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N6433B accident description

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Tail numberN6433B
Accident dateApril 24, 1999
Aircraft typeCessna 172
LocationSavannah, GA
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On April 24, 1999, about 1520 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172, N6433B, collided with trees at the departure end of runway 30, while attempting a go-around at the Hodges Airpark, in Savannah, Georgia. The airplane was operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91, and visual flight rules. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident and no flight plan was filed for the local pleasure flight. The private pilot sustained serious injuries, the passenger sustained fatal injuries, and the airplane was destroyed. There was a post-crash fire. The flight originated from Hodges Airpark about 1400, the same day.

According to witnesses, when the flight departed runway 30, the winds were calm. The witnesses stated that, when the airplane returned about an hour later, the winds had increased to about 15 knots, and were favoring runway 12. Witnesses said they saw the airplane approach on runway 30 and attempt to make a downwind landing. Witnesses stated that when the airplane was about mid-field, it was 10 to 15 feet above the ground and they heard the engine go to full power. However, the airplane did not climb or accelerate. A few seconds later, witnesses said that the airplane impacted trees at the end of runway 30 and burst into flames.

According to the pilot, he made the approach with flaps at 40 degrees. Upon touchdown, he felt the tailwind push the aircraft forward and stated that the passenger fell forward upsetting the weight and balance of the airplane. The pilot stated that he decided the landing could not be saved and applied full power to go around. He further stated in a telephone interview that he only retracted the flaps to 30 degrees. He said the airplane did not gain airspeed or altitude and impacted the trees at the end of the runway. He stated that after the crash, he turned off all switches and the airplane exploded into flames. The pilot exited via the passenger door, and crawled away from the fire. He stated that the passenger was unresponsive following the crash.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot was certificated as a private pilot, single engine land. The pilot reported having 111 hours total time. The pilot's most recent 3rd Class Medical examination was done on March 12, 1998, with no waivers or limitations. Additional pilot information may be obtained in the report on pages 2 and 3 under the section titled Owner/Operator and First Pilot Information.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The Cessna 172 was a four (4) seat, single engine airplane, and was registered to Ronnie H. Anderson and Robert J. Hodges of Metter, Georgia. The airplane was based at the Hodges Airpark, and was utilized as a rental airplane. The airplane was last inspected on September 10, 1998.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. Additional meteorological information may be obtained in this report on page 4, under the section titled Weather Information.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The runway was examined and no tire marks were observed on the turf runway that could be associated with the mishap airplane. The airplane came to rest in a stand of trees to the left side of runway 30. The trees were approximately four or five inches in diameter. Many of the trees down the center of the 45-foot energy path were cut at the nine to ten foot level. Other trees along the energy path were cut at higher levels, some approximately 25 to 30 feet. Around the engine and right wing, the fallen trees were observed with the tops opposite the airplane's heading. The approximate width of the energy path was 24 feet.

The airplane came to rest beyond the threshold of the runway at Global Positioning System (GPS) Coordinance N31.59.13 and W081.15.03, and a post-impact fire consumed the cabin and left wing. The right wing had some fire damage but was not destroyed. The tailcone and empennage, from approximately Body Station (BS) 140 aft, was fire and impact damaged, but not destroyed. The tailcone and empennage were heading 320 degrees. The engine was observed with a more northerly heading. Both of the above items came to rest listing to the right.

The main landing gear was observed between the frames of the rear bench seat and the two front seats. The engine mount remained attached to the firewall, but was not attached to the engine at one observed location.

Examination of the engine on-scene, found that it had fire damage and the top cowling was destroyed by fire. The lower cowling remained on the engine. Engine continuity was confirmed by hand rotation of the propeller and visual observation of rotating gears in the accessory section. In addition, the generator was observed rotating and the magnetos could be heard clicking. The magnetos were fire damaged and no spark was observed form their leads.

The spark plugs were removed and were removed and examined and were unremarkable. When the propeller was rotated by hand, air was expelled from the spark plug holes of all cylinders, except cylinder number 4. The number 4 cylinder was removed and no anomalies were noted. The valves were not staked during the test. The propeller exhibited "S" bending on one blade, but had no chordwise scratching. The carburetor heat at the box was observed in the "on" position. The mixture was observed in the full rich position. The throttle position could not be confirmed due to impact damage.

Fuel was observed leaking from the carburetor bowl. The left fuel tank was destroyed by fire and the right tank was breached. The fuel strainer did not contain fuel. Continuity in the fuel system could not be established due to fire damage.

All control surfaces were located at the main wreckage. However, the left wing was completely consumed by fire, leaving the spar, pieces of wingtip and only small portions of the flap and aileron for examination. The bellcranks for the flap and aileron were located and had control cables attached. The right wing was lying parallel to, and north of the wreckage. The wing was still attached to the control column by cables. The flap bellcrank was visible due to mishap damage and the aileron bellcrank was viewed with the inspection cover removed. The flight control cables were attached at their respective bellcranks. The elevator was attached to the horizontal stabilizers at all hinge locations. The left elevator moved freely, up and down, without moving the right elevator surface. The torque tuba adapter no longer had rivet heads visible on its surface. A shiny metallic surface could be seen through some of the observed rivet locations. The right elevator remained functional and operated cables in the tailcone area.

The elevator trim tab rod actuator was measured to have 1.5 inches of protrusion. The right elevator, horizontal stabilizer, and elevator trim tab were bent upward near the tip. The horizontal stabilizer and elevators were fire damaged. The left elevator had the least fire damage. The rudder was observed attached to the vertical stabilizer. The rudder was bent right near mid-span and was not connected to the vertical stabilizer at the upper hinge location. The rudder cables were attached to the rudder and the cables could be observed moving in the tailcone while moving the rudder by hand. The vertical stabilizer was fire damaged near its root. The dorsal fin was fire damaged for most of its length. The rudder was observed to have impact damage, but no fire damage.

Control cable continuity was established from the primary flight surfaces to their respective cockpit controls, not including the rudder. The dual control column remained intact, with aileron chains remaining on their sprockets, but the yokes were destroyed. The rudder cables were not observed attached to the torque tubes. Continuity was established from the torque tubes to the nose wheel. Continuity to the elevator trim tab was established from the tab to the forward tailcone. Some continuity was obstructed by cables passing through molten material. The flap handle was in the 10-degree position and some of the cables were cut to allow for on-site examination.

The cabin area was destroyed by fire. The most readily recognized parts were the firewall, right door, front and rear seats, flap handle and the main landing gear. No cabin skins were observed, and the firewall was freestanding with the engine, nose wheel and control column.

Examination of the airplane found no pre-existing engine or airframe discrepancies. The cabin and empennage sections of the airplane sustained significant fire damage.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The wreckage was released to the owner, Robert J. Hodges, 500 Hinesville Road, Savannah, Georgia, 31419, on April 25, 1999.

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