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N2161D accident description

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Tail numberN2161D
Accident dateJuly 22, 1996
Aircraft typeBeech Bonanza(AF)
Beech D35(NTSB)
LocationYellow Pine, ID
Near 45.05 N, -115.43333 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On July 22, 1996, about 2000 mountain daylight time, N2161D, a Beech D35, operated by the owner/pilot, collided with terrain during an uncontrolled descent and was destroyed near Yellow Pine, Idaho. There was a ground fire. The commercial pilot, the sole occupant, was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed. The personal flight departed from Chamberlain, Idaho, and was en route to Yellow Pine. The flight was conducted under 14 CFR 91.

According to a friend of the accident pilot, who was flying a Cessna 180 at the time of the accident, the accident pilot and eight others had flown to Idaho from Texas for a fishing trip a few days prior to the accident. The Cessna 180 pilot stated that the accident pilot had been to Idaho "four or five times before." The airplanes arrived on Thursday night, July 18, 1996, at Johnson Creek, Idaho. Two days prior to the accident, the airplanes, including the accident airplane, refueled at McCall, Idaho. The Cessna 180 pilot stated that the accident airplane was "topped off" with fuel, then flown to Johnson Creek. The accident airplane was not flown on the following day, July 21.

On the day of the accident, the accident airplane was flown by the accident pilot from Johnson Creek to Chamberlain, Idaho, for more fishing. Later that day, the Cessna 180 pilot and the accident pilot, along with another pilot, arrived at the Chamberlain airstrip to return to Johnson Creek. The Cessna 180 pilot stated that the accident pilot "... gave no indication of a [physical] problem. He was not overly tired or feeling poorly." The Cessna 180 pilot also stated that the accident pilot made no mention of an airplane problem.

The Cessna 180 pilot stated that he departed from the airstrip first in his Cessna 180 and continued to circle the airstrip. He stated that a Cessna 170B took off next, followed by the accident airplane. The Cessna 180 pilot stated that he then proceeded on to Johnson Creek, after seeing that his two friends had departed safely .

The Cessna 180 pilot stated that he heard the accident pilot radio that he was changing frequencies from 122.9 to 122.75, presumably to avoid the chatter of 122.9. The Cessna 180 pilot stated that the accident pilot was "about 2 or 3 minutes out of Big Creek" at the time, heading south toward Johnson creek at about 9,500 feet. The Cessna 180 pilot then heard the pilot of a Cessna 206 radio that he saw the accident airplane passing about 200 feet underneath him. The Cessna 206 pilot wanted to talk to the accident pilot, and the Cessna 180 pilot radioed that he might want to try to raise the accident pilot on 122.9.

The Cessna 180 pilot also stated that the accident pilot was not flying in close formation with anyone, and clear, calm, daylight conditions existed at the time of the accident.

According to another friend of the accident pilot, who was piloting a Cessna 170B at the time of the accident, there was "nothing abnormal" with the takeoff of the accident airplane from Chamberlain. The Cessna 170B pilot then heard the accident pilot radio that he was "going to look at Flossie Lake" to the west. (Flossie lake is located about 5 miles west southwest of Chamberlain, and is where the accident pilot and the Cessna 170B pilot had been fishing).

The Cessna 170B pilot then remembered the accident pilot's airplane coming up along side of his airplane. He stated that the accident airplane was about 1/4 mile off the Cessna 170B's right wingtip at an altitude of about 9,200 feet. The Cessna 170B pilot noted that the accident airplane's landing gear was retracted, and he did not notice if it's flaps were down.

The Cessna 170B pilot stated that the accident pilot radioed that he was going to turn to the right, and he observed the accident airplane initiate a "long, slow turn to the right." This was the last time that the Cessna 170B pilot saw the accident airplane. A few minutes later, the Cessna 170B pilot heard the accident pilot radio that he was over Big Creek. The Cessna 170B pilot stated that the accident airplane must have somehow got in front of him, because he had not reached Big Creek yet. A few moments later, the Cessna 170B pilot heard the accident pilot radio that he was going to change frequencies to 122.9, and that his voice "sounded fine." This was the last time the Cessna 170B pilot heard the accident pilot. Almost immediately thereafter, the Cessna 170B pilot heard the pilot of a Cessna 206 radio that he saw the accident airplane flying about 200 feet beneath him and the Cessna 206 pilot appeared to be annoyed by the near miss.

