Loss of Power in Flight
In May 2019, the crew of a chartered Cessna Citation 550—being operated as an air ambulance flight—experienced a total power loss that began just over an hour into the flight. With a tremendous amount of skill, and with nurses and patients on board, the pilots performed a successful no-engine landing. The failure was later traced to a line service worker at the airport where the aircraft was initially fueled who had accidentally poured diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) into the fuel tanks. DEF is not approved for use in aircraft because it reacts with certain chemical components to form crystalline deposits in the fuel system. Those crystalline deposits then accumulate on filters, engine fuel nozzles, and fuel metering components and result in a loss of engine power, as the Citation crew experienced.
There are many reasons why an engine could lose power in flight. Improper maintenance, undetected damage, worn out parts and poor repairs are just a few. Every airplane and helicopter accident needs a thorough examination to determine not just what happened but why. An experienced aviation attorney can be the key to start unlocking the mysteries of a crash.