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N64380 accident description

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Tail numberN64380
Accident dateAugust 26, 1995
Aircraft typeCessna 172M
LocationKingswood Twsp, NJ
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On August 26, 1995, about 1900 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172M, N64380, struck trees in Kingswoods Township, New Jersey. The airplane was destroyed, and the private pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed for the personal flight, which originated at Schneiders Airfield, Revere, Pennsylvania, about 1840, and was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to the Pennsylvania State Police, the pilot was engaged in an argument with two people when he drew a handgun and shot both of them, wounding one, and killing the other. He then took an airplane without permission, and while taxiing for takeoff, was approached by another person who was armed. There was an exchange of gunfire between them, after which the pilot made a takeoff and departed the area. About 20 minutes later, the airplane impacted the ground in a stand of trees which were about 75 feet high. There were no witnesses.

Debris was scattered along the ground for over 200 feet, on a heading of 115 degrees. Broken branches in trees, and scratches on tree trunks were on a descending flight path of 40 degrees.

The fuselage was laying against two trees, about 10 feet beyond the end of the impact crater. Both wings were crushed. All control cables were attached to their respective control surfaces or actuators. All flight control surfaces were either attached to the airplane or laying nearby. The elevator trim measured 1.546 inches of extension, and the jack screw for the wing flaps was found with no threads showing.

No meaningful documentation was obtained from the cockpit. Several instruments had been ejected during the impact sequence and were crushed.

The left wing was separated from the fuselage and was laying in front of the fuselage, while the right wing was partially attached to the fuselage. Both wing fuel tanks were ruptured. There was an area of vegetation kill, 100 feet wide, and 25 feet deep, beyond the fuselage, in the direction of debris travel.

The propeller was separated from the engine. Both blades had "S" curves, and chord wise scratches on the front surfaces.

The engine was found 40 feet in front of the fuselage. All accessories had separated from the engine, including the main sump with the manufacturer identification plate. The upper engine mounts were imbedded into the back of the engine. The upper spark plugs were removed and found to be gray in appearance, with no evidence of distress.

An autopsy was conducted by Anthony F. D"Aguillo, M.D., medical examiner for Hunterdon County, New Jersey. A toxicological examination conducted by the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington, DC, was negative for drugs and alcohol.

The wreckage examination, and autopsy were inconclusive as to whether the airplane and/or pilot had been struck by gunfire.

There were no further entries in his airman file after the issuance of his pilot certificate on February 13, 1955. He was last issued an FAA 3rd Class Airman Medical Certificate on August 26, 1981. No record of the medical application existed, and his actual time was not verified; however, he was estimated to have in excess of 100 hours.

The circumstances prior to departure and the accident flight were the subject of a criminal investigation by the State Police of Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.

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