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First flight after oil change goes awry


The private pilot and his two passengers departed on a local pleasure flight in the Cessna 210 near Pagosa Springs, Colo. Right after takeoff, engine oil covered the windscreen and the engine began to lose power.

According to a video of the accident, the pilot made a tear-drop turn in an attempt to land on the opposite runway. The airplane lost altitude during the turn and the pilot overshot the runway.

He said that as he crossed over the runway, he reduced power to idle. As he attempted to turn back toward the runway, he turned off the master switch.

The plane descended quickly and landed adjacent to the runway in packed snow. The airplane landed hard on the main landing gear and with the right wing low before it slid for about 300 feet, resulting in substantial damage to the fuselage and right wing, and causing minor injuries to two of the plane’s occupants.

The landing gear, right flap, left wing tip, and all three propeller blades were also damaged.

Post-accident examination of the engine revealed the oil filler cap was not secured to the oil filler neck. The pilot said this was the first flight after the oil had been changed by a maintenance facility. He did not check the oil filler cap before the flight because it was not required by the FAA approved preflight inspection checklist.

The NTSB determined the probable cause as the pilot’s inadequate preflight inspection which led to a loss of oil pressure and partial loss of engine power on takeoff. Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s failure to check the security of the oil filler cap prior to the flight.


Any thoughts on who is at fault?