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N6214F accident description

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Tail numberN6214F
Accident dateOctober 25, 1998
Aircraft typeCessna 172N
LocationLinden, NJ
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On October 25, 1998, at 1637 Eastern Standard Time, a Cessna 172N, N6214F, was destroyed during the approach to landing at Linden Municipal Airport (LDJ), Linden, New Jersey. The certificated commercial pilot was fatally injured, and a pilot-rated passenger and two additional passengers were seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. No flight plan was filed for the flight between Plateau Sky Ranch Airport (NY18), Edinburg, New York, and Linden. The personal flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to witnesses, the airplane was flying low while approaching the airport, and it struck power lines. One witness said she was in her car on the street next to the power lines "almost under [the airplane]," when her son mentioned "...how low this one is." She looked up and saw sparks coming from the power lines. It "looked to me like the landing gear of the plane caught on the wires....It looked like a person tripping over a rope."

Another witness who was "maybe two blocks away," stated that when the airplane was coming in for a landing, "It looked like everything was okay; it wasn't wobbling; it was just too low." A third witness said he "saw this airplane coming across [the street] very low....It [caught] the electric power. When it hit the electric power, I saw the lightning..." When asked by the police "if the plane was in trouble," the witness responded: "No, it looked like there was no trouble; it just looked like it was coming in very low."

All three survivors were interviewed. One, who was not a pilot, was seated in the right front seat during the flight. He stated that the airplane flew a left pattern for Runway 27. After turning onto the final approach, he tried to look out of the front window, and could not see anything ahead due to the intense sun glare. He looked out of the side window, and was concerned because the airplane was flying very low over some oil storage tanks. He didn't say anything, but looked at the pilot, who appeared to be leaning to the left. The next thing he knew, the airplane hit the wires, then hit the ground.

The deceased pilot's wife, who was also a pilot, was sitting behind him. She remembers that as the airplane turned on to the final approach, she saw white over white VASI lights. The airplane then made a controlled descent, and she felt that it was getting too low. Just as she leaned forward to warn her husband about the altitude, the airplane hit the power lines.

The local electric power company reported a circuit trip in the vicinity of the accident at 1637.

The accident occurred during hours of daylight, at 40 degrees, 37.17 minutes north latitude, and 74 degrees, 14.05 minutes west longitude.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The weather at the time of the accident included no ceiling, and winds from 310 degrees magnetic, at 7 knots. However, during the turn on to final, the pilot was flying into a setting sun.

A sun position calculation was made for the time, date, approximate latitude and longitude, and approximate elevation of the power lines. According to the calculations, the sun would have been 4.2 degrees above the horizon, on a magnetic bearing of 262 degrees. The magnetic heading of Runway 27 at Linden Airport was 268 degrees magnetic.

WRECKAGE INFORMATION

The main wreckage was located about 900 feet east, and 20 feet right of the Runway 27 centerline. It was approximately 1,400 feet from the displaced landing threshold.

A 48-foot utility pole was located about 1,000 feet from the end of the runway, and 1,500 feet from the displaced landing threshold, on the approximate centerline. About 20 feet to the right (northwest) of the pole, five power cables were severed. Two of the cables had been attached to a crossbar on the utility pole, about 48 feet off the ground. The three other cables were attached to a crossbar, about 44 feet off the ground. There was one additional cable, attached to a "ridge pin" on top of the utility pole, about 51 feet off the ground. That cable was not severed, and a piece of the airplane's wire antenna was found wrapped around it.

The wreckage was inspected on-site, and all major parts were accounted for. The bearing from the wire strikes to the main wreckage was about 275 degrees magnetic. The vertical stabilizer was found about 30 feet beyond the wire strikes, and the rudder was found about 50 feet prior to the wire strikes.

The airplane's skin had numerous burn holes, most notably on the wing leading edges and engine cowling. Striations matching the electrical wire were found on both the nose and left gear wheel pants. They were also found parallel to, and on the leading edge of the left wing, and perpendicular to the leading edge, underneath the left wing. Both the vertical stabilizer and the rudder exhibited indentations and damage on the leading edge and right side. They also exhibited striations and indentations matching the electrical wire. The propeller had some dents on the leading edges, and chordwise striations on only one of the two blades. The flap actuator was found in the full down, 40-degree position.

Fuel, estimated at 8 to 10 gallons, was found in the right tank, while no fuel was found in the left. Fuel was found leaking from the line that entered the carburetor, and from the right fuel tank. The fuel selector was on "both," and the fuel was clear and blue.

The engine was inspected, drive train continuity was established, compression was obtained on all cylinders, and magneto spark was confirmed on all leads. One of the passengers stated that the engine was running normally until the accident.

PILOT INFORMATION

The pilot held a commercial certificate, with airplane single engine land, and instrument-airplane ratings. He had 825 hours of flight time, with 13 hours in the previous 90 days. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Third Class Medical Certificate was issued on June 29, 1998.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

On October 26, 1998, an autopsy was performed on the pilot by a pathologist from The County of Union, Department of Public Safety, Division of Medical Examiner, East Westfield, New Jersey.

Toxicological testing was performed on the pilot by the FAA Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Tests were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, ethanol, and drugs.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

On October 25, 1998, the wreckage was released to a representative from United States Aviation Underwriters, Inc., One Seaport Plaza, New York, New York.

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