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N306DJ accident description

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Tail numberN306DJ
Accident dateJuly 13, 2002
Aircraft typeCessna 177
LocationHana, HI
Near 20.786945 N, -156.121389 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On July 13, 2002, at 1611 Hawaiian standard time, a Cessna 177, N306DJ, collided with the ground under unknown circumstances in a grove of Eucalyptus trees near Hana, Hawaii. The private pilot/owner operated the airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The pilot and three passengers were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local area flight, and no flight plan had been filed. The flight departed Kahului International Airport (OGG), Maui, Hawaii, about 1400, and was scheduled to terminate at OGG. The wreckage was located at global positioning system (GPS) of 20 degrees 46.44 minutes north latitude and 156 degrees 06.46 minutes west latitude.

The flight was a subject of an Alert Notification (ALNOT) issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) at 2100 local time after being notified of the overdue airplane from a concerned family member. The Coast Guard initiated a search the following morning. The airplane was located on July 15, about 0750.

Air Traffic Control personnel from OGG were in contact with the pilot; however, they noted his radio was "scratchy, but loud and readable." The pilot requested a transition from Nakalele to Hana. The controller handling him at this point gave him a discrete transponder code and asked him to IDENT. The pilot complied, and the controller identified the radar contact 6.5 miles northwest of OGG. The controller contacted the Maui north sector, and then advised the accident airplane that his transition request had been approved. The controller advised the pilot that radar service had been terminated, but did not receive a response from the pilot. He observed the accident airplane continue on an eastbound heading, with a last noted position offshore near Pauwela.

There were no witnesses to the accident.

According to the detective's unit of the Maui Police Department, both of the adult males were seated in tandem on the left-hand side of the airplane. Two small children were seated in tandem on the right-hand side of the airplane. Family members indicated that the flight was to be a tour of the northeast coasts of the Moloka and Maui islands. The flight was to return by 1700 for a family function. The pilot intended to view some recently purchased property near the accident site.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

A review of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airman records revealed the pilot held a private pilot certificate with an airplane helicopter single engine land rating.

The pilot held a third-class medical certificate issued on June 7, 2001. It had no limitations or waivers.

An examination of the pilot's logbook indicated an estimated total flight time of 136.2 hours. He logged 28.2 hours in the last 90 days, and .8 hours in the last 30 days. He had an estimated 37.2 hours in this make and model.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane was a 1968 Cessna 177, serial number 17700764. A review of the airplane's logbooks revealed a total airframe time of 3,223.89 hours at the last annual inspection. An annual inspection was completed on October 1, 2001. The tachometer read 1,067.89 at the last inspection; the Hobbs hour meter read 2085 at the last inspection. The tachometer read 1,193.43 at the accident scene. The last maintenance on the airplane was performed on January 23, 2002, the tachometer read 1,105.67, and the airframe total time was 3,261.67 hours.

A Textron Lycoming O-360-A1A engine, serial number L-24923-36A, was installed on the airplane. Engine total time at the last annual inspection was 704.89 hours since the engine overhaul. The engine overhaul was completed on August 20, 2000.

Fueling records from Air Service Maui established that the airplane was last fueled on June 13, 2002, with the addition of 17.42 gallons of 100-Low Lead octane aviation fuel.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board, the FAA, Cessna, and Textron Lycoming examined the wreckage at the accident scene.

The accident site was located in the Nahiku rain forest area, about 3 miles northwest of the Hana Airport (HNM), Hana. The airplane wreckage was about 150 yards south of the Hana highway on the mauka (mountain) side of the highway about .4 miles east of mile marker 26. The airplane came to rest in a near vertical nose down attitude on the rain forest floor in a densely forested grove of Eucalyptus trees. An aerial reconnaissance was conducted of the area with no visible damage to the Eucalyptus treetops in the grove of trees. The fuselage of the airplane was uniformly crushed laterally from the nose past the aft bulkhead/empennage area. The propeller and crankshaft flange assembly was buried in the ground about 1 foot.

The accident site elevation was about 800 feet. Adjacent to the left wing was a large Eucalyptus tree. Multiple sections of tree bark had separated from the tree starting at a height of about 75 feet and culminating at the base of the tree. The left wing had a semicircular impact mark about midspan of the wing, with a brown color transfer similar to the Eucalyptus tree. The leading edge of the wing also had a small tree limb embedded in the impact area. Flight control continuity was established on scene.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Maui County Medical Examiner conducted an autopsy on the pilot on July 16, 2002. The FAA Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed a toxicological analysis, from samples obtained during the autopsy. The results of the analysis of the specimens were negative for carbon monoxide, and cyanide.

The report contained the following positive results under VOLATILES: 40 (mg/dL, mg/hg) ethanol detected in blood, 17 (mg/dL, mg/hg) ethanol detected in brain, 62 (mg/dL, mg/hg) ethanol detected in muscle, 2 (mg/dL, mg/hg) N-butanol detected in blood, 12 (mg/dL, mg/hg) N-propanol detected in blood, 2 (mg/dL, mg/hg) N-propanol detected in brain, 8 (mg/dL, mg/hg) (N-propanol detected in muscle, 11 (mg/dL, mg/hg) acetaldehyde detected in blood, and 7 (mg/dL, mg/hg) acetaldehyde detected in muscle.

In the NOTES section under volatiles it stated: "The ethanol found in this case may potentially be from postmortem ethanol formation and not from the ingestion of ethanol."

The report also contained the following positive results under DRUGS: 6.595 (ug/ml, ug/g) acetaminophen detected in blood.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

Pacific Helicopter's of Maui recovered the airplane on July 18, 2002. The airframe and power plant inspections were conducted at a hangar in Kahului on July 19, 2002. An inspection of the airframe revealed no discrepancies. Crush lines found on the fuselage and doorframe spar were measured and determined to be about an 80-degree angle relative to the longitudinal axis of the airplane. The left wing, about 2 feet outboard of the fuel filler, was crushed leading edge aft, with a brown colored mark that was perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the wing.

External examination of the engine revealed that the crankshaft flange was displaced about 5 degrees. The top spark plugs were removed. According to the Champion Aviation Check-A-Plug Chart AV-27, the spark plugs displayed coloration consistent with normal operation. The cylinder combustion chambers were inspected utilizing a lighted boroscope with no discrepancies found.

Mechanical continuity was established throughout the engine via manual rotation through the accessory section. Rotation produced thumb suction and compression in each cylinder in proper firing order, with valve train continuity established. Both propeller blades exhibited S-bending, leading edge gouging, and chordwise scratching. One of the propeller blade tips separated from the propeller blade.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The Safety Board investigator released the wreckage to the owner's representative July 19, 2002.

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