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N3161M accident description

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Tail numberN3161M
Accident dateMay 15, 2004
Aircraft typeCessna 310R
LocationWilloughby, OH
Near 41.643611 N, -81.414722 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On May 15, 2004, about 0523 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 310R, N3161M, was destroyed when it impacted terrain, shortly after takeoff from Lost Nation Municipal Airport (LNN), Willoughby, Ohio. The certificated airline transport pilot was fatally injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan had been filed for the flight destined for Dayton, Ohio. The business flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

The airplane was operated by an aerial surveying company. The pilot intended to fly to Dayton to pick up a passenger, who was to operate surveying equipment installed on the airplane. The pilot then intended to conduct a surveying flight near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

According to information obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), at 0428, the pilot telephoned the Cleveland automated flight service station (AFSS), obtained a standard weather briefing, and filed an IFR flight plan. The airplane was cleared to depart runway 23, and was instructed to climb and maintain 4,000 feet. At 0521:21, the pilot radioed that he departed LNN, and was climbing through 900 feet, for 4,000 feet. The controller observed the airplane target on radar as it climbed through 1,000 feet, and cleared the pilot to proceed on course. The pilot acknowledged the transmission at 0521:41. At 0521:44, the pilot was provided the current Cleveland altimeter setting of 30.12. At 0521:46, the pilot replied "one." There were no further communications from the airplane. At 0521:44, radar data indicated the airplane was at 1,000 feet, heading 232 degrees, and at a ground speed of 145 knots. During the next 45 seconds, the airplane turned about 15 degrees, climbed to an altitude of at least 1,900 feet, and had slowed to a ground speed of 121 knots, before radar contact was lost.

Several witnesses reported hearing the sound of a "low" "loud" airplane, followed by an explosion. One witness observed the airplane about tree top level as it descended toward the ground. He noticed a bluish- green/red light illuminated on the airplane and stated that he did not observe any smoke or fire coming from the airplane.

The airplane impacted railroad tracks that were located about 2 1/2 miles southwest of LNN.

The accident occurred during the hours of night, and was located approximately 41 degrees, 38.6 minutes north latitude, and 81 degrees, 24.9 minutes west longitude.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held an airline transport pilot certificate, with an airplane multi-engine land, and instrument rating. He reported 2,480 hours of total flight experience on his most recent application for an FAA first class medical certificate, which was issued on June 28, 2003.

According to company records, at the time of the accident, the pilot had accumulated 3,172 hours of total flight experience, with 1,486 hours in multi-engine airplanes, and about 480 hours in the same make and model as the accident airplane. The company reported that the pilot had accumulated 318 hours, which included about 160 hours in Cessna 310s, during the 90 days preceding the accident.

Review of the pilot's logbook revealed that he had accumulated about 460 hours of total flight experience, which included about 225 hours in the Cessna 310 during the 6 months prior to the accident. In addition, during that time, the pilot had logged about 25 hours of flight time under "actual" instrument meteorological conditions.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane's airframe and engine logbooks were reported to be on the airplane, and were not recovered. According to work orders, the airplane's most recent annual inspection was performed on December 5, 2003. The operator reported that the airplane had been flown about 250 hours since the annual inspection.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

A weather observation taken at an airport located about 16 miles south-southwest of the accident site, at 0517, reported: winds from 270 degrees at 11 knots; visibility 2 1/2 statue miles in rain and mist, ceiling 700 feet broken, temperature 61 degrees F, dew point 57 degrees F, altimeter 30.09 in/hg.

A witness near the accident site described the weather as dark and hazy, with a "misty rain."

WRECKAGE INFORMATION

All major portions of the airplane were consumed by a postcrash fire; except for the vertical stabilizer, which was separated from the airframe, charred and impact damaged. The majority of the airplane was located at the center of a 30-foot-long, 20-foot-wide debris path, which was oriented on a 360-degree magnetic heading.

Portions of leading edges of the wings, and the horizontal stabilizer displayed aft "accordion" type crush damage, aft to their respective spars. Due to the fire and impact damage, flight control continuity could not be confirmed. It was noted that the rudder remained attached to the vertical stabilizer, and the rudder control cables remained connected at the bell crank.

The left engine was fire and impact damaged. All accessories were separated. The forward portion of the engine crankcase between the number five and six cylinders was fractured, and the camshaft was exposed. The crankshaft was fractured forward of the number five crankpin. The number five, three, and one cylinders were displaced aft. The number six cylinder barrel was hanging from the engine. The cylinder head was separated, and the piston was exposed. The number four cylinder head was separated, and the forward portion of the cylinder barrel was bent aft. The piston was observed in the barrel. Four spark plugs were removed from the engine. Their electrodes were intact and gray in color. Both magnetos remained attached to ignition leads. Their internal components were destroyed, and they could not be rotated. The vacuum pump was located in the debris field and disassembled. The vanes were intact and the rotor was cracked. The vacuum pump drive coupling was not located.

The right engine was fire and impact damaged. All accessories were separated. The forward portion of the engine crankcase between the number five and six cylinders was fractured. The portion of the camshaft which contained the forward three lobes was separated. The number six cylinder head was separated. The number six cylinder barrel with connecting rod, piston and a portion of the crankshaft was found in the debris field. The number five, three, and one cylinders were displaced aft. The number five cylinder was separated from the crankcase flange. The number four cylinder head was separated and the piston was observed in the barrel. Three spark plugs were removed from the engine. Their electrodes were intact and gray in color. One magneto was observed attached to ignition leads and was destroyed internally. The other magneto was fractured, and portions of it's drive shaft and case were located in the debris field. The main fuel screen was absent of debris. The vacuum pump was located in the debris field and disassembled. The vanes and rotor were intact. The vacuum pump drive coupling was not located.

The propeller hubs for both engines were fractured and all six propeller blades were separated. An outboard portion of four of the blades, two from each engine were missing, and all propeller blades contained leading edge gouges. The fuel pumps for both engines were disassembled and their internal pumps were not damaged.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot, on May 17, 2004, by the Lake County Coroner's Office, Painesville, Ohio.

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

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Re-Fueling Information

The airplane was refueled with approximately 62 gallons of aviation gasoline prior to takeoff. The individual who refueled the airplane estimated that the total fuel on board at the time of the accident between was 150 and 175 gallons.

Emergency Locator Transmitter

The operator reported that the airplane was equipped with a Merl BP-1020 emergency locator transmitter (ELT), with a battery expiration date of November 2004. The ELT was destroyed during the impact, and ensuing fire.

Wreckage Release

The airplane wreckage was released on May 20, 2004, to a representative of the owner's insurance company.

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