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N35112 accident description

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Tail numberN35112
Accident dateMarch 08, 1994
Aircraft typePiper J3C
LocationPembroke Pines, FL
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF THE FLIGHT

On March 8, 1994, at 0741 eastern standard time, a Piper J3C-65, N35112, registered to Aerial Sign Company, Inc., crashed near North Perry Airport, Pembroke Pines, Florida, while on a 14 CFR Part 91, aerial banner tow flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed. The aircraft was destroyed and the commercial-rated pilot was fatally injured. The flight originated at North Perry Airport on March 8, 1994, at 0710.

Witnesses reported seeing the aircraft climbing to the north with an aerial banner in tow. The aircraft then turned toward the west. At an altitude of about 300 feet the aircraft appeared "to stop in the air", the left wing dropped, and the aircraft entered a left spin. The aircraft's engine noise then ceased. The aircraft descended in the spin and impacted the ground in a nose-down attitude, coming to rest with the tail in the air vertically. The aerial banner and rope came down behind the aircraft.

Recorded communications from the Federal Aviation Administration, North Perry Airport Control Tower, indicated the pilot of N35112 requested taxi for takeoff to pick up a banner at 7:09:36. At 07:10:53, the flight was cleared for takeoff on runway 27 left and cleared for the three six low approach to pick up the banner. Between 07:11:03, and 07:23:39, the flight made 10 unsuccessful attempts to pick up the aerial banner. At 07:24:31, the pilot requested to land on runway 36 left. After landing she taxied to the banner pickup area.

At 07:30:23, the pilot reported she was again ready for takeoff on runway 36 left. Between 07:30:23, and 07:39:47, the flight made 10 more unsuccessful attempts to pick up the banner. The pilot successfully captured the banner on the 21st attempt at 07:40:47. At 07:40:50, the pilot reported she would be circling west of the airport. No further transmissions were received from the aircraft. At 0741 controllers observed the aircraft in a nose-down spinning attitude. See attached transcript of communications and air traffic controller statements.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

Pilot logbook records indicated the pilot received her FAA commercial pilot certificate on July 29, 1993. She had 240 total flight hours at this time. On August 26, 1993, the pilot received a banner towing checkout from an FAA inspector for .3 flight hours. She had 260 total flight hours at this time and 12.6 hours of pilot-in-command banner pickup practice. At the time of the accident the pilot had 437 total flight hours, 168 flight hours in the Piper J-3, and 146 total hours in banner towing operations.

Company personnel stated that on three occasions, November 1993, February 1994, and March 1994, the pilot was counseled about allowing the aircraft to get too slow after banner pickup and the making of uncoordinated turns at slow speed after banner pickup. For additional personnel information see pilot information contained in this report, witness statements, and pilot logbook pages attached to this report.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

Information on the aircraft is contained in this report under Aircraft Information.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. Meteorological information is contained in this report under Weather Information and in attachments.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The aircraft crashed in a construction area in the 8100 block of Pines Boulevard, Pembroke Pines, Florida. The aircraft came to rest on the south side of Pines Boulevard, about 150 feet west of University Drive. Witnesses stated the aircraft came to rest facing north, nose down, with the tail in the air vertically. The banner was draped behind the aircraft across a gas station to the southeast of the crash site. The aircraft's tail was lowered during attempts to rescue the pilot and the banner was recovered before the NTSB's arrival.

Examination of the crash site indicated the aircraft came to rest in one piece. All components necessary for flight were still attached to the aircraft wreckage. The wing leading edges were crushed aft from the wing tips to near the fuselage attach points. The engine was pushed aft into the cockpit area. Control cable continuity was established within the aileron, elevator, rudder, and elevator trim systems. The front control stick was found separated due to overstress at the base attach point. The elevator trim was found set 1 degree from the full nose up position. All banner tow hooks were found released. The rope for the banner being towed was found beginning 10 feet from the aircraft and extending southeast to where the banner had been recovered.

Examination of the aircraft fuel system indicated that uncontaminated automotive fuel was found in the engine fuel lines, airframe fuel lines, and in the nose, aft seat, and left wing root tanks. The fuel selector was found in the nose tank position. Both nose and rear seat fuel tanks had been ruptured allowing most of the fuel to leak out on to the ground.

Examination of the engine indicated the engine assembly was free to rotate and continuity was established within the engine assembly, valve train, and accessory drives. Each cylinder produced compression within manufacturer's limits. The spark plugs had a normal deposit coloring. The magneto switches were found in the on position and each magneto operated normally. The carburetor sustained impact damage causing separation of the top and bottom halves. The carburetor venturi was not recovered. The carburetor data plate was marked indicating a one piece venturi had been installed. The carburetor float was metal and was not ruptured. All jets were unobstructed.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

Post-mortem examination of the pilot was performed by Daniel M. Selove, M.D., Associate Medical Examiner, Broward County, Florida. The cause of death was multiple injuries due blunt trauma.

Post mortem toxicology studies on specimens obtained from the pilot was performed by Dennis V. Canfield, Ph.D., Manager FAA Toxicology Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Michael Wagner, Toxicologist, Broward Medical Examiner's Office, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The tests were negative for ethanol alcohol, carbon monoxide, basic, acidic, and neutral drugs. For additional medical and pathological information see Supplement K to this report.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The aircraft wreckage was released on March 8, 1994, to James Butler, Sr., President, Aerial Signs, Inc. Components retained by NTSB for examination were released to Mr. Butler on March 16, 1994.

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