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N2354J accident description

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Tail numberN2354J
Accident dateJuly 26, 2007
Aircraft typeBeech BE-23
LocationScience Hill, KY
Near 37.201389 N, -84.593611 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On July 26, 2007, about 1817 eastern daylight time, a Beech BE-23, N2354J, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees near Science Hill, Kentucky. The certificated private pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight, which departed Moore-Murrell Airport (MOR), Morristown, Tennessee, at approximately 1700, destined for Capital City Airport (FFT), Frankfort, Kentucky. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, the pilot had recently purchased the airplane. The pilot was to have met his former spouse at FFT, but had contacted her by cell phone while airborne at approximately 1530 to advise her that he was experiencing some turbulence and he would be late, as he had to "fly around some weather." She stated that she tried to call him back later, but could not "get an answer."

The accident occurred during the hours of daylight. The wreckage was located in a heavily-wooded area, approximately 6 miles north of Somerset, Kentucky. The main wreckage came to rest on its left side in an area that was surrounded by numerous trees; there was no linear ground scar observed. The initial point of impact was indicated by tree damage above the main wreckage. There were several broken tree limbs adjacent to the main wreckage. Examination of the accident site revealed the smell and presence of automobile gasoline residue on the surrounding foliage. All major components of the airplane were located at the accident site.

Examination of the airplane revealed that, the left and right main landing gear had separated from their mounts; however, the nose landing gear had remained attached. The left wing had separated approximately 12 inches outboard of the left fuel cap. The inboard portion of the wing remained attached to the fuselage at the forward and aft wing attach fittings and was deflected aft approximately 40 degrees. The left wing tip had also separated from the outboard portion of the wing and the left wing flap was discovered approximately 15 feet behind the main wreckage. The left wing flap trailing edge had a round indentation approximately 3 inches deep and 12 inches wide. Approximately 2 inches of the inboard portion of the left flap was rolled upwards and outboard. The left aileron remained attached at all hinge locations. The upper inboard portion of the left aileron was crushed outboard approximately 1 inch. The left fuel cap was intact and engaged in its receptacle and the fuel cap o-ring was undamaged.

The right wing remained attached to the fuselage at both the forward and aft wing attach fittings. The leading edge was crushed aft and down along its entire length. Approximately 3 feet of the outboard portion of the wing leading edge was deflected aft at an approximate 45-degree angle. The forward main wing spar was deflected aft and down approximately 12 inches outboard of the wing attach fitting. The right flap remained attached at all hinge locations. A round indentation in the inboard portion of the flap trailing edge approximately 2 inches deep and 10 inches wide was visible. The lower leading edge skin of the flap exhibited a tear approximately 2 inches wide that started at the apex of the leading edge and continued into the flap approximately 4 inches. The right aileron remained attached to the wing at all hinge locations. The aft wing spar and outboard aileron hinge were deflected aft approximately 4 inches. The inboard portion of the trailing edge of the aileron was crushed and the right wing tip had separated, from the outboard portion of the wing, and was found approximately 10 feet from the main wreckage. The right fuel cap was intact and engaged in its receptacle and the fuel cap o-ring was undamaged.

The empennage remained attached to the aft fuselage. The stabilator remained attached to the empennage at both hinge locations. The left portion of the stabilator was found separated approximately 4 inches outboard of the left stabilator hinge and was found approximately 6 feet right of the main wreckage. The leading edge of the left portion of the stabilator was crushed in approximately 12 inches at mid-span. The right portion of the stabilator was crushed in approximately 2 inches along its entire length. The stabilator trim tab was found separated into two pieces approximately 2 feet outboard on the right portion of the stabilator; however, both pieces remained attached to the stabilator. The vertical stabilizer remained attached to the empennage. The leading edge of the vertical stabilizer was crushed in to the aft spar. The rudder had separated from the vertical stabilizer and was found approximately 20 feet aft of the main wreckage.

Flight control continuity was confirmed from the forward elevator and rudder bellcranks to the aft rudder and elevator bellcranks. Continuity was also confirmed from the right aileron chain to the right aileron bellcrank, and the left aileron chain to the left aileron bellcrank.

Examination of the cockpit revealed that, the flap handle was in the flaps up position and the stabilator pitch trim was approximately 2 degrees tab down. The throttle and mixture controls were both full forward. The master and fuel boost switches were on. The magneto/starter switch was in the both position; however, the fuel primer was unlocked, and the fuel selector was found to be halfway between the "L TANK" and "R TANK" positions.

Examination of the engine revealed that, the engine had remained attached to the airframe, the propeller was still attached, and both blades exhibited aft bending. The blades were free of rotational scoring and tip twisting. Residual amounts of automotive fuel were found in the aircraft fuel system. Examination of the fuel system revealed evidence of water contamination located within the main fuel strainer bowl and the fuel boost pump. Continuity of the crankshaft, camshaft, valve train, and accessory drives was established. All four cylinders produced compression when the crankshaft was rotated. A lighted bore scope was used to examine the internal top end components, and no preimpact anomalies were revealed. The spark plugs were light gray in color with the exception of the No. 2 cylinder top and bottom spark plugs, which were medium brown. The carburetor remained intact on the engine and contained a residual amount of automotive fuel. The throttle valve was full open. The mixture control was in the 3/4 rich position, and the carburetor heat valve was off. The accelerator pump operated. The carburetor fuel inlet screen contained a small amount of debris; however, the screen was not obstructed. The carburetor bowl contained a residual amount of automotive fuel and dark brown stains were observed at the low point of the bowl. The carburetor venturi was intact. The needle valve was checked and operated. The engine-driven fuel pump was found intact and secure on the engine, and contained a residual amount of automotive fuel. The pump was actuated by hand and a pumping action was noted. The fuel pump was opened for examination and the internal diaphragms and valves were intact. Corrosion was noted on the interior walls of the pump chambers.

According to FAA records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued on October 29, 1984. He reported 387 total hours of flight experience on that date.

According to FAA and maintenance records, the airplane was manufactured in 1963. The airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on January 18, 2007. At the time of the inspection, the airplane had accrued 2,350 total hours of operation.

A weather observation taken about 1 minute before the accident at Somerset, Kentucky recorded the wind as 250 degrees at 7 knots, visibility 10 miles, sky clear, temperature 88 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 64 degrees Fahrenheit, and an altimeter setting of 30.04 inches of mercury.

A toxicology screen performed by FAA's Civil Aeromedical Institute revealed 239 (md/dl) glucose detected in urine, 21 (mg/dl) glucose detected in vitreous, and 8.1 (%) hemoglobin A1C detected in blood, and the presence of gabapentin and carvedilol in both blood and urine.

The toxicology and autopsy reports and a copy of the pilot's last three medical certification applications were submitted to the National Transportation Safety Board's Medical Officer. According to his report, the pilot's medical history included the following conditions: diabetes mellitus, hypertension, coronary artery disease with congestive heart failure, emplacement of a cardiac defibrillator/pacemaker in 2002, and emplacement of multiple coronary stents. The autopsy report noted that, "[the pilot] died as a result of multiple fractures and internal injuries."

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