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N88255 accident description

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Tail numberN88255
Accident dateJanuary 22, 1994
Aircraft typeBellanca 8KCAB
LocationPontotoc, MS
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF THE FLIGHT

On January 22, 1994, about 1615 central standard time, a Bellanca 8KCAB, N88255, registered to Earl W. Crossley, collided with trees and then the ground near Pontotoc, Mississippi, while on a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed. The aircraft was destroyed and the commercial-rated pilot was fatally injured. The flight departed Tupelo, Mississippi, on January 22, 1994, about 1530.

Witnesses in the south of the accident site reported seeing the aircraft in a nose-down attitude with the engine power increasing to near full power as the aircraft leveled at about 500 feet agl. The aircraft then flew to the south-southwest and was lost from sight. A short time later, another witness reported hearing the aircraft in what appeared to be a descent with the engine operating near full power. Suddenly, he heard a loud noise similar to "rifles being fired" and the aircraft's engine noise ceased abruptly. He later located the wreckage of the aircraft.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

Information on the pilot is contained in this report.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

Information on the aircraft is contained in this report.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. Meteorological information is contained in this report.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The aircraft crashed in a wooded area just off Nanny Road, Pontotoc, Mississippi. Examination of the crash site indicated the aircraft crashed into about 40-foot-tall trees, while on a northeasterly heading, causing separation of the right wing. The aircraft then descended and crashed to the ground at a point 75 feet past the initial tree impact. The outboard 5 feet of right wing came to rest in the top of a tree. The inboard portion of right wing was found at the base of the tree which was initially impacted. The top 15 feet of the first tree impacted was separated and lying at the base of the tree on the northeast side. Several 4-to-8 inch tree branches were found cut, consistent with propeller strikes.

The main aircraft wreckage consisted of the engine, propeller, fuselage, and left wing. The main wreckage was lying on about a 20-degree heading. All components of the aircraft necessary for flight were located along the crash path or on the main wreckage. The engine and propeller were partially buried in the ground. Examination of the flight control systems indicated that all separation points within the control cables were typical of overstress separation.

Examination of the engine indicated that the engine rotated freely and continuity was established within the engine assembly, accessory drives, and valve train. Each cylinder produced normal compression. Each magneto operated normally. No contamination was found in the aircraft and engine fuel system and fuel was found in most of the engine fuel system components. All engine fuel system components, except the nos. 1 and 3 fuel nozzles, were bench tested and found to operate normally. The nos. 1 and 3 fuel injector nozzles had sustained crash damage.

Teardown examination of the propeller indicated the propeller blades were in the low pitch position during the crash before overstress separation of the pitch change pins. Each blade had sustained damage consistent with rotating under power when striking an object or the ground. About 2 inches of one blade tip separated and was not located. The fracture surface was consistent with overstress separation. The propeller governor operated normally during bench testing.

Examination of the pilot seats indicated the seat which was occupied by the pilot had a parachute attached to it. The seat also had a second pair of lap and shoulder harnesses for use when performing aerobatic flight. The second set of harnesses and parachute were being used by the pilot at the time of the accident.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

Postmortem examination of the pilot was conducted by Dr. Emily W. Ward, M.D., State Medical Examiner, Jackson, Mississippi. The cause of death was reported as massive blunt force injuries due to crash. There were no reported findings that could be considered casual to the accident.

Postmortem toxicology studies on specimens obtained from the pilot were performed by Dr. Barry Levine, Ph.D., Chief, Forensic Toxicology Laboratory, Armed Forces Institute Of Pathology, Washington, D.C. The studies were positive for 42 mg/dl ethanol in blood, a trace of acetaldehyde in blood, and 3 percent carbon monoxide. The tests were negative for cyanide, basic, acidic, and neutral drugs. The studies were negative for ethanol in vitreous fluid. Dr. Dennis V. Canfield, Ph.D., Manager, Toxicology Laboratory, Federal Aviation Administration, stated that the ethanol finding in blood is most likely from postmortem ethanol production.

Additional toxicology studies on specimens from the pilot was performed by Emily Jochimsen, Forensic Toxicology, Mississippi Crime Laboratory, Jackson, Mississippi. These studies were positive for .06 percent ethyl alcohol and negative for drug screening.

The pilot's wife reported after the accident that the pilot had just received new bifocal glasses the week before the accident. She submitted a statement to the NTSB from the pilot's eye doctor indicating the pilot had uncorrected 20/400 vision. She stated, had the pilot lost his glasses in flight he might not have been able to see the flight instruments. The pilot's glasses were located in the aircraft's wreckage. The Federal Aviation Administration Aviation Medical Examiner who examined the pilot on January 18, 1994, reported the pilot demonstrated uncorrected vision of 20/50 and normal field of vision. For additional medical and pathological information see Supplement K and attachments to this report.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The aircraft wreckage was released on January 24, 1994, to Charles R. Miller, 105 Lemons Drive, Tupelo, Mississippi.

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