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N117HS accident description

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Tail numberN117HS
Accident dateJuly 18, 2001
Aircraft typeBeech 58-TC
LocationSidney, NY
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On July 18, 2001, about 0835 eastern daylight time, a Beech 58-TC, N117HS, was destroyed after impacting terrain near Sidney, New York. The certificated commercial pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed for the executive transport flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to an employee of the fixed based operation where the accident airplane was based, the airplane had been previously positioned on the flight line prior to the employee's arrival to work at 0600. The pilot then requested a "complete top off" of fuel. After the airplane was fueled with 97 gallons of 100 low lead fuel, the airplane departed.

According to records obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the airplane had departed the Greater Buffalo Airport (BUF), Buffalo, New York, about 0630, and proceeded on an IFR flight plan to the Binghamton Regional/Edward Link Field Airport (BGM), Binghamton, New York. While en route, the pilot requested the air traffic controller to change his destination to the Sidney Airport (N23). The flight proceeded to N23, where the pilot conducted two Runway 25 VOR approaches, each to a missed approach. After the second missed approach, the controller queried the pilot if the missed approach was due to fog. The pilot advised the controller that "…there's pockets in and out but I can't get the runway in sight..." At 0817:39, the pilot requested, and was cleared, for a third Runway 25 VOR approach. At 0830:50, the controller requested the pilot to contact the advisory frequency at N23, which the pilot acknowledged. No further radio transmissions were received from the airplane.

A witness, who was waiting for the airplane to arrive at N23, stated that he had heard an airplane make "two or three passes as they were waiting for the fog to lift." The witness then received a phone call, about 0815, from a passenger in the accident airplane. The passenger stated that "they were going to make another pass around and see what they could do as far as landing." After the phone conversation, the witness heard an airplane fly overhead and did not hear it again.

The airplane came to rest in a wooded area about 2 miles northwest of N23.

The accident occurred during the hours of daylight, at 42 degrees, 19.77 minutes north longitude, 75 degrees, 26.46 minutes west latitude, at an elevation of 1,679 feet msl.

PILOT INFORMATION

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate for airplane single and multi-engine land, and instrument airplane. He also held a flight instructor certificate for airplane single engine land, instrument airplane.

The pilot's most recent application for a FAA first class medical certificate was dated on February 7, 2001. The pilot reported a total of 1,130 hours of total flight experience on the application.

The pilot was also employed as a pilot for an on-demand freight operator, which was based in Buffalo, New York.

According to records provided by the on-demand operator, the pilot had reported for duty on July 17, 2001, at 1930, flew a total of 3.3 hours, and remained on duty until 0200. The pilot's previous work assignment for the freight operator was on July 13, 2001. Additional review of the records revealed that the pilot had accumulated about 182.1 hours of total flight experience in Cessna Caravans while employed.

The pilot's personal logbook was not recovered during the investigation.

According to the owner of the accident airplane, the pilot had accumulated about 130 hours of total flight experience in it.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

A review of the airframe and engine records did not reveal any abnormalities.

The airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on January 1, 2001, at a total aircraft time of 4,178.6 hours. The left engine had accumulated 857.1 total hours of operation since being rebuilt. The right engine had accumulated 448.9 total hours of operation since being rebuilt.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The weather reported at the BGM airport, which was located about 26 miles west of the accident site, at 0843, included winds from 080 at 6 knots; 7 statute miles of visibility; broken clouds at 100 feet; temperature and dew point of 61 degrees Fahrenheit; and an altimeter setting of 30.11 inches of mercury.

A New York State Police Trooper, who arrive at the accident site about 0900, stated that the fog was "to the ground" and "shrouded the mountain."

According to the airport manager at N23, he arrived at the airport about 0850. He described the weather conditions at that time as "heavy fog, with the mountains surrounding the airport completely obscured." The airport manager added that the estimated cloud ceiling was 200 feet, and the lateral visibility was about 1 1/2 miles, with light haze.

The airport manager also stated that the 0900 weather at an airport located about 17 miles to the north of the accident site included a 100-foot overcast cloud layer and 1/4-mile visibility.

AERODROME INFORMATION

The elevation at N23 was 1,027 feet msl.

The airport was unattended at the time of the accident.

Review of the Airport Facility Directory revealed an airport remark for N23 that stated, "Numerous hills surround arpt up to 800 ft above arpt elevation."

AIDS TO NAVIGATION

An FAA inspector flew the runway 25 VOR approach the day of the accident. No abnormalities with the navigation or airport facilities were noted.

