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N18878 accident description

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Tail numberN18878
Accident dateMarch 16, 1982
Aircraft typeBeech 24R(AF)
Beech C24R(NTSB)
LocationMobile, AL
Near 30.75 N, -88.25 W
Additional details: Located at Big Creek Lake

NTSB description

The pilot's nephew stated that the pilot departed from Mobile Regional Airport (MOB), Mobile, Alabama on March 15, 1982 at an undetermined time, in a Beech C24R, N18878. The purpose of the flight was to pick up two passengers from the Louisiana Regional Airport, Gonzales, Louisiana, and take them to the Waynesboro Municipal Airport (2RO), Waynesboro, Mississippi. After dropping his passengers off, the pilot resumed the flight to MOB. When the pilot did not arrive at MOB that evening, his wife contacted a man who worked with him at the Mobile FBO. The man stated that he heard the pilot on the radio attempting to reach the MOB FBO. However, he said, there was no answer, and no distress was noted in the call. The pilot was unable to land due to bad weather in the area. He then flew back to 2RO, and from there he called his wife in Mobile and advised her that he would stay at 2RO until it opened on March 16, then he would refuel and return back to MOB. Personnel at 2RO reported that they did not see the pilot's airplane on the morning of March 16, 1982. The pilot's wife contacted the local authorities, family, and friends. Search parties organized land and air searches and the news media were contacted. A woman who lived in the Big Creek Lake area called a television station, after seeing the report on television, to report that she heard a small plane in distress flying over the lake on the morning of March 16, 1982, between 3:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. A search party searched the lake, but could not find the pilot or the airplane. On March 28, 1982 a teenage boy was fishing in Big Creek Lake when he discovered a body, which was later determined to be that of the pilot. On March 13, 2008, a fisherman, using his depth finder/sonar, located N18878 while fishing. He contacted the Mobile Sheriff's Department, and the airplane was verified to be the missing airplane from March 16, 1982.

Examination of the airplane by local authorities, under the supervision of the National Transportation Safety Board revealed that all fight control surfaces were intact. There was no damage to the propeller, and valve train continuity was established by rotating the propeller. Examination of the engine revealed that there was oil in the oil sump. Further examination of the cockpit revealed that the flap handle was in the retract position. The engine controls revealed that the mixture was full rich, propeller at max rpm, and throttle at max power. The fuel selector was on the right tank, and the ignition key was in the both position.

(c) 2009-2011 Lee C. Baker. For informational purposes only.