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N77RY accident description

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Tail numberN77RY
Accident dateJanuary 05, 2002
Aircraft typeBeech 95-B55
LocationOak Grove, LA
Near 32.963611 N, -91.418056 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On January 5, 2002, at 1010 central standard time, a Beech 95-B55 twin-engine airplane, N77RY, was destroyed when it impacted terrain while maneuvering following a loss of control near Oak Grove, Louisiana. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot. The instrument rated private pilot, who was the sole occupant, was fatally injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The flight originated from a private airstrip near Avon, Mississippi, approximately 0955, and was destined for Monroe, Louisiana.

According to local law enforcement officials, on January 4, 2002, approximately 0630, the pilot flew the accident airplane from Monroe to a private hunting ranch near Avon. The pilot was scheduled to return from the ranch on January 6, 2002. According to one of the family members, the pilot was concerned with the deteriorating weather conditions and elected to fly his aircraft back to Monroe before the weather got worse. The pilot then was going to drive his truck back to the ranch.

Two witnesses, who were traveling in a vehicle on state highway 585 reported that they observed the "brown twin-engine plane" as it crossed the highway. The airplane was traveling in a southwest direction, and they "notice[d] the unusual position of the plane flying. The manner in which it was flying looked sideways...The altitude look[ed] approx. 200-300 ft."

A witness, who was located north of the private Costello Airport (2LA7) north of Oak Grove, reported that approximately 1000, he heard the plane fly over his house and stepped outside of the house to see who it was. He observed the "Baron flying south at app. 300 - 350 ft above the ground. The wings were level. It was flying at reasonable speed. I thought it was Costello's Baron. I was curious to know why he was flying so low."

Another witness, who was located in an office at the Costello Airport, stated that he heard the airplane over fly the airport at what sounded like a "low altitude." The witness went outside and observed the airplane approximately 1/4 of a mile southeast of the airport, at 300 feet agl, in a steep left bank. The airplane then entered a spin, rotated 1-1.5 times and impacted the ground. The witness reported that the cloud base was approximately 500 feet agl.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with airplane single-engine and multi-engine land and instrument ratings. He was issued a third class medical certificate on July 10, 2000, with a limitation to wear corrective lenses. According to FAA records, the pilot listed a total of 1,509 hours of flight time on his last medical application. According to an insurance form, dated May 14, 2001, the pilot reported 1,081 flight hours logged in the Beechcraft Baron. The pilot's logbook was not located during the investigation. The pilot became the registered owner of the airplane in August 1994.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

A review of the aircraft's maintenance records revealed that the aircraft underwent its last annual inspection on November 1, 2001, at a total time of 3,155.1 hours. At the time of the last annual inspection, two Hartzell 3-bladed propellers were installed on the engines in accordance with Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) SA795CE replacing the original 2-bladed Hartzell propellers and changing the basic empty weight and center of gravity to 3,490.5 pounds and 77.65 inches aft of datum, respectively. During the last annual, the right elevator was removed for "reskin and bal[ance]" and was reinstalled "using new inboard bearings...and bushings." The elevator control cables were checked and set, and the rigging and travel were checked.

The left and right 260-horsepower Continental IO-470-L (21) engines were factory remanufactured and zero timed in October 1995 and June 1996, respectively. The left and right engines had accumulated a total of 710.0 and 631.4 hours, respectively, at the time of the accident. At the time of the accident, the airplane had accumulated a total of 3,187.3 hours.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

According to the FAA inspector, who responded to the accident site, the pilot obtained a weather briefing at 0825 from the DeRidder Flight Service Station (FSS), for a flight from Greenville, Mississippi, to Monroe. According to the FAA inspector, visual flight rules (VFR) was not recommended for the route of flight.

At 0953, the weather observation facility at the Monroe Regional Airport (MLU), located approximately 40 nautical miles southwest of the accident site, reported the wind from 040 degrees at 7 knots, visibility 5 statute miles in rain and mist, overcast ceiling 3,300 feet agl, temperature 2 degrees Celsius, dew point 1 degree Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 30.14 inches of mercury.

At 1053, the MLU weather observation facility reported the wind from 060 degrees at 7 knots, visibility 2.5 statute miles in heavy rain and mist, broken clouds at 3,400 feet and 4,600 feet, and overcast ceiling at 5,500 feet, temperature 2 degrees Celsius, dew point 1 degree Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 30.13 inches of mercury.

