Plane crash map Find crash sites, wreckage and more

N770CA accident description

Go to the Massachusetts map...
Go to the Massachusetts list...

Tail numberN770CA
Accident dateSeptember 26, 2008
Aircraft typeCessna 402
LocationVineyard Haven, MA
Near 41.422778 N, -70.659444 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On September 26, 2008, about 2005 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 402C, N770CA, was destroyed when it impacted terrain shortly after takeoff from the Martha’s Vineyard Airport (MVY), Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts. The certificated airline transport pilot was fatally injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules flight plan had been filed for the flight destined for the General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport (BOS), Boston, Massachusetts. The positioning flight was operated by Hyannis Air Service, doing business as Cape Air, and was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to preliminary information obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the airplane was cleared for takeoff by an MVY air traffic control tower controller from runway 33, a 3,297-foot-long, 75-foot-wide, asphalt runway, at 1950:50. After takeoff, the airplane was instructed to climb to an altitude of 4,000 feet, and make a right turn to a heading of 360 degrees. The instructions were acknowledge by the pilot; however, there were no further communications from the airplane. Radar data depicted the airplane climbing at an altitude of 400 feet, and a ground speed of 120 knots shortly after takeoff. The airplane made a slight left turn, before entering a right turn which continued until radar contact was lost at an altitude of 700 feet, and a ground speed of 160 knots.

A witness near the accident site reported hearing the sound of a low flying airplane. He described the engine noise as "very loud, like the airplane was at full-throttle." He then heard a loud crashing sound.

The airplane struck the tops of approximately 50-foot-tall trees before impacting in a wooded area in-between two houses, about 3 miles northwest of MVY. The majority of the wreckage was strewn along a 305-foot-long debris path, which was oriented on a heading about 285 degrees magnetic. Three cuts, consistent with propeller strikes were observed on the northwest corner of a rooftop, 60 feet from the initial tree strike. In addition, a 12-inch diameter tree located 83 feet from the initial tree strike contained an approximate 3-foot-long vertical cut, which varied from 3 to 5 inches in depth. The cut contained black paint transfer. An impact crater that measured about 9 feet wide, and 20 feet long was observed just beyond the tree. A second impact crater which measured 6 feet wide, and 20 feet long was located 137 feet from the initial tree strike.

The fuselage came to rest oriented vertically, and was partially wrapped around a tree that was located 160 feet from the initial tree strike. The sides and roof of the cabin, the cockpit, the nose section, and the instrument panel were destroyed. The inboard portion of the left wing, with its landing gear extended about 30 degrees, was located with the fuselage. The outboard portion of the left wing was located 223 feet from the initial tree strike. The majority of the right wing was located at the base of a tree, 197 feet from the initial tree strike. The right landing gear was observed in the retracted position. The nose landing gear assembly was separated and located 205 feet from the initial tree strike.

All major portions of the airplane were accounted for at the accident site. Flight control continuity was confirmed from the main wing spar to the elevator and rudder control bellcranks. Aileron flight control continuity could not be confirmed due to impact damage.

The left engine was located approximately 175 feet beyond the initial tree strike, in an inverted position. The left propeller assembly was observed approximately 137 feet beyond the initial tree strike and was partially buried within the second impact crater.

The right engine was located about 530 feet beyond the initial tree strike, in an upright position. The right propeller was observed approximately 100 feet beyond the initial tree strike, on the right side of the first impact crater.

Both propeller assemblies exhibited “s” bending, chordwise scratches and leading edge damage. One propeller blade was separated from the left propeller hub. All other blades were loose within their respective hub assemblies.

Both engines and propellers were recovered to a hanger at MVY airport for further examination. The examinations did not reveal evidence any catastrophic failures. The crankshafts on both engines were rotated through their normal travel through an accessory gear drive gear. Both engines and propellers were retained for further examination.

The right vacuum pump body was separated and not located; however, the frangible drive coupling remained attached to the engine and was not damaged. The left vacuum pump was separated from its mount and located in the debris path. The frangible drive coupling was undamaged and disassembly of the pump revealed that the vanes and rotor were not damaged.

The pilot's most recent FAA first class medical certificate was issued on September 16, 2008.

According to company records, the pilot had accumulated approximately 16,746 hours of total flight experience, which included 2,330 hours in the same make and model as the accident airplane.

The airplane was maintained utilizing an approved inspection program. Initial review of the airplane’s maintenance records revealed that it had been operated for about 40 hours since its most recent phase inspection, which was performed on September 17, 2008.

A weather observation taken at MVY at 1953, reported: wind from 110 degrees at 5 knots; visibility 5 statute miles with light rain and mist; overcast ceiling at 400 feet; temperature 19 degrees Celsius (C); dew point 18 degrees C; altimeter 30.17 inches of mercury.

A Cessna 402 operated by Cape Air, destined for Providence, Rhode Island, departed from runway 24 at MVY, approximately 1 minute after the accident flight. The pilot of that flight did not report any unusual weather during his initial climb and described the turbulence below 1,000 feet as “light.”

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