 2300 FT RPM AND TIGHTENED THE LOCKING RING; BUT DIDN'T KNOW WHY IT HAD CHANGED. I THEN DID A ROUTINE INST SCAN AND WAS SHOCKED TO SEE THE OIL PRESSURE GAUGE PEGGED AT ZERO! I WARNED MY WIFE (ALSO A PLT) TO GET READY FOR THE ENG TO STOP SOON AND ADVISED CTR OF OUR EMER SITUATION. MY GPS SHOWED A SMALL ARPT WITH A 4000 FT RWY ABOUT 10 MI AHEAD. ATC CONFIRMED THIS AND CLRED ME DIRECT TO ZZZ (AS THOUGH I HAD MANY OPTIONS) AND BEGAN TO ADVISE OF MY RELATIVE POS. ABOUT THAT TIME; MY ENG CALLED IT QUITS (ALTHOUGH THE PROP KEPT WIND MILLING ALL THE WAY TO THE GND). WE GLIDED EASILY TO ABOVE ZZZ BUT AT 2000-3000 FT WE WERE ON TOP OF THE SOLID OVCST LAYER WITHOUT ANY VISUAL GND CONTACT. GLIDING THE 10 MI WAS NO PROB; FINDING THE ARPT ONCE I GOT THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN IMPOSSIBLE WITHOUT THE GPS. AS I SPIRALED DOWN OVER THE FIELD; ATC LOST RADAR AND RADIO CONTACT WITH ME SO OF COURSE COULD NOT GIVE ME ANY FURTHER SITUATIONAL HELP OR KEEP UP WITH WHAT WAS HAPPENING. THE GPS WAS ABLE TO TELL ME EXACTLY WHERE THE ARPT WAS BELOW THE CLOUDS AND ALLOWED ME TO STAY OVER IT. WE BROKE OUT OF THE CLOUDS AT JUST 600-700 FT DIRECTLY OVER THE MIDDLE OF THE FIELD AND WERE ABLE TO EXECUTE A SUCCESSFUL ENG-OUT LNDG. DUE TO THE LOW CEILING; MY VISUAL MANEUVERING OPTIONS WERE VERY LIMITED WHEN I BROKE OUT SO IF I'D BEEN 1 MI OR 2 MI OFF; THE OUTCOME WOULD HAVE BEEN MUCH DIFFERENT AS THE SURROUNDINGS WERE INHOSPITABLY HILLY AND WOODED TERRAIN. THE GPS PAID FOR ITSELF MANY TIMES OVER! SINCE THE GPS HAD TOLD WITH SUCH CERTAINTY WHERE WE WERE AND WHERE THE FIELD WAS DURING THE WHOLE EMER DSCNT; WE BOTH VERY CALM AND CONFIDENT OF THE OUTCOME.(OR MAYBE WE WERE JUST FOOLS.) NO LIFE FLASHING BEFORE MY EYES OR ANYTHING. I COULD FOCUS ON FLYING THE PLANE TO THE GND AND DOING ALL THE THINGS WE'D BEEN TRAINED TO DO THROUGHOUT MY 38 YRS/3000 HRS OF FLYING SO THAT THIS BECOMES ALMOST JUST ANOTHER LNDG. MY MAIN PROB ONCE WE BROKE OUT OF THE CLOUDS SO CLOSE TO THE GND WAS TRYING TO GET IN A LNDG POS QUICKLY WITHOUT STALLING OR SPINNING IN. MY WIFE CRACKED THE DOOR OPEN JUST BEFORE WE TOUCHED; I KILLED THE FUEL AND ELECTRICALS; ETC; BY THE BOOK. THE BIGGEST CONCERN WAS A DEEP DROP-OFF AT THE END OF THE RWY; BUT WE STOPPED JUST IN TIME EVEN THOUGH WE TOUCHED DOWN WELL PAST MID-FIELD AND HAD ONLY 1000 FT TO STOP. AS SOON AS WE LANDED (NOT PRETTY; BUT OK) WE WERE DSNDED UPON BY A DOZEN SKYDIVERS HANGING AROUND THE ARPT BUT GNDED BY THE LOW CLOUDS. WITHIN A COUPLE OF MINS; 2 POLICE CARS AND EVEN A COUPLE OF FOREMEN ARRIVED. THEY HAD BEEN SCRAMBLED BY CTR SINCE THEY HAD NO IDEA HOW MY FLT CONCLUDED ONCE THEY LOST RADIO CONTACT. I CALLED THEM ON THE PHONE; BUT THEY HAD ALREADY SENT RESCUE PEOPLE. GLAD THEY WEREN'T NEEDED! THERE WAS NO APPARENT DAMAGE TO THE PLANE AS A RESULT OF THE LNDG ALTHOUGH OF COURSE LOTS OF OIL WAS DRIPPING OFF THE PLANE'S BOTTOM FROM THE NOSE TO THE TAIL. I OPENED THE TOP COWLING AND EXAMINED THE ENG. THE TOP 2/3 WAS PERFECT; BUT THE BOTTOM 1/3 WAS COVERED WITH OIL BUT NO OBVIOUS SOURCES OF THE SUDDEN LEAK. BROKEN HOSE; SEAL; CRACK; QUICK-DRAIN; AND ?. AFTER LUNCH THE HEAD ARPT MECH ARRIVED BUT COULDN'T SEE ANYTHING OBVIOUS EITHER. TUESDAY NIGHT HE CALLED TO SAY THAT THE ENG WAS SHOT AND THE LEAK WAS CAUSED BY AN IMPOSSIBLE TO SEE CRACK FROM A BOLT HOLE IN THE MOUNTING BLOCK THAT HOLDS THE OIL FILTER ON THE ENG CASE. NO LEAKS OR WARNING; JUST A FAILURE AND IMMEDIATE LOSS OF OIL.
Data retrieved from NASA's ASRS site as of January 2009 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.