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N1ZP accident description

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Tail numberN1ZP
Accident dateMay 16, 1997
Aircraft typeCessna T337G
LocationNorth Dansville, NY
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On May 16, 1997, about 0705 eastern daylight time, a Cessna T337G, N1ZP, was destroyed when it struck trees, in North Dansville, New York. The certificated private pilot was fatally injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed for the personal flight which originated from Hornell (4G6), New York, about 0655, destined for Rochester, New York. The flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

At 0616, the Buffalo Flight Service Station (FSS) received a telephone call from a person who identified himself as N1ZP, and requested the current weather at Rochester, New York (ROC), and Elmira, New York (ELM). According to the FSS briefer, the pilot was given ROC weather as, "...visibility seven [statue miles], one thousand four hundred scattered, ceilings two thousand one hundred overcast, temperature four [Celsius] dew point three [Celsius]....", and ELM weather as "...visibility ten [statute miles] with light drizzle, ceiling two thousand five hundred broken, three thousand four hundred overcast and the temperature is at six degrees [Celsius]."

The pilot was also provided the forecast for ROC through 0800 as, "...visibility greater than six [statue miles], nine hundred scattered, ceiling fifteen hundred overcast, occasional visibility five [statue miles], with light rain showers and fog, ceilings nine hundred broken, fifteen hundred overcast...."

The pilot was also given the forecast for ELM. He did not request any additional weather information.

There were no witnesses to the departure.

Two witnesses near the accident site area described the weather as, "...heavy fog....", while another witness reported, "...light rain, winds at approx 6-8 mph out of the northwest, very low cloud cover, fog patches...."

There were no witnesses to the accident; however, several persons heard the airplane's engines and impact. Two witnesses said they thought the engine was "struggling or laboring", and one said the engine was smooth, and one said he heard the engine sputter and backfire.

The accident occurred during the hours of daylight at approximately 42 degrees, 34 minutes north latitude, and 77 degrees, 40 minutes west longitude.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with an instrument rating for airplane single and multi-engine land, and single engine sea. The multi-engine portion of his license was limited to center thrust multi-engine aircraft.

The pilot's most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Third Class Medical Certificate was issued on August 1, 1996, with the limitations that he must wear lenses for distant, and possess glasses for near vision.

The last flight listed in the pilot's log book was February 22, 1997. The pilot had flown 163.3 hours since 1994, of which 19.6 hours were logged as actual instrument flight time. Since 1996, the pilot had flown 55.3 hours, of which 8.2 hours were logged as actual instrument flight time. His total flight time was estimated to be about, 4,273 hours, with over 700 hours of actual instrument flight time. The pilot had owned the airplane since August 1990, and was estimated to have flown the airplane about 500 hours.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane wreckage was examined at the accident site on May 16, 1997. The accident site was located on a plateau, near the top of a hill. Lower terrain was to the west and south. The debris path measured 1,054 feet long, and was oriented on a magnetic course of 350 degrees. All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the scene.

The initial impact point was about 28 feet above the ground, into a stand of trees, on terrain that was about 1,650 feet above mean sea level. The cockpit/cabin came to rest 945 feet from the initial tree strike. Both engines and wings had separated from the cockpit/cabin. The front engine was found an additional 109 feet beyond the cockpit/cabin section.

Flight control continuity was not determined due to the fragmented nature of the airplane. All breaks in flight control cables were observed at other than connect points, and the ends were puffed, similar to a tension overload failure. Elevator trim was measured and found to have traveled beyond the maximum for the unit. The ends of the elevator trim cables also had puffed ends.

Both engines were examined and valve train continuity was confirmed. Compression was found in all cylinders, except the number 6 cylinder on the front engine, which had sustained impact damage. Additionally, the fuel divider screens of both engines were absent of debris.

All spark plugs were gray in color, and showed no evidence of impact damage to the electrodes.

Both propellers had separated from their engines and were recovered in the debris path. The rear propeller remained intact, and both blades showed chord wise twisting and scratching. The front propeller had one blade separated from the hub. Both front propeller blades displayed cord wise twisting and scratches. The tips of the blades displayed similar twisting and curling. Pieces of wood with smooth faces, and darkened similar to black paint transfer were found along the debris path.

The left main and nose landing gear were separated from the airplane. The right main landing gear remained attached and was partially extended.

The wing flap control was extended about 10 degrees. The flap position indicator displayed about 8 degrees. The wing flap jack screw corresponded to a position of about 1 or 2 degrees extension.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot, on May 16, 1997, by Dr. Thomas D. Smith of the Monroe County Medical Examiners Office, Rochester, New York.

The toxicological testing report, from the FAA toxicology Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, was negative for drugs and alcohol.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Refueling Records

According to records from the Hornell airport, the airplane was last refueled on May 10, 1997. At that time the tanks were "topped off" with 26.3 gallons of 100LL.

Radar Data

Radar data was received from the Cleveland Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC), in the NTAP format. A code 1200 target was observed about 1 mile north of the Hornell Airport at 0657:22, at 1,800 feet. The target climbed to a maximum altitude of 2,400 feet mid-way between the accident site and the Hornell Airport. The target then started a descent. The final radar hit occurred at 0701:44, and was about a mile south of the accident site at 2,100 feet.

Wreckage Release

The airplane wreckage was released on May 16, 1997, to the Livingston County Sheriff's Department.

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