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N5096W accident description

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Tail numberN5096W
Accident dateJuly 21, 1993
Aircraft typePiper PA-28
LocationMorriston, FL
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On July 21, 1993, about 0900 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-28-160, N5096W, registered to JR Aircraft, Inc., operated by Knight Flight Limited, collided with a radio antenna tower guy wire near Morriston, Florida, while on a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed in the area at the time and no flight plan was filed. The airplane was destroyed and the commercial-rated pilot, pilot-rated front seat passenger, and two rear seat passengers were fatally injured. The flight originated about 0757 from the Sanford Regional Airport, Sanford, Florida.

The flight departed and while in contact with the Jacksonville, Florida, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC), an unknown occupant advised the controller at 0849.49 that the flight was descending to 1500 feet. The controller acknowledged this and advised the crew that the flight was 18 miles west-northwest of the Ocala VOR, radar services were terminated, squawk code 1200, change to advisory frequency. The instructions were acknowledged and there was no further radio contact with the Jacksonville, Florida, ARTCC.

According to a witness who lives south of the crash site and was outside at the time of the accident, he stated that fog or low clouds were in the area but the top of the radio tower was visible from his position. Before the accident, he did observe the top strobe on the tower operating. He also stated that he observed the airplane emerge from the base of the clouds flying northwesterly and heard the engine revolutions increase. He then saw the airplane bank to the right and the left wing separated after it contacted a guy wire. The engine and propeller assembly also separated from the airframe. The wreckage then descended and impacted the ground. Before the airplane collided with the guy wire, he stated that the engine sounded normal.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

First and second pilot information is contained respectively in the First Pilot Information section and Supplement E. No determination could be made as to seating positions of the front seat occupants. Also, no determination could be made as to who was flying the airplane at the time of the accident.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

Information regarding the airplane is contained in the Aircraft Information section.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

Information regarding the weather is contained in the Weather Information section. Additionally, a witness near the crash site reported low clouds/fog near the tower. According to FAA personnel, the day before the accident flight, two weather briefings were obtained for a flight to Panama City, Florida, but on the day of the accident, no weather briefing was obtained for the flight.

COMMUNICATIONS

At 0849.49, a crewmember advised the Jacksonville ARTCC controller that the flight was descending to 1,500 feet. The controller acknowledged this and advised the crew that radar services were terminated.

Review of recorded radar data indicates that the last radar return which corresponds to the discrete transponder code assigned to the airplane was at 0850.05. At that time the altitude encoder indicated that the airplane was at 2,000 feet and the position was 29 degrees, 15 minutes, 12 seconds North Latitude, 082 degrees, 29 minutes, 18 minutes West Longitude. The tower is located at 29 degrees, 15 minutes, 32 seconds North Latitude, 082 degrees, 34 minutes, 3 seconds West Longitude.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT

Examination of the airplane at the crash site revealed that the left wing separated from the airplane at the wing root and the engine also separated from the airplane. Examination of the fracture surfaces of the left wing revealed signatures consistent with overload failure. The propeller was not located. Examination of the fracture surfaces of the crankshaft at the propeller attach point revealed signatures consistent with overload failure. Examination of the left wing revealed evidence of a wire strike adjacent to the wing root. Examination of the airframe revealed no evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction of the aileron, rudder, or elevator flight controls. Examination of the engine revealed that the carburetor was impact damaged but there was no evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction of the engine.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL

Postmortem examinations of the occupants were conducted by William F. Hamilton, M.D., with the cause of death for all listed as multiple massive blunt traumatic injuries.

Toxicological testing was performed on specimens of all occupants by the Doctors & Physicians Laboratory, Leesburg, Florida. The test results were negative for ethanol for all occupants. Toxicology reports for the rear seat passengers are not included in this report. Testing of the specimens of the front seat occupants was also performed by the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology. Carbon monoxide and cyanide testing was not performed on specimens due to insufficient Hgb containing tissue. With respect to Richard Corbett, the results were positive for ethanol (28 mg/dL) from liver samples, and 88mg/dL from kidney samples, but the condition of the specimens received was listed as marked putrefaction. The results of testing for the listed drugs was reported as negative. With respect to Alfred Fenech, testing was negative for ethanol and listed drugs, but the condition of the specimen was also listed as marked putrefaction.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

Review of recorded radar data from 0721.39 to 0749.30 revealed that the encoded altitude did not indicate lower than 2,400 feet nor higher than 2,700 feet. The requested altitude to fly during that time was 2,500 feet.

ADDITIONAL DATA/INFORMATION

According to travel itinerary, the flight leader and organizer was Richard Corbett. The flight to Panama City was planned for the day before.

On October 9, 1984, the FAA determined that the proposed antenna tower was no hazard to air navigation and at the proposed height (1,350 feet above ground level) the tower would have no effects on instrument and visual flight operations or procedures, existing or planned. On April 24, 1985, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a construction permit for the antenna tower with a required completion date of April 24, 1986. On September 13, 1989, the FCC authorized installation of obstruction lights on the tower antenna per FCC form 715-A, Paragraphs B, E, and H.

At 0300 local time on the day of the accident, a radio station employee checked the operation of the tower lights via a remote control unit which indicated that there was no failure or malfunction of the lights. Additionally, at 0743 local time on the day of the accident, another radio station employee checked the remote control unit and stated that there was no indication of failure or malfunction of the tower lights.

Located inside the wreckage was a Jacksonville sectional aeronautical chart dated March, 4, 1993. The tower was depicted on the chart.

Examination of the tower revealed that the airplane impacted the top northeast guy wire about 100 to 200 feet from the top attach point on the tower.

The wreckage was released to Mr. Gene Sheil on August 31, 1993.

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