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N4002B accident description

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Tail numberN4002B
Accident dateJanuary 27, 2002
Aircraft typeBellanca 17-30A
LocationAlexandria, MN
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On January 27, 2002, at 1247 central standard time, a Bellanca 17-30A, N4002B, piloted by a private pilot, was destroyed during an in-flight collision with the terrain at the Chandler Field Airport (AXN), Alexandria, Minnesota. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The flight was operating under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91 without a flight plan. The pilot and his single passenger were fatally injured. The flight departed AXN at approximately 1230 and had the intended destination of the Lenawee County Airport (ADG), Adrian, Michigan.

A witness to the accident, who was also a certified flight instructor, reported in a written statement that he conversed with the pilot of N4002B prior to the departure of the accident airplane. The witness stated he discussed the current weather conditions and asked if the accident pilot was instrument rated. The witness reported, "[The accident pilot] replied that he was not [instrument rated] but that he just needed to take the checkride." The witness stated, "I helped [the accident pilot] check the weather on the computer, [the accident pilot] was well aware of the prevailing conditions. I proceeded to tell him that he could not legally file a flight plan or fly in these conditions."

The witness reported that at approximately 1220 the accident airplane taxied from the ramp and proceeded to runway 31. The witness stated, "I made repeated calls over UNICOM to N4002B but got no response." The witness reported the accident airplane made a radio call indicating his intentions of taking off on runway 31. The witness stated, "After his radio call I made one last call over UNICOM and advised him to be aware of freezing fog and sleet that was falling at the time and wished them a safe trip." The witness reported that approximately five minutes after the departure of N4002B, "... someone keyed their mike and we heard heavy breathing and cussing over the radio." The witness stated, "Shortly thereafter [a co-worker] asked if I heard something, we both looked out the window to see [the accident aircraft] descend out of the clouds over the blue hangers across the runway. The aircraft was heading toward the [Fixed Base Operator] building, when the pilot saw the building he banked to the left rather steeply. [A co-worker] and I headed outside to see where the aircraft was going and about that time we heard a loud thump and the engine noise ceased."

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the pilot was the holder of a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. According to FAA records, the pilot did not have an instrument rating. FAA records show the pilot's last medical examination was conducted on May 21, 1999, at which time the pilot was issued a third-class medical certificate with no restrictions or limitations.

According to the pilot's flight logbook, he had accumulated a total flight time of 166.8 hours when he was issued his private pilot certificate on March 4, 2001. The pilot had accumulated a total flight time of 239.0 hours as of his last logbook flight entry, dated October 28, 2001. According to the flight logbook, the pilot obtained a complex aircraft and a high-performance aircraft endorsement on March 25, 2001. The pilot had accumulated a total instrument time of 3.6 hours, all of which were completed in simulated instrument conditions during his private pilot training. According to the flight logbook, the pilot had not received any additional instrument flight training subsequent to the issuance of his private pilot certificate.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The aircraft was a Bellanca 17-30A, Super Viking, serial number 75-30761. The Super Viking is a single-engine, low wing monoplane with an all-wood wing construction and a fabric covered steel-tube fuselage. The Super Viking is equipped with a retractable landing gear, constant speed three-bladed propeller, and can accommodate a pilot and three passengers. The FAA issued a Standard Airworthiness Certificate for the airplane on September 17, 1974. According to the aircraft's recording tachometer and maintenance logbooks, the airframe had accumulated a total time of 2,175.5 hours since new. According to the maintenance logbooks, the last annual inspection was completed on January 10, 2002, and the airplane had accumulated 0.5 hour since the inspection.

The engine was a 300 horsepower Continental IO-520-K, serial number 557157. According to the aircraft's recording tachometer and maintenance logbooks, the engine had accumulated a total time of 2,175.5 hours since new. According to the maintenance logbooks, the last annual inspection was completed on January 10, 2002, and the engine had accumulated 0.5 hour since the inspection. The engine had a top-overhaul completed on December 1, 1996, at 1,660.8 total hours, and had accumulated 514.7 hours since the overhaul.

