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N757NU accident description

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Tail numberN757NU
Accident dateDecember 20, 1999
Aircraft typeCessna 152
LocationN. Stonington, CT
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On December 20, 1999, about 1400 Eastern Standard Time, the substantially damaged wreckage of a Cessna 152, N757NU, was found on a private grass airstrip in North Stonington, Connecticut. The certificated airline transport pilot was fatally injured. There was no flight plan filed for the flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to interviews with the pilot's family, friends, and neighbors, the pilot was last seen during the last week of November or first week of December 1999. The pilot's daughter stated that the pilot "made an effort to make it difficult to contact him," and lived his life as a "hermit or recluse."

The pilot owned the grass airstrip. The runway was oriented on a 01/19 degree direction, and measured approximately 1,600 feet long, by 50 feet wide. The left side of the southern runway was lined by a 4 foot high stone wall, which separated the runway from a wooded area.

There were no known witnesses to the accident that occurred at approximately 41 degrees, 25 minutes north latitude, and 71 degrees, 52 minutes west longitude.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot was employed as an airline pilot until his retirement on June 24, 1991. At the time of his retirement, he had accumulated over 21,000 flight hours. The pilot held an airline transport pilot certificate with several type ratings for transport category, multi-engine airplanes. He also held a commercial pilot certificate for single engine land airplanes.

The pilot's log book was not recovered. On his most recent FAA third class medical certificate which was issued on November 11, 1999, the pilot entered "?" in the space for total flight time. Additionally, he reported no flight time accumulated in the six months prior to the examination. The medical certificate issued to the pilot prior to November 1999, was on March 9, 1993.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

Examination of the airplane's maintenance records revealed that the airplane's most recent annual inspection was performed on October 23, 1991, at a tachometer time of 380 hours. At the time of the accident, the airplane's tachometer time was observed to be 406.1 hours. The pilot's daughter stated that the pilot purchased the airplane more than 21 years before the accident.

AERODROME INFORMATION

According to the Connecticut Department of Transportation, the airstrip located on the pilot's property had never been inspected or licensed by the State of Connecticut.

WRECKAGE INFORMATION

Examination of the accident site revealed broken branches and thickets which began about 10 to 15 feet above the ground on the left side of the southern runway and extended for about 70 feet, to the accident airplane. In addition, blue and white paint transfer was observed on stones located on the ground near the wreckage. The airplane came to rest upright and partially on top of the stonewall, about 141 feet from the beginning of the runway, on a magnetic heading of 40 degrees.

The right side cabin door was found open, while the left cabin door was jammed in a closed position. The pilot's body was found on the runway, 36 feet west of the wreckage. Both seat belts were found tucked inside their respective seats, and the airplane was equipped with shoulder harnesses.

All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the accident site. Both wings remained attached to the fuselage. The left wing tip was crushed aft and up. The outboard third of the right wing leading edge was bent upward 45 degrees, which revealed the forward spar. The flap handle in the cockpit was observed in the 5 degree position. The flap actuator jackscrew measured 1.5 inches, which corresponded to a 5 degree flap setting.

Flight control continuity was confirmed from the aileron, elevator and rudder control surfaces to the pilot's yoke. The propeller remained attached to engine. The outboard 6 inches of one blade was bent forward and down about 90 degrees. The outboard 6 inches of the other propeller blade was bent forward and up about 45 degrees. The engine was rotated by hand after the propeller was removed. Valve train continuity and thumb compression was confirmed to all cylinders. In addition, the left magneto produced spark on all towers. The right magneto was removed and produced spark on all towers when rotated by hand.

Fuel was found in the carburetor bowl; however, sediment consistent with rust was observed at the bottom of the carburetor bowl. The carburetor "finger" screen, and the gascolator screen exhibited evidence of corrosion; however, they were not obstructed. The oil filter was removed and absent of debris.

The airplane was equipped with a Dorne and Margolin, Inc., emergency locator transmitter (ELT), which was located in the airplane's empennage. The ELT was found in the "AUTO" position and contained a battery expiration date label of January 2001. The ELT did not function when tested, and it was retained for further examination.

It was noted that the airplane's navigation, rotating beacon, landing, and taxi lights were observed in the "OFF" position.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot, on December 21, 1999, by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Farmington, Connecticut.

The pilot's time of death could not be determined. According to the Chief Medical Examiner, the pilot may have been deceased for "several days, up to several weeks" before the wreckage was discovered. The cause of death listed on the autopsy report was "multiple blunt traumatic injuries." Additionally, the Chief Medical Examiner described the pilot's injures as "serious, but not immediately life threatening, if sophisticated medical care had been available."

The toxicological testing report from the FAA Toxicology Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, was negative for drugs and alcohol for the pilot.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

On January 22, 2000, the ELT was examined at it's manufacturer, AIL Systems Inc., Bohemia, New York, under the supervision of a Safety Board investigator. The examination revealed a faulty "Q2" transmitter which precluded the ELT from operating. After the faulty transmitter was replaced, the ELT tested satisfactorily.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

There was no known insurance coverage for the accident airplane. A copy of the NTSB wreckage release form was given to a representative of the Connecticut State Police, on December 21, 1999.

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