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N4347W accident description

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Tail numberN4347W
Accident dateMay 11, 2003
Aircraft typeBeech 24R
LocationWauseon, OH
Near 41.601667 N, -84.116945 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On May 11, 2003, at 1510 eastern daylight time, a Beech 24R, N4347W, was substantially damaged while attempting to land at Fulton County Airport (USE), Wauseon, Ohio. The certificated airline transport pilot and the two passengers were fatally injured. No flight plan was filed for the flight that originated at Oakland-Troy Airport (7D2), Troy, Michigan, about 1415. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

On May 9, 2003, the pilot, along with his wife and daughter, flew from Minnesota to Troy to attend a wedding the following day.

According to the general manager of a fixed base operator at Oakland-Troy Airport, on the day of the accident, the pilot arrived with his family shortly before 1330, and requested that the airplane be filled with fuel. While the airplane was being fueled, the pilot asked if anyone had flown that day, and if so, did they talk about the weather conditions. The general manager replied that due to the "very, very windy" weather conditions, few people had flown that day, except for a Mitsubishi MU-2. He did not think the pilot would fly that day based on the wind conditions, which he estimated to be from the west-southwest about 40 miles per hour.

After paying for the fuel, the pilot went to the terminal building to use the WeatherData Inc., computer. Approximately 30-40 minutes later, he returned to the FBO, and prepared the airplane for flight.

A witness, a certificated pilot who reported over 1,000 hours of flight time, said he was at his parents house, about 3 miles east of Fulton County Airport, when he heard a "normal aircraft sound" fly overhead from east to southwest; at an altitude of approximately 1,000 feet, between 1510 and 1515. As the airplane flew overhead, he made the comment, "Who would be out in these winds?" He left his parents' house at 1530, and did not learn about the accident until later that day.

A review of radar data revealed that a target emitting a visual flight rules (VFR) transponder beacon code approached Fulton County Airport from the northeast. The last 2 1/2 minutes of radar data revealed that the target turned west and tracked toward runway 27. During that time, the target descended from 1,900 feet msl to 900 feet msl, before the data ended at 1909:52. The last radar return was located approximately 0.19 miles from the end of the runway, at a ground speed of 68 knots. The elevation of the airport was 779 feet msl.

The wreckage was located about 1545, by an individual who was driving on a road perpendicular to the runway.

The accident occurred during the hours of daylight, approximately 41 degrees, 36 minutes north latitude, and 84 degrees, 07 minutes west longitude.

PILOT INFORMATION

The pilot held an air transport pilot certificate with a rating for rotorcraft-helicopter. He also held a commercial certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land, and instrument airplane. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third class medical was issued on August 14, 2001.

Examination of the pilot's logbook revealed that he had a total of approximately 4,113 flight hours, of which, 14 hours were in the last 90 days.

A certified flight instructor had given the pilot 1.7 hours of flight instruction in the airplane on May 8, 2003. Examination of flight logs revealed the pilot had accrued a total of approximately 7 hours in make and model at the time of the accident.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

Weather reported at Toledo Express Airport (TOL), Toledo, Ohio, about 14 nautical miles west of Wauseon, at 1452, included winds from 240 degrees at 33 knots gusting to 45 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, scattered clouds 4,200 feet, overcast clouds 5,500 feet, temperature 59 degrees F, dewpoint 41 degrees F, and a barometric pressure of 29.50 inches Hg.

An urgent weather message, which was issued by the National Weather Service on May 11, 2003, at 1202, and expired at 2000, included Wauseon, Ohio. According to the message:

"An intense low pressure system over the upper Great Lakes will cause strong southwest to west winds across southern Michigan...northern Indiana...and northwest Ohio today. Winds will be sustained at 25 to 35 mph with gusts of 45 to 55 mph much of the day.

A wind advisory is issued when sustained winds of 30 mph or greater are expected for at least an hour or wind gust of 45 mph or greater occur at any time. Without extra precautions these winds may cause minor property damage. Motorists in high profile vehicles should exercise great care."

The manager of the Fulton County Airport stated that the wind conditions at the airport at the time of the accident, were from the west, southwest between 30-40 mph and gusting to 40-50 mph.

Runway 27 was a 3,882-foot-long and 75-foot-wide asphalt runway with 80-foot trees located on the north and south sides of the first third of the runway. The trees on the north side of the runway were about 200 feet from runway centerline, while the trees on the south side of the runway were about 550 feet from runway centerline. The airport manager described turbulence that occurred at times between the two sections of trees as a "terrible, terrible funnel effect...with lots of rolling wind."

WRECKAGE INFORMATION

The wreckage was examined at the site on May 12-13, 2003. All major components and all flight control surfaces were accounted for at the scene. The wreckage was located off airport property, in a muddy, barren corn field, about 350 feet north of the approach end of runway 27.

The airplane came to rest upright, the nose gear was separated, and both wings remained partially attached to the fuselage. The cockpit area was crushed, and there was no post-impact fire.

The wreckage path measured 100 feet from the initial ground scar to the main wreckage, and was oriented 358 degrees magnetic. The airplane came to rest oriented 240 degrees magnetic.

The initial impact point was a ground scar, where broken pieces of green navigational lens were found imbedded. Also found along the wreckage path were the right wing tip, landing light, nose landing gear, and the lower and upper section of the engine cowling.

Examination of the airplane revealed that the left main landing gear was extended, and the right main landing gear was retracted. The landing gear selector handle was broken and in the "up" position.

Control cable continuity was established for each of the flight control surfaces to the cockpit.

Examination of the flap actuator jack screw revealed that the flaps were fully extended.

The left wing fuel tank was full and the right wing fuel tank was partially filled with blue-colored fuel. The fuel selector valve was found set to the right tank.

The engine was intact, but exhibited impact damage, and all three propeller blades remained attached to the propeller hub. The first blade was straight and exhibited some front face polishing. The second blade was bent slightly aft, and also exhibited front face polishing. The third blade was bent aft, and exhibited front face polishing and trailing edge nicks near the tip.

The top and bottom spark plugs were removed, and appeared light gray in color.

The fuel injector nozzles were removed and examined. The nozzles were absent of debris, except for the #1 nozzle.

All of the fuel lines were intact and secure. Fuel was present at the fuel pump, injector, and flow divider.

The fuel servo filter screen was removed and found absent of debris. In addition, a small amount of fuel was found in the firewall fuel strainer bowl, and the filter was absent of debris.

Valve train continuity and compression in each cylinder were confirmed by manual rotation of the propeller flange. While the engine was being rotated, spark was produced to each ignition lead, except the #3 bottom due to the harness being torn. The harness was then manually cut at the terminal, the engine was rotated again, and spark was observed.

The oil suction screen was removed and examined. The only debris noted was an inch-long, thin piece of sealant.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot on May 12, 2003, by the Lucas County Coroner's Office, Toledo, Ohio.

Toxicological testing was performed by the FAA Toxicology Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

A review of fueling records revealed that the airplane was fueled with 37.3 gallons of 100 LL fuel on the day of the accident, which filled the tanks.

Fulton County Airport was last inspected in March 2003. The airport manager reported that the airport commission, along with state and local government, had been working for several years to have the trees, which were located on private property, removed.

A review of the May 15, 2003, edition of the Airport/Facility Directory revealed that there were no remarks which warned pilots of the possible encounter with turbulence when landing on runway 27.

The airplane wreckage was released to a representative of the owner's insurance company on June 4, 2003.

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