Review of the approach plate for the runway 25 VOR approach revealed that the primary navigation facility was the Rockdale VOR. The final approach fix altitude was 1,973 feet msl, at TERUT intersection, which was located about 5.2 miles northeast from the approach end of the runway. The landing minimums for the approach included a minimum decent altitude of 1,433 feet msl, and 1 1/2-mile visibility. The missed approach point was located at the runway threshold. The missed approach procedure describe on the approach plate included, "Climbing right turn to 3400 via RKA R-229 to TERUT Int/7DME and hold."

The Rockdale VOR was located about 12.2 miles northeast of N23

Runway 25 at N23 was equipped with a pilot controlled medium intensity runway lighting system, and runway end identifier lights.

WRECKAGE DESCRIPTION

Examination of the accident site on July 18, 2001, revealed rising terrain at the accident site, which consisted of evergreen and hardwood trees reaching a height of about 80 feet. The hardwood trees, which predominantly surrounded the accident site, had branches of varying diameters that were cut at 45-degree angles and displayed black paint transfer. The cut branches were located on the ground and suspended in other trees, along the wreckage path. The wreckage path was oriented on a 245-degree bearing, with the main fuselage coming to rest on a 270-degree bearing. Surrounding the accident site, were large patches of wilted foliage and charred fallen leaves. A post-crash fire consumed the main fuselage.

The first tree strike area was located about 315 feet prior to the main fuselage. A 32-inch section of the outer left wing was located about 125 feet from the first tree strike. About 15 feet from the outer left wing, a 30-inch section of the inboard right wing was located, suspended in a tree. A large section of a 9-inch diameter hardwood tree was found lying on the ground about 6 feet past the inboard right wing section. About 15 feet in front of the fallen tree was a 54-inch section of the left horizontal stabilizer. Also in this area was the left elevator, right wing aileron, a 60-inch section of the right wing containing the main fuel tank, and a 32-inch section of the outer right wing. About 50 feet further was the nose landing gear assembly. About 70 feet beyond the nose gear was the main wreckage. The inboard section of the left wing, vertical stabilizer, rudder, and a 40-inch section of the right horizontal stabilizer remained attached to the fuselage. All flight control surfaces were accounted for at the accident site.

When the main wreckage was examined, the left horizontal stabilizer had a 12-inch deep "u"-shaped dent on the leading edge, about 19 inches from the outboard edge. Tree bark was observed in the dent compression marks.

The left and right engines were separated from the main fuselage.

The left engine's turbo charger rotated freely. The throttle plate was observed in the full open position; however, dirt and twigs were imbedded into the throttle neck. The top spark plugs on all six cylinders were removed; their electrodes were intact and light gray in color. The left and right magnetos were removed from the engine, and when rotated, spark was observed from all leads. The engine was rotated 1/2 turn, and rotation was observed through the accessory drive section. No fuel was observed in the fuel manifold or fuel lines.

The right engine's turbo charger did not rotate when examined. The throttle plate was observed in the closed position. Both the left and right magnetos were destroyed from the post crash fire. The engine was rotated freely until damage to the number six cylinder push rod prevented any further rotation of the crankshaft. During the rotation of the engine, movement through the accessory drive section was observed. The top spark plugs on all six cylinders were removed; their electrodes were intact and light gray in color. No fuel was observed in the fuel manifold or fuel lines.

The left engine propeller assembly exhibited chordwise scratching to all three blades. Two propeller blades were bent rearward, and the other blade was bent forward at the tip. The propeller spinner cap remained attached to the assembly, and was crushed upward and inward.

The right engine propeller assembly was separated from the engine. Chordwise scratching was observed to all three blades. All three blades were bent rearward and twisted.

The pilot's airspeed indicator was recovered, but had sustained impact and heat damage. The airspeed indicator displayed a reading of 60 knots. No other intact flight instruments or navigational radios were located. Impact forces and fire damage destroyed all engine instruments.

Control cable continuity for the rudder, elevator, and trim surfaces located on the tail section of the airplane, were confirmed to the cockpit area. All cable ends to the left and right wings were separated. The separated ends were examined with a 10-power magnifying glass, and observed to be cut at 45-degree angles, which was consistent with tension overload. No corrosion was observed at the separation points.

The landing gear was determined to be extended, by noting the fracture locations on the strut assemblies. The flap position was determined to be 15 degrees, by the position of the left and right flaps and the cockpit flap selector. The rudder trim control surface was determined to be about 4 degrees nose left trim. The mechanical rudder trim indicator in the cockpit was aligned with the 10 degrees nose left position.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Chenango County Coroners Office, Binghamton, New York, performed an autopsy on the pilot, on July 19, 2001.

The FAA Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma conducted toxicological testing on the pilot.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Wreckage Release

The wreckage was released to a representative of the airplane owners insurance company on July 19, 2001.

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