The Cessna 170B pilot also stated that clear, calm, daylight conditions existed at the time of the accident, and that the accident pilot gave no indication that he was having problems with his health or the condition of his airplane prior to departure or during the accident flight.

The airplane was missing until July 25, 1996, when it was found in a remote mountainous valley at the following coordinates: 45 degrees, 03.78 minutes North; 115 degrees, 26.92 minutes West. The location was 22 nautical miles south of the airplane's last departure point, and 9 nautical miles north of its destination.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The accident airplane, a 1953 Beech model D35 Bonanza, had been owned and operated by the pilot since 1985. The four-seat aircraft was powered by a single 205-horsepower Continental engine. The airplane's maintenance records were presumed to have been destroyed during the accident and were not recovered.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

According to FAA records, the pilot, age 80, was issued an FAA commercial pilot certificate with ratings for single-engine land, multi-engine land, and instrument airplanes. He was also issued a certified flight instructor certificate in 1971, and held an FAA certified airframe and powerplant mechanic license. The accident pilot had also been type-rated in Convair 240, 340 and 440 airplanes, as well as the Douglas DC-3, DC-B226, and HS-125 airplanes.

The pilot indicated that he had logged a total of 9,530 hours of flight time on the date of his most recent FAA medical application (attached) on February 1, 1996. His personal flight log book was never recovered.

An examination of the pilot's FAA medical records revealed that the pilot had been issued an FAA Third Class Medical Certificate on February 1, 1996, with the limitation that he "must wear lenses for distant vision, and possess glasses for near vision." No recorded history of cardiovascular anomalies were found.

Several documents were found in the medical records that detailed the pilot's history of a "retained kidney stone." One letter, dated April 21, 1987, stated that the pilot "...has a history of renal stones and his last examination revealed a 2x3mm left renal calcification." In a letter from the FAA to the pilot dated May 28, 1991, the pilot was cautioned: "Because of your history of kidney stones, operation of an aircraft is prohibited at any time new symptoms or adverse changes occur or any time medication is required."

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane wreckage was examined at the accident site five days after the accident on July 27, 1996. The airplane came to rest in wooded, mountainous terrain near a drainage, about 8,400 feet above mean sea level (msl). Steep, rising terrain surrounded the accident side to the south and east. The location of the accident site was 22 nautical miles south of the airplane's last departure point, and 9 nautical miles north of its destination. An examination of the surrounding area did not reveal any evidence of sheared treetops or a swath path. One tree, about 80 feet in height and located about 15 feet from the wreckage, had several broken tree limbs on its north side; this was the only tree found with any evidence of fresh breaks. The breaks were located about 15 feet above the ground, and one limb had been cleanly sliced off at an oblique angle. All of the airplane wreckage and broken tree limbs were found within an area of about 25 feet by 40 feet.

The fuselage was found right side up and oriented along a magnetic bearing of 110 degrees. The empennage was twisted to the right (looking forward from aft) about 30 degrees. A ground scar measuring about one wing-span in length and about five inches in depth was found between the damaged tree and the right side of the fuselage. About six feet of the outboard portion of the right wing was found 10 feet from the ground scar. The right wing-mounted landing light was found in this scar. A crater measuring about 2 feet in length, width, and depth was found at the inboard end of the ground scar. The crater was located about 2 feet from the engine.

No evidence of an in-flight fire, in-flight explosion, or in-flight structural failure was found. The entire cockpit and cabin area had been consumed in a post-crash fire. All primary and secondary flight control surfaces were accounted for at the accident site. Wing flap position could not be determined due to fire and impact damage. The left wing was found intact with no significant "accordion" crush damage on its leading edge. The landing gear were found in the retracted position.

An examination of the engine did not reveal any evidence of catastrophic failure. The engine was found in an upright position with the propeller attached. Crankshaft continuity was confirmed. An examination of both metal propeller blades revealed distinct "S" bending, chordwise scratching, and leading edge gouging. One of the blades had its tip sheared off.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

According to Mr. Marvin Heikkila, Valley County Coroner, McCall, Idaho, an autopsy could not be performed on the pilot because of a lack of a suitable specimen A toxicological analysis (report attached) was performed on some specimens taken from the pilot by the FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The aircraft wreckage was released to Mr. Jay Pyle, Specialty Aircraft Company, Redmond, Oregon, July 29, 1996.

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