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N2050W accident description

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Tail numberN2050W
Accident dateOctober 07, 1997
Aircraft typeBeech 35-C33A
LocationRobbins, NC
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On October 7, 1997, about 1337 eastern daylight time, a Beech 35-C33A, N2050W, and a Piper PA-32-260, N3940W, both registered to separate private individuals, collided inflight near Robbins, North Carolina. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and an IFR flight plan was filed for the 14 CFR 91 personal flight for the Beech airplane. No flight plan was filed for the business flight of the Piper airplane, also operating in accordance with 14 CFR 91. Both airplanes were destroyed and the private-rated pilot, the sole occupant of the Beech airplane was fatally injured. The private-rated pilot and one passenger in the Piper airplane were also fatally injured. A power line was damaged. The Beech flight originated about 1300, from the Marion County Airport, near Marion, South Carolina. The Piper flight originated about 1315, from the Wilgrove Air Park, Charlotte, North Carolina.

According to a voice tape from the Greensboro, North Carolina, Approach Control facility, the pilot of the Beech airplane contacted the facility and stated that his flight was located 10 miles north of the Sandhills VOR on the 355-degree radial level 5,500 feet, VFR to the Blue Ridge Airport, Martinsville, Virginia. The pilot was advised to squawk 0101 on his transponder, which the pilot acknowledged. The controller stated that the flight was radar identified and traffic was close off his left side at 5,500 feet. There was no further contact from the pilot of the Beech airplane. There was no ATC contact with the pilot of the Piper airplane.

Witnesses near the accident site reported hearing a loud sound, then observed parts falling. None of the witnesses reported seeing the airplanes before the collision. Wreckage from both airplanes was scattered over a 1/3 mile rural populated area.

Review of recorded radar data pertaining to the flight of the Beech airplane revealed that at 1336.09, the first discrete transponder code 0101 was indicated and the reported altitude was 5,300 feet. There were six other radar hits and the reported altitude for all was 5,300 feet. The last radar target was located at N35 degrees 28 minutes.32 and W 079 degrees 37 minutes.34. Discrete radar data was not obtained for the Piper airplane which was emitting a code signal of 1200. A radar target displaying the 1200 code at 1337.10, was located at N35 degrees 28 minutes.32 and W079 degrees 37 minutes.43. The altitude reported was 5,400 feet.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

Information pertaining to the pilots of the Beech and Piper airplanes is contained on pages 3 of the Factual Report-Aviation in MIA98FA007A and MIA98FA007B respectively.

According to the airport manager at the departure airport of the Beech airplane, he usually filed an IFR flight plan for the flight to the home airport.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The Beech airplane was equipped with in part a Northstar M1 Loran unit and a King Area Navigation Systems unit (RNAV). The Piper airplane was equipped with a II Morrow Loran C unit. Additional information pertaining to the Beech airplane is contained on page 2 of the Factual Report Aviation and Supplements A and B of MIA98FA007A. Additional information pertaining to the Piper airplane is contained on page 2 of the Factual Report Aviation and Supplements A and B of MIA98FA007B.

METEOROLGICAL INFORMATION

Visual meteorological conditions prevailed in the area at the time of the accident. Additional meteorological information is contained on pages 4 of MIA98FA007A and MIA98FA007B respectively.

COMMUNICATIONS

Review of communications with the pilot of the Beech airplane and the Leesburg Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS) located in Leesburg, Virginia, revealed that between 0612-0618 local time (1012-1018 UTC), the pilot received a weather briefing and filed two IFR flight plans. The first for a flight from the Blue Ridge Airport in Martinsville, Virginia, to the Marion County Airport in Marion, South Carolina. The proposed time of departure was 0800 local (1200 UTC). The second flight was for the return flight with a proposed departure time of 1130 local (1530 UTC). The planned altitude of the return flight was 6,000 feet and the route of flight was to the Sandhills VORTAC then to the destination airport. The proposed time of departure indicated in the FAA system pertaining to the flight plan for the return flight was 1130 UTC (0730 local).

Review of recorded communications with the Florence, South Carolina, approach control facility pertaining to the Beech airplane revealed that after departure, the pilot contacted the facility and advised the controller that an IFR flight plan had been filed to his destination airport. The controller advised the pilot that there was no flight plan stored for the flight and asked the pilot his flight plan route. The pilot advised the controller "ok sir ah don't bother with * it's such a nice day i'll go vfr i won't worry about it i appreciate your help." The controller acknowledged this.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

Examination of the crash site revealed that wreckage from both airplanes were scattered over a rural area. The Beech airplane was cream in color with orange and brown stripes. The Piper airplane was white in color with red and black stripes.

