ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 131880
Last updated: 20 June 2013
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Narrative:On May 17, 2000, approximately 1130 hours UTC (Greenwich) a Cessna 172N, N738VZ, registered to and operated by ASA International of Central Florida, Inc., and being flown by a US commercial pilot, was destroyed when the aircraft was ditched and sank in the Atlantic Ocean approximately 350 nautical miles west of Portugal. The pilot was uninjured and was rescued approximately 4.5 hours later. Visual meteorological day conditions existed and an instrument flight plan was in effect. The flight, which was a ferry flight operating under 14CFR91, had departed Santa Maria, Azores, at 0620 UTC, and was destined for La Coruna, Spain.
|Operator:||Asa International (Central Fl)|
|C/n / msn:|| 17270284|
|Fatalities:||Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 1|
|Airplane damage:|| Written off (damaged beyond repair)|
|Location:||Atlantic Ocean -
The pilot, a resident of Seattle, Washington, reported the accident to the Safety Board's Northwest Regional Office on June 5, 2000. He was telephonically interviewed and subsequently provided a corroborating written statement (attached) with the following information.
A Spanish flight school had recently purchased N738VZ and the operator was to deliver the aircraft to Spain after the installation of a long-range (ferry) fuel system. The pilot reported that the aircraft underwent an annual inspection in April of 2000, and that approximately 39 hours of flight time had transpired between that time and the ditching.
The pilot departed from Tampa, Florida, on May 11th, in N738VZ, and arrived in Bangor, Maine, the following day (May 12th). He reported that during this stage of the trip the aircraft functioned normally and he calculated a fuel burn rate of 9 gallons per hour. Telford Aviation installed the long-range fuel system on May 13th at Bangor.
The long-range fuel system consisted of a 124 US gallon welded aluminum tank located behind the pilot and replacing the two rear passenger seats. The tank was fitted with a filler neck, a vent line and an outflow line that provided fuel to the engine. The outflow line, attached at the bottom aft of the tank, and proceeded forward to a shut-off valve. Upstream of the shut-off valve were two electric boost pumps in series. Between the shutoff valve and the first boost pump was a translucent length of line designed to allow the pilot to observe fluid flow or any air bubbles that might be passing through the line. Upstream of the second boost pump the outflow line was tied into the aircraft's regular fuel line at a point between the regular wing tank shutoff valve and the engine.
The aircraft was also equipped with two standard 21.5-gallon fuel tanks, one in each wing. The total usable fuel was 40.0 gallons, which was fed to the engine through the wing tank fuel selector valve and thence to the carburetor/engine. There was no boost pump for the wing tanks system, and fuel was subsequently fed by gravity (refer to DIAGRAM I).
The pilot reported that he departed Bangor, Maine, on May 15th destined initially for Gander, Newfoundland, with full wing tanks and 80 gallons of fuel in the long-range tank. He indicated that ordinarily he would have flown nonstop to the Azores, but due to a headwind condition, he chose to refuel at Gander. The flight to Gander was uneventful and the pilot reported "the aircraft and ferry systems performed normally the entire time." After refueling, the aircraft subsequently departed Gander arriving at Santa Maria on May 16th.
The aircraft was refueled at Santa Maria with 421 liters (111.22 US gallons) of fuel resulting in 43 US gallons total in the wing tanks and the remaining fuel in the long-range tank (refer to ATTACHMENT FR-I).
The pilot reported that with the fuel acquired at Santa Maria along with the remaining fuel from the flight from Gander he would have an endurance of 13.5 hours for the approximately 860 nautical mile final leg (refer to ATTACHMENT C-I). He also expected that the final leg's flight duration would be 9.5 hours and that he "expected to exhaust the ferry fuel just as I reached the mainland, and would land with nearly full wings." The aircraft was preflighted with no discrepancies noted and the flight departed for its final destination, La C
NTSB id 20001212X21130
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