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N9471Q accident description

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Tail numberN9471Q
Accident dateMay 05, 1998
Aircraft typeBeech G33
LocationCrestline, CA
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On May 5, 1998, at 0907 hours Pacific daylight time, a Beech G33, N9471Q, collided with utility wires and trees during a descent to the Rialto Municipal Field, Rialto, California. The aircraft was destroyed and the certificated commercial, instrument rated pilot, the sole occupant, sustained fatal injuries. The aircraft was being operated by the pilot as a personal flight at the time of the accident. The flight originated from the St. George Municipal Airport, St. George, Utah, about 0714. Localized instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the accident site and no flight plan was filed.

During the descent into the Rialto area the aircraft initially collided with east-west utility lines on a ridge overlooking the San Gabriel Valley.

The aircraft, which was flight following, had been handed off by Joshua approach to Southern California TRACON (SCT) en route to Rialto. The SCT controller approved the aircraft for "unrestricted descent" and gave the pilot the current Ontario altimeter setting, 29.94 inHg. The pilot advised that there were clouds along his route of flight and that he might have to "circle back" in order to get into Rialto. At 0908, SCT advised the pilot that radar contact was lost; however, the pilot did not respond. Further attempts by SCT to contact the pilot after radar contact was lost were unsuccessful.

At the time radar contact was lost, the aircraft was on a heading of about 210 degrees, the direction of the destination airport, and was descending through 4,800 feet mean sea level (msl), still several miles north of the accident site.

PILOT INFORMATION

The pilot's logbooks were not located; therefore, his total flight time, recent currency in make and model, instrument currency, and the specific date of his biennial flight review along with the make and model used could not be factually determined. He had reported on his insurance application that he had logged 700 flight hours in the Beech G33.

The pilot did not ask controllers for an instrument clearance.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

Safety Board and the aircraft and engine manufacturer's representatives reviewed the aircraft, engine, and propeller logbooks. According to the entries found, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector who reviewed the logbooks found the aircraft was being maintained in an airworthy condition.

The aircraft was equipped with navigational radios that were compatible with the published nonprecision approach at the pilot's destination; however, the operational status of those radios at the time of the accident could not be determined. Investigators found no instrument charts or approach plates at the accident site.

METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS

A sheriff's deputy near the accident site reported visibility was about 100 to 200 feet in mist with heavy precipitation falling at the time the accident occurred. The base of the clouds was estimated as being at "tree top" level.

AIDS TO NAVIGATION

Paradise visual omni range tactical air navigation (VORTAC) and PETIS nondirectional beacon (NDB) were operational at the time of the accident. There is a published NDB or GPS-A nonprecision circling approach to Rialto Municipal Field. Ontario, which also provides Rialto weather, was currently reporting weather conditions, which were above the published minimums for the approach, of 700-foot ceiling and 1 mile visibility.

COMMUNICATIONS

The pilot was flight following with SCT on 127.25 at the time radar contact was lost. No prior communication difficulties had been reported up to the point of lost radar contact.

AIRPORT INFORMATION

The destination, Rialto Municipal Field, is located about 9 miles from the accident site in the San Gabriel Valley at an elevation of 1,455 feet msl.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The crash site was located about 9 statute miles north of the Rialto Municipal airport on a bearing of 022 degrees. The elevation of the site was about 4,200 feet msl. The geographic coordinates of the accident site were 34 degrees 14.11 minutes north latitude and 117 degrees 18.68 minutes west longitude.

Approaching the site from the north, Safety Board investigators found two broken No. 4 strand copper distribution lines suspended from two 10-foot-wide wooden cross arms that were connected to two wooden utility poles. The cross arm on the east side of the aircraft's path was broken and partially separated from the utility pole. The height of the wire prior to impact was about 39 feet according to utility company repair personnel. The distance between the two supporting utility poles was 135 feet.

About 100 feet further south of the wires several mature pine trees showed evidence of limb and trunk breakage. Portions of the right wing were found in the limbs and around the base of one of the larger trees. The aircraft fuselage was resting nose down in the side yard on the west side of a residence at 1025 Summit Street, Crestline. This location was about 150 feet south of the broken utility lines. The aircraft was found on a magnetic heading of about 180 degrees.

There was a strong odor of fuel at the site and fuel was observed leaking from the lines during the recovery. The fuel color, blue, was consistent with 100-octane low lead aviation fuel.

An examination of the main landing gear position and witness marks were consistent with the gear in the extended position.

The propeller exhibited S-bending along with the fracture of one blade about 8 inches inboard from the tip. The hub had separated from the propeller flange.

The engine mounts were broken; however, the control cables and wiring bundles still connected the engine to the fuselage.

After recovery, the aircraft was laid out in a two-dimensional plane for further examination. All flight control surfaces were accounted for and control continuity was established to the cockpit.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was conducted on May 8, 1998, by the San County Coroner's Office, with specimens retained for toxicological examination. The toxicological test results were negative for alcohol and all screened drug substances except acetaminophen. Acetaminophen is, according to Taber's Medical Cyclopedia, an antipyretic analgesic.

TEST AND RESEARCH

The engine was recovered by Air Transport, Compton, California, and shipped by certified carrier to the engine manufacturer's facility in Mobile, Alabama, for a teardown examination. The examination, conducted by the manufacturer, was supervised by a Safety Board investigator and an FAA inspector. The findings contained in the manufacturer's report are appended to this report.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The pilot was in the process of buying the aircraft and had assumed the responsibility of operating the aircraft from the registered owner.

The pilot's insurance company reported that his last biennial flight review (BFR) was done in October 1996. The specific date or aircraft make and model used in the BFR was not stated. The pilot reported 700 hours in the same make and model aircraft in the same application.

Total flight time, total fuel consumption, and fuel remaining at the time of the accident were estimates. The estimates were based on calculations made available to Safety Board investigators by the aircraft manufacturer. The route of flight was presumed to be direct from St. George to the accident site.

The aircraft wreckage was released to Steve Lora, USAIG, a representative of the registered owner, on July 28, 1999.

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