The propeller was a three-bladed McCauley D3A32C90-M, hub serial number 737221. According to the aircraft's recording tachometer and maintenance logbooks, the propeller had accumulated a total time of 2,175.5 hours since new. The propeller had accumulated 1,175.5 hours since the last propeller overhaul.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

A weather observation station, located at the Chandler Field Airport, Alexandria, Minnesota, reported the weather around the time of the accident as:

Date: 01/27/2002 Time: 1207 cst Wind: 310 degrees magnetic at 11 knots Visibility: 3/4 statute miles with mist Sky Condition: 300 feet above ground level (agl) Overcast Temperature: -3 degrees Celsius Dew Point: -4 degrees Celsius Altimeter Setting: 29.78 inches-of-mercury

Date: 01/27/2002 Time: 1221 cst Wind: 320 degrees magnetic at 11 knots Visibility: 1/2 statute miles with freezing fog Sky Condition: 300 feet agl Overcast Temperature: -3 degrees Celsius Dew Point: -4 degrees Celsius Altimeter Setting: 29.78 inches-of-mercury

Date: 01/27/2002 Time: 1236 cst Wind: 300 degrees magnetic at 13 knots Visibility: 3/4 statute miles with mist Sky Condition: 100 feet agl Overcast Temperature: -4 degrees Celsius Dew Point: -4 degrees Celsius Altimeter Setting: 29.79 inches-of-mercury

Date: 01/27/2002 Time: 1253 cst Wind: 310 degrees magnetic at 11 knots Visibility: 3/4 statute miles with mist Sky Condition: 100 feet agl Overcast Temperature: -4 degrees Celsius Dew Point: -4 degrees Celsius Altimeter Setting: 29.78 inches-of-mercury

The weather conditions along the accident airplane's route of flight were forecasted as:

The Chicago area forecast (FA), issued at 0445 cst on January 27, 2002, indicated that the central portions of Minnesota had scattered to broken ceilings varying between 1,000 and 2,000 feet agl with the cloud tops at 6,000 feet agl. There were occasional visibilities of 3 to 6 statute miles due to mist. The outlook for central Minnesota was instrument flight rules (IFR) conditions due to low ceilings.

The northern portions of Minnesota was reported to have broken to overcast ceilings varying between 1,000 feet to 2,000 feet agl with the cloud tops at 6,000 feet agl. There were occasional visibilities of 3 to 5 statute miles due to mist. There were wildly scattered light snow showers and patchy areas of light freezing drizzle in the north-central and northern Minnesota. The outlook for northern Minnesota was marginal visual flight rules (MVFR) conditions due to low ceilings.

An AIRMET for instrument flight rules (IFR) conditions was issued at 0845 cst on January 27, 2002, for occasional ceilings below 1,000 feet agl and/or visibilities below 3 statute miles with light snow, light freezing drizzle, and mist. The IFR conditions were forecasted to continue beyond 1500 cst.

An AIRMET for icing conditions was issued at 0845 cst on January 27, 2002, for occasional moderate rime/mixed/clear-icing while in clouds and/or precipitation below 6,000 feet agl. The icing conditions were forecasted to continue beyond 1500 cst.

A person representing the accident airplane contacted the Princeton Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS) at 0540 cst on January 27, 2002, and requested a VFR weather briefing. The AFSS weather briefer told the pilot that there was IFR weather conditions in the upper and central portions of Minnesota and that the IFR conditions were forecasted to exist until at least 1000 cst. The AFSS weather briefer suggested that the pilot contact the AFSS closer to his expected time of departure for an updated weather briefing. The Princeton AFSS had no further communications with the pilot. A copy of the weather briefing is appended to this factual report.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The aircraft wreckage was located on the property of the Chandler Field Airport, north of runway 04 and west of runway 31. A global positioning system (GPS) receiver reported the position of the main wreckage as 45-degrees 51.961-minutes north latitude, 95-degrees 23.930-minutes west longitude. The initial ground impact was reported as 45-degrees 51.982-minutes north latitude, 95-degrees 23.917-minutes west longitude. There was a wreckage path approximately 120 feet in length that was orientated on a 200-degree magnetic heading. The heading of the aircraft wreckage was measured with a compass along the aircraft's longitudinal axis and was 130 degrees magnetic.

The aircraft impacted in an open, level, harvested bean field. There were no trees or other ground obstructions in the vicinity of the accident site. All components of the aircraft were located at the accident site and all flight control surfaces remained attached at their respective airframe positions. Flight control continuity was established from the flight control surfaces to the main cabin area. The landing gear was in a fully extended position. There was approximately 0.125-inch of ice on the leading edges of the vertical and horizontal stabilizers and top-mounted communication antenna. There were trace amounts of ice located on the leading edge of the right wingtip.

No anomalies were found with the airframe, engine, or propeller that could be associated with a pre-impact condition.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot at the Douglas County Laboratory, Alexandria, Minnesota, on January 30, 2002.

A Forensic Toxicology Fatal Accident Report was prepared by the FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, for the pilot.

The toxicology results for the pilot were:

* No Carbon Monoxide detected in Blood * No Cyanide detected in Blood * No Ethanol detected in Urine * Quinine detected in Blood * Quinine detected in Urine

ADDITIONAL DATA/INFORMATION

The FAA and Teledyne Continental Motors were parties to the investigation.

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