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N5050G accident description

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Tail numberN5050G
Accident dateDecember 20, 1997
Aircraft typeBeech A 36
LocationFindlay, OH
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On December 20, 1997, at 0700 eastern standard time, a Beech A 36, N5050G, operated by G F Aviation Inc. of Findlay, Ohio, was destroyed when it collided with trees during initial climb from Findlay Airport, Findlay, Ohio. The pilot in command, a certificated airline transport pilot that occupied the right front seat, and the non-instrument rated private pilot that occupied the left front seat, were fatally injured. Also a pilot rated passenger seated in the rear was fatally injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan had been filed for the flight that was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. The flight originated at Findlay, and was destined for White Plains, New York.

According to the General Manager of the parent company of G F Aviation, the pilot in the left front seat was the CEO of the company, and owner of the airplane. The purpose of the flight was to fly the CEO home for the weekend. A weather observer at the airport said, the airplane radioed that he was departing runway 18. The observer issued the altimeter setting, and the pilot of 5050G commented that the visibility was getting better. The observer said he went outside to check the weather to issue a special report when he heard sirens, and saw the police heading south on State Route 15.

Several witnesses heard the airplane takeoff, and also heard the impact. A witness driving on the southbound lane of State Route 15 said, she observed a white light and a green light pass in front of her car, and then an explosion followed. Another witness who lived on a nearby road, said she awoke to the sound of an airplane taking off. She said shortly after, she heard a high pitched explosion. When she looked outside she saw a huge orange glow, then an explosion followed.

The accident occurred during the hours of dawn about 40 degrees 59 minutes north latitude and 83 degrees 39 minutes west longitude.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot who occupied the left front seat, held a private pilot certificate with a rating for single engine airplane. He did not possess an instrument rating. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third class medical certificate was issued on June 12, 1997, with a restriction, and he reported over 600 hours of total flight experience. The restriction was that he must have glasses available for near vision.

The pilot who occupied the right front seat, held an airline transport pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine and multiengine land, and instrument airplane. He also held a flight instructor certificate for airplane single and multiengine land, and instrument airplane.

His most recent FAA first class medical certificate was issued on June 23, 1997, with a restriction, and he reported over 6,700 hours of total flight experience. The restriction was that he must wear corrective lenses, and possess glasses for near and interim vision.

METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS

At 0650 Findlay issued the following observation:

Sky condition, ceiling 100 feet; visibility, 1/4 mile in fog; temperature, 0 degrees Fahrenheit (F); dew point, 1 degree F; winds 310 degrees at 4 knots; and altimeter 30.01Hg.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane wreckage was examined at the accident site on December 21, 1997, and it was moved to a hangar and further examined on December 22, 1997. Examination of the airplane wreckage revealed that all major components of the airplane were accounted for at the scene.

Examination of the accident site revealed impact scars at the tops of 75 foot high trees in a wooded area, along the east side of the airport approximately mid-way between the runway and accident site. The initial pieces of the wreckage scatter path included yellow-color paint flakes, small fragments of plastic window, and about a foot of the outboard section of the left aileron. The wreckage path indicated a general magnetic heading of 114 degrees.

The wreckage was scattered in an approximate linear pattern extending about 500 feet beyond the initial impact point (IIP). The IIP were broken tree branches. A few of 2 inch diameter branches were found below the last broken tree tops. The tree branches were similar to the branches on the trees and exhibited clean diagonal cuts. The initial ground impact point was 191 feet from the last set of broken tree tops.

About 7 feet of the outboard section of left wing was found about 150 feet from the initial ground impact point. The vertical stabilizer and front cabin door had separated from the fuselage and were located along the west perimeter of the burnt main wreckage. The main wreckage was at the end of the wreckage scatter path, about 1/4 mile east of runway 18.

The main wreckage consisted of the engine, fuselage nose section, nose landing gear assembly, fire-consumed fuselage cabin area, section of right wing with the right flap, aileron and right main landing gear, empennage and inboard section of the left wing with left flap and left main landing gear. The rudder separated from the vertical stabilizer and remained attached to its control cables with the aft fuselage.

The left and right wing actuators measured 1 3/4 and 1 5/8 inches respectively. According to the Beech Investigator this corresponded to the flaps up position. The landing gear actuator was destroyed by fire.

Elevator and rudder control system cables exhibited cable continuity from the cockpit area to their respective flight control surfaces. Aileron control cable continuity was confirmed from the cockpit area to their respective aileron control bellcranks. The left and right elevator trim tab measured 1 1/4 and 1 1/2 inches respectively. According to the Beech Investigator this corresponded to 1 degree up and 8 degrees down trim tab deflection.

The engine, fire-consumed fuselage cabin area, outboard section of right wing, empennage and inboard section of the left wing with the flap and main landing gear came to rest inverted.

The propeller remained attached to the engine with all three blades exhibiting aft bending and twisting. The engine was examined visually at the accident site and then moved to a hangar for further examination. The visual external inspection of the engine did not reveal any catastrophic failure.

The engine had sustained impact and fire damage. The number 5 cylinder rocker arm cover was broken, and portions of the rocker cover boss on the head and most of the adjacent cooling fins were broken. The top spark plugs in this cylinder were broken off. There was also impact damage to the exhaust and intake system. The left magneto was broken off at the flange and had sustained fire damage to the forward part of the housing.

The fuel pump was removed and the fuel pump coupling was intact. The upper spark plugs were removed and inspected. Their electrodes exhibited normal appearance when compared to a champion aviation check-a-plug card.

After the spark plugs were removed, an attempt was made to rotate the engine manually, but the engine would not rotate easily. The engine was shipped to Continental for further examination.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

The engine was examined under the supervision of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on March 30, 1998.

Visual inspection of the engine revealed that the engine was exposed to fire and heat. The fire damage was fairly extensive, charring the rocker covers and cylinder head fins and rear section of the engine. The left magneto mounting flange to the engine was broken and rear of the magneto was melted. The ignition harness was burned.

The number 5 forward cylinder head fins were partially melted. The rocker box for this cylinder was broken as a result of the impact. Dirt from the accident site was impacted in number 6 cylinder head fins.

The engine was disassembled. The engine oil pump gears and their respective cavities exhibited normal operational signatures. The oil pressure relief valve was removed and its seat and plunger were clean.

The throttle and metering assembly was inspected. The throttle arm lever was loose on the throttle shaft. The arm had slipped on the steel serrated shaft. According to the Continental Investigator it could not be determined if this slippage occurred prior to or at the impact. The throttle body exhibited some fire damage.

The throttle/metering control was flow checked for functional testing. The throttle/fuel control assembly flowed according to the specifications at the full throttle setting. The engine driven fuel pump was disassembled and the internal components exhibited normal operational signatures.

According to the Continental Investigator, the engine exhibited normal operational signatures throughout. All internal components appeared well lubricated. The engine did not exhibit any condition that would have caused an operational problem.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy of both pilots was done by Dr. Diane Barnett, Medical Examiner, Toledo, Ohio on December 21, 1997.

Toxicological testing was conducted on both pilots by the FAA Toxicology Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The toxicological report was negative for the pilot in the left seat. The toxicological report for the pilot in the right front seat stated:

***26.500 (ug/ml, ug/g) Salicylate detected in Urine.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The airplane wreckage was released on January 16, 1998, to Dave Pearson, a representative of the owner's insurance company.

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