AIRPORT INFORMATION

The accident site was 1/4 mile southeast of the private Costello Airport, which featured a 3,500-foot paved runway 1-19. The private airport incorporated runway edge lights, a wind sock, and a global positioning system (GPS) approach for each runway.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane came to rest upright in a cotton field located at latitude 32 degrees 57 minutes 49 seconds north and longitude 91 degrees 25 minutes and 01 seconds west. A review of photographs taken by local law enforcement personnel revealed no ground impact marks except in the immediate vicinity of the propellers and under the nose. The smell of fuel was evident at the accident site and a rainbow sheen was evident in the water that was between the cotton field rows. The left wing remained attached to the fuselage and sustained impact damage from the bottom side upward. The right wing spar was separated from the fuselage; however, the wing remained attached to the fuselage via control cables. The right wing also sustained impact damage from the bottom side upward to a lesser extent than the left wing. The cockpit and cabin area sustained impact damage upward from the bottom. The nose, cockpit and fuselage also sustained some aft crushing. The instrument panel was found laying horizontally over the nose. The throw-over control yoke was separated at its pivot point and at the yoke mount. The yoke was also separated into three pieces. There were no shoulder harnesses installed in the aircraft. The empennage was intact and attached to the fuselage, and was angled upward approximately 35 degrees from the ground and canted approximately 15 degrees to the left. The engines remained attached to their wings; however, they were both canted to the right when viewed from behind. Both propellers were separated from the engine crankshafts just aft of the propeller mounting flanges. Both fracture surfaces displayed 45-degree shear lips. The left propeller displayed one blade that was bent aft with light leading edge rubbing at the tip, another blade was slightly bent, and the third blade displayed minor damage. The left propeller blades did not appear to be in the feathered position. The right propeller displayed two blades that were twisted toward low pitch, bent aft, and had leading edge gouges, and one blade displayed minor damage. The right propeller blades did not appear to be in the feathered position.

Flight control continuity was confirmed from the cabin area to the rudder and elevator. The rudder trim was set at a neutral position, the elevator trim was set approximately 6 degrees tab down, and the aileron trim tab on the left wing was set approximately 15 degrees tab down. The flap actuators were examined, and it was noted that the left jackscrew was fractured and the right actuator was set to the equivalent of a retracted position. The main landing gear were found in their respective wheel wells.

The aircraft was recovered to the private airport on January 6, 2002. The top spark plugs were removed from both engines, and the ignition leads were reattached. Both engines left and right magnetos were rotated manually and a spark was noted on the top right spark plugs. All of the spark plugs appeared to have little wear and no combustion deposits. The fuel lines between the fuel control unit and the fuel manifold on both engines were removed. The left engine fuel line was empty, and the right engine fuel line contained fuel. The aircraft was transported to Air Salvage of Dallas, Lancaster, Texas, for further examination.

PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot at Forensic Pathologists, Inc., Bossier City, Louisiana. A toxicology test was performed by the Federal Aviation Administration's Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI) in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The toxicology test revealed 0.071 (ug/ml, ug/g) of Diphenhydramine in the blood. Diphenhydramine (commonly known by the trade name Benadryl) is an over-the-counter antihistamine with sedative effects, often used to treat allergy symptons. The toxicology test was negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, and ethanol.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

On February 20 and 21, 2002, at the Teledyne Continental Motors facility in Mobile, Alabama, under the supervision of an NTSB investigator, the left and right engines were examined. The inspection and disassembly of the engines and related components did not reveal any discrepancies that would have precluded operation prior to the accident. The fuel system components were examined and flow bench tested. During the right engine fuel pump flow test, there was no flow at the fuel pump vapor ejector. The ejector fitting was removed, and it was determined that the vapor ejector contained a foreign object that was consistent with black rubber. The vapor ejector was replaced, and no anomalies were noted with the flow test. The fuel pump was disassembled, and no contamination was found inside the fuel pump components. The source of the black rubber debris was not determined. To simulate a blocked fuel pump vapor ejector, an exemplar engine was run in a production test cell with the vapor ejector fitting capped. The engine startup and engine run to 2,000 RPM were performed with no anomalies noted.

The Trimble TNL 2000T panel-mounted GPS, serial number 4232567, was removed from the wreckage and sent to FreeFlight Systems, Waco, Texas, for further examination. The examination revealed that the unit's last known recorded position was approximately latitude 32 degrees 57 minutes north and longitude 91 degrees 25 minutes west (approximate location of the airplane). The unit was could be turned ON, however, the front display panel was destroyed. The waypoint feature recorded a "To MLUa 277 degrees 41.4nm" waypoint, which was the last waypoint entered into the unit. The FreeFlight System's technician was unable to recover the time the unit lost power, or the exact GPS position due to the GPS Circuit card not working. The unit test indicated that 150.0 gallons of fuel were on board.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The airplane wreckage was released to the owner's representative on April 11, 2002.

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