The largest wreckage section of the Beech airplane consisted of the cockpit and cabin section of the fuselage with the attached right wing with tip tank and right main landing gear. Two seats remained with the fuselage section. The left wing was destroyed and the tip tank which had separated was found about 182 feet, 286 degrees from the Beech main wreckage. Examination of the tip tank revealed a circular type indentation on the outboard section of the tank about 10 inches aft of the tip. The indentation was similar in shape to the nose landing gear strut and strut housing from the Piper airplane. The engine/propeller assembly with instrument panel was located about 1,154 feet on a heading of about 336 degrees from the Beech main wreckage. The empennage of the Beech airplane was located in a tree about 243 feet on a heading of 044 degrees from the Beech main wreckage and the separated left horizontal stabilizer was located about 304 feet, and 098 degrees from the main wreckage. Examination of the left horizontal stabilizer revealed rubber transfer on the lower skin with an identation on the leading edge near the tip. The stabilizer was displaced up and aft and a hole was noted in the left side of the rudder skin. The hole was similar in shape to the main spar of the stabilizer. A semi-circular indentation was noted on the lower left side fuselage at fuselage station 151.00. The shape was similar to a landing gear tire. Red paint transfer was noted on the forward frame of the windscreen and also on several instruments. White paint transfer spaced about every 1.5 inches apart was noted on the left side of the fuselage. The angle from horizontal was measured to be about 54 degrees. Examination of the leading edge skin of the left wing revealed spanwise scratches with rubber transfer and a cylindrical impression on the lower side of the skin. The shape was similar to a tire. Rubber transfer was also noted on the lower spar cap in the area of the cylindrical impression on the lower surface of the leading edge. Red paint transfer was noted on the bottom skin of the left wing at wing station 175. Examination of the Beech fuselage about 24 inches forward of the main wing spar of the left wing and 12 inches up from the center line of the leading edge revealed rubber transfer. Additionally red paint and rubber was noted at the pilot's left window frame area.

Visual examination of the engine from the Beech airplane revealed no evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction. Visual examination of the propeller blades revealed one of the blades was separated near blade station 35 with gouges noted on the leading edge. The blade was bent forward at the tip where separated and a corresponding mark was noted on the aft portion of the blade. The other blade was separated at blade station 30 with evidence of aluminum smearing from the blade back to the blade face. The remaining blade was whole with evidence of spanwise scratches. The propeller was not disassembled.

The largest section of the Piper airplane consisted of the fuselage and empennage with attached vertical stabilizer/rudder with the horizontal stabilizer. Both wings were separated and the left and right wings were found 216 degrees and 218 degrees and 96 and 790 feet respectively from the main wreckage. The nose and right main landing gears were also separated. The engine/propeller assembly which was separated was found 035 degrees and 1,276 feet from the main wreckage. Examination of the left wing revealed that a section of skin from the Beech airplane, which was later determined to be the inboard rib of the left flap from the Beech airplane, was wrapped around the lower portion of the main spar inboard of the left main landing gear.

Visual examination of the engine from the Piper airplane revealed no evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction. Examination of the propeller revealed that one of the propeller blades was bent forward 180 degrees, embedded in the piston dome, and had an approximate 8 inch length separated. Examination of the separated blade segment revealed the tip was bent forward and gouges were noted on the leading edge of the blade about 5 inches aft of the tip. Additionally, several gouges were noted on the blade back. The other blade had a slight forward bend but was complete.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

Postmortem examination of the pilot of the Beech airplane was performed by Thomas B. Clark III, M.D., Pathologist, of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The cause of death was listed as multiple traumatic injuries sustained in plane crash. Toxicological analysis of specimens was performed by the Chapel Hill Medical Examiner's Office, and the FAA Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory. The results of analysis by the Chapel Hill facility was negative for ethanol. The results of analysis by the FAA facility was negative for ethanol and tested drugs. Carbon monoxide and cyanide testing was not performed.

Postmortem examinations of the pilot and passenger of the Piper airplane were performed by Karen E. Chancellor, M.D., Pathologist and Robert L. Thompson, M.D., Pathologist, of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The cause of death of the pilot was listed as multiple blunt force injuries to head and thorax. The cause of death of the passenger was listed as multiple extreme traumatic injuries. Toxicological analysis of specimens of the pilot were performed by the Chapel Hill Medical Examiner's Office and the FAA. The results of analysis by Chapel Hill were negative for ethanol. The results of analysis by the FAA was negative for ethanol. Diphenhydramine was detected in the liver. Carbon monoxide and cyanide testing were not performed.

ADDITIONAL DATA/INFORMATION

Review of the flight planning for the route of flight of the Beech airplane as proposed in the IFR flight plan revealed that the magnetic heading from the Sandhills VORTAC to the destination airport was about 355 degrees magnetic. Additionally, the destination airport was located about 35.1 nautical miles and 004 degrees magnetic from the Greensboro VORTAC. Located in the wreckage of the Beech airplane was an RNAV computer which indicated about 359 in the bearing window and about 36 in the distance window and was selected to the en route position. According to the manufacturer, in part in the en route mode, the user selects waypoints that are offset from a VORTAC. The DME indicator indicates the distance from the selected waypoint.

Review of the Federal Aviation Regulations pertaining to VFR altitudes to be flown in cruise flight when operating below 18,000 feet mean sea level and flying above 3,000 feet agl revealed that when flying on a magnetic course of 180 degrees through 359 degrees, the altitude to be flown is any even thousand foot altitude plus 500 feet (such as 4,500, 6,500, or 8,500).

The wreckage of the Beech airplane was released to Max Allen of Allen Aero Service, on October 10, 1997. The wreckage of the Piper airplane minus the retained propeller segment was also released to Mr. Max Allen on the same day. The retained propeller segment was released to Mr. Jim Brewer, of InFlite Aviation, on January 27, 1998.

Same as MIA98FA007A narrative.

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