April 14, 2013, Mesquite, Nev., Ercoupe 415-C


The airplane landed hard during a forced landing at about 0910 Pacific time, sustaining substantial damage to its right wing and firewall. The private pilot sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed; a VFR flight plan had been filed.

All initial operations were normal and the airplane soon was climbing to cruising altitude. About five minutes into the flight, the pilot felt a low-frequency vibration and reached forward to adjust power. At that point, engine speed surged to 4000 rpm and the pilot retarded the throttle. The pilot could not see any propeller movement and the engine did not appear to be producing thrust—the propeller had separated from the engine.

The pilot stated the airplane’s altered center of gravity resulted in being unable to maintain positive airplane control at any airspeed below 85 mph. He subsequently performed a forced landing into rocky desert scrub, about five miles from the departure airport.


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