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N35JL accident description

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Tail numberN35JL
Accident dateFebruary 05, 2005
Aircraft typeBeech V35B
LocationNorwich, NY
Near 42.557778 N, -75.527778 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On February 5, 2005, about 1242 eastern standard time, a Beech V35B, N35JL, was destroyed during impact with terrain and a subsequent postcrash fire near Norwich, New York. The certificated private pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local personal flight that departed Lt. Warren Eaton Airport (OIC), Norwich, New York, about 1239. No flight plan was filed, and the flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

A witness, who originally intended to fly with the accident pilot on the accident flight, provided a written statement. According to the witness, the pilot performed a preflight inspection of the airplane and then started the engine. The pilot initially reported to the witness that the fog was "too heavy" to fly, and that they would wait to depart. After about 30 minutes, the pilot decided, "it was ok to fly;" however, the witness elected not to continue, and disembarked the airplane. He then went to use the restroom as the pilot took off. When the witness returned from the restroom he heard the airplane's engine "failing," and a few minutes later the airplane impacted terrain. The witness additionally reported that prior to the airplane's departure, the fuel tanks were about 3/4 full.

Another witness stated he observed no anomalies with the airplane during the takeoff and upwind portion of the traffic pattern, and the weather was "beautiful," wind calm, sky clear, and no visible moisture.

Several other witnesses reported that while the airplane was on the downwind leg, the engine started running "rough," and it appeared the pilot may have been maneuvering to land on a road. One of the witnesses stated that when the airplane was approximately 90 feet agl, it did a "half a barrel roll" before impacting the ground.

The accident occurred during the hours of daylight. The wreckage was located at 42 degrees, 33.470 minutes north latitude, 75 degrees, 31.670 minutes west longitude, and an elevation about 1,020 feet.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single engine land. On his most recent application for an FAA third-class medical certificate, which was dated March 4, 2003, the pilot reported that he had accumulated 520 total hours of flight experience.

The pilot's logbook was not located, and reported to be in the airplane at the time of the accident. Several severely burned documents were identified in the wreckage, with a fragment of one appearing to be the remnants of a pilot's logbook. According to an insurance company document dated August 22, 2004, the pilot had accumulated 580 total hours of flight experience, 170 hours of which were in the accident airplane make and model.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

According to maintenance records, the airplane was manufactured in 1976, was equipped with the original engine, and no record of any engine overhaul was identified. The airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on November 11, 2004, and at that time the airplane had accumulated 1,057 total hours of operation. A review of the maintenance records revealed no significant problems in the 2 years preceding the accident.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

A weather observation taken about 11 minutes after the accident, at Greater Binghamton Airport (BGM), Binghamton, New York, recorded the wind as 320 degrees at 4 knots, visibility 10 miles, sky clear, temperature 39 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 21 degrees Fahrenheit, and an altimeter setting of 30.41 inches of mercury.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The main wreckage came to rest next to a road approximately 1,230 feet to the southwest of the approach end of runway 1, and about 15 feet above it.

The debris path was about 40 feet long, and orientated on a heading of 045 degrees magnetic. The start of the debris path was marked by plowed snow, and broken Plexiglas consistent with the windscreen of the airplane. Next on the debris path were all three propeller blades followed by the main wreckage, which was located at the base of a tree approximately 50 feet in height. Attached to the main wreckage was an electrical wire that traced back to a street light about 20 feet in height, and 100 feet to the northwest of the main wreckage. The lens for the street light was broken, and its remnants were on the ground near the base of the street light. The electrical wire was composed of two parts, an insulated wire and a non-insulated wire twisted together. Both were about 1/4 inch in diameter.

The main wreckage displayed varying degrees of impact damage, and a postcrash fire consumed the majority of the cockpit and cabin. The left wing, right wing, and tail section, along with all the associated flight control surfaces displayed different degrees of damage. The main landing gear was down, and the nose wheel had separated from the airframe. The left and right flap jackscrews correlated to approximately 5 degrees flaps down, and the elevator trim jackscrew correlated to approximately 5 degrees tab up. All the major components of the airplane were accounted for at the accident site, and flight control continuity was confirmed from the control surfaces to the cabin area.

Examination of the cockpit revealed the ignition switch was set to the left magneto. The throttle control was about 3/4 open and bent down, the mixture control was full rich, and the propeller control was set to high rpm.

Continuity of the fuel lines from both tanks to the engine driven fuel pump could not be confirmed because of impact and fire damage. The fuel selector displayed fire and impact damage. It was set to the right tank, and could be rotated to the left tank, but not to the off position. The selector was opened, and the fuel screen removed. The Screen was installed with the cone up, and absent of debris. The electrically driven fuel pump also displayed impact and fire damage.

Examination of the propeller revealed that all three blades had separated from the hub. The No. 1 blade displayed chordwise scratches and a gouge on the leading edge approximately 2 inches from the blade tip. The gouge was about 1/4 inch in diameter, and its depth varied from approximately 1/4 to 1/3 inch. The No. 2 blade displayed chordwise scratches, diagonal scratches, spanwise polishes, and the leading and trailing edges displayed impact damage. The No. 3 blade displayed diagonal scratches, along with trailing edge impact damage.

Examination of the engine revealed impact and postcrash fire damage to nearly the entire engine, and continuity of the intake system, exhaust system, valvetrain, and crankshaft could not be confirmed on-scene. Engine control cable continuity was confirmed from the cockpit to the fuel servo. The right magneto had separated from the accessory section, both magnetos were partially consumed by fire, and all the ignition leads displayed varying degrees of damage. The top sparkplugs were removed. The No. 1, No. 3, and No. 5 spark plug electrodes were gray in color and absent of debris, while the No. 2 electrode was covered in soot, and the No. 4 and No. 6 electrodes were covered in engine oil.

Continuity of the fuel system from the engine driven pump to the individual cylinders could not be confirmed because of impact and fire damage to the fuel lines, engine driven pump, and fuel divider. The engine driven pump was removed from the accessory section, the shear coupling was intact, but the input drive could not be rotated. The fuel servo had separated from the engine, the mixture and throttle cables were attached, and the throttle plate was approximately 75 percent closed.

The wreckage was transported to an aircraft recovery facility, and was subsequently examined on May 17, 2005.

The engine driven fuel pump was disassembled, and no anomalies were noted. The No. 1, 3, and 5 cylinders were removed from the engine and examined. The cylinders exhibited light scoring in the barrels, and the rocker arm areas were dry and heat discolored. The rocker arm areas on the remaining cylinders were dry and heat discolored. Cylinder Nos. 2, 4, and 6 were examined using a lighted borescope, and no anomalies were noted. The engine case halves were separated, and examination of the crankshaft, camshaft, bearings, connecting rods, and counter weights revealed no mechanical anomalies.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

Toxicological testing was performed by the FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The wreckage was released to a representative of the owner's insurance company on October 14, 2005.

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