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N1875H accident description

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Tail numberN1875H
Accident dateJanuary 27, 1999
Aircraft typePiper PA-28-181
LocationBrevard, NC
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On January 27, 1999, about 2205 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-28-181, N1875H, collided with trees while maneuvering for a forced landing in Brevard, North Carolina. The airplane was operated by the owner/private pilot under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91 and visual flight rules. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight. The pilot and sole occupant received fatal injuries and the airplane was destroyed. There were no injuries reported on the ground. The flight originated from Andrews-Murphy Airport in Andrews, North Carolina, at an undetermined time.

At about 1930, according to Atlanta Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC), radio and radar contact was established with the flight. At that time, the pilot reported a low fuel condition (see attached ATC controllers' statements, and chronological summary of flight). The pilot was given alternate airports in the vicinity for an emergency landing, however, the pilot continued to circle for approximately 2.5 hours. Local police reported that, in an effort to assist the distressed airplane, airport lights in the vicinity of the circling airplane were turned on by emergency personnel. Another airplane, based in the local area, was used to help locate the distressed airplane.

After failing to identify any of the airports, the pilot elected to fly towards Brevard, NC. While in a descent towards Brevard, the airplane struck several trees and a power line before impacting the ground. After impact with the ground parts of the airplane collided with a mini-van parked on the street, and the propeller assembly separated from the engine assembly coming to rest in a house 45 feet beyond the mini-van.

PILOT INFORMATION

Information on the pilot can be obtained in this report under the heading of "First Pilot Information." A toxicological analysis was performed on the pilot, but due to the lack of specimens a carbon monoxide and a cyanide test could not be performed. A test for ethanol and drugs was performed and nothing was detected. In January 1996, the pilot surrendered his instrument rating following a reexamination for his instrument rating.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

Information on this airplane can be located in the section of this report under the heading of "Aircraft Information."

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

Visual weather conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. Additional weather data is recorded under the "Weather Information" data field of the Factual Report on page 3. A review of preflight weather records failed to disclose that the pilot had requested and received a weather briefing before the initial departure. The field elevation at the Asheville Airport is 2165 feet.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

According to emergency personnel, the fuselage rested inverted at the accident site when they arrived. Examination of the accident site disclosed that the airplane and freshly broken tree debris were scattered over an area 370 feet long and 50 feet wide. The wreckage path was orientated on a southeasterly heading. Examination of the accident site also revealed that both wings were torn from the airframe, the vertical stabilizer was crushed, and the empennage was bent. The airplane propeller assembly was found in the living room of a single family dwelling 30 feet southeast of the main wreckage. Family members were in another location of the house when the accident occurred.

The airplane was subsequently removed from the accident site for further examination. During the follow-up examination the airframe and sub-systems under went an extensive inspection. Details of the examination are included in the attached airframe and engine examination. The airframe and engine examination failed to disclose a mechanical malfunction or component failure. The post-impact examination of the engine and airframe fuel system components failed to show evidence of fuel. A small quantity of fuel was observed in the carburetor. There were no obvious indications of fuel spillage at the accident site; nor did the emergency response personnel report the odor of fuel upon their arrival at the accident site.

Examination of the fuel tanks revealed that, there was no damage to either fuel tank and there was a slight fuel odor in each tank. During the examination of the engine and relevant accessories, no usable fuel present in the engine, electric fuel pump, carburetor, or fuel lines leading to the engine. The fuel quantity on board the airplane at takeoff was not determined.

Examination of the airframe and the engine assemblies failed to disclose a mechanical malfunction or a component failure.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The post mortem examination on the pilot was performed by Dr. Robert L. Thompson at the Office of The Chief Medical Examiner, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on January 29, 1999. The toxicological examinations were negative for alcohol and drugs.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The airplane wreckage was released to Mr. Harry Brooks of Carlson /Brooks in Atlanta, Georgia.

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