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N7947M accident description

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Tail numberN7947M
Accident dateMay 12, 2008
Aircraft typeBeech V35
LocationBristol, OH
Near 39.718889 N, -81.723334 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On May 12, 2008, at 1105 eastern daylight time (all referenced times are eastern daylight time), a Beech V35 Bonanza, N7947M, operated by an instrument rated private pilot, was destroyed on impact following an in-flight breakup while in cruise flight near Bristol, Ohio. Instrument meteorological conditions existed at the airplane's assigned cruise altitude and marginal visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the surface. The personal flight was operating under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 while on an instrument flight plan. The pilot and his passenger were fatally injured. The flight departed Tri-State/Ferguson Field (HTS) in Huntington, West Virginia, around 1020, and was enroute to Greater Rochester International (ROC), Rochester, New York.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) air traffic control data, the airplane departed HTS and proceeded north-northeast enroute to ROC. At 1042:02 (hhmm:ss), the pilot established radio contact with Indianapolis Air Route Traffic Control Center's (ARTCC) Parkersburg Sector. The airplane continued north-northeast at 7,000 feet mean sea level (msl). At 1050:29, the pilot stated "... can we try going up two or three hundred feet? I think we're right in the tops where we are." The air traffic controller cleared the pilot to climb to 9,000 feet msl. At 1055:27, aircraft radar track data showed the airplane level at 9,000 feet msl on a north-northeast course.

At 1055:49, the pilot was told to change to another Indianapolis ARTCC radio frequency. At 1056:46, the pilot established radio contact with Indianapolis ARTCC's Columbus Sector and was given the local altimeter setting. At 1056:55, the pilot acknowledged the local altimeter setting. There were no additional communications received by the accident pilot.

At 1102:00, the airplane made a 35-degree right turn to the east-northeast at 9,100 feet msl. At 1103:42, the airplane made a left turn to a heading of north. The airplane then entered a descending right spiral. During the next 40 seconds, the airplane descended from 9,100 to 7,800 feet msl. The calculated descent rate incrementally increased to approximately 4,200 feet/min. At 1104:22, the airplane's altitude was last reported at 7,800 feet msl. At 1104:32, the final radar return was recorded without any altitude information.

According Indianapolis ARTCC, the pilot made no distress call and did not indicate that the airplane was experiencing any mechanical difficulty during the accident flight.

The nearest weather reporting station was located at Zanesville Municipal Airport (ZZV) about 17.8 miles north-northwest of the accident site. The airport was equipped with an Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS). The following weather conditions were reported by the ZZV ASOS:

At 1110: wind 320 degrees at 9 knots; visibility 3 miles with light rain and mist; few clouds at 600 feet above ground level (agl), broken ceiling at 1,100 feet agl, sky overcast at 1,900 feet agl; temperature 11 degrees Celsius; dew point 9 degrees Celsius; altimeter setting 29.75 inches of mercury.

The accident location was within the boundaries of an instrument flight rules (IFR) advisory. Instrument meteorological conditions were possible within clouds between 2,000 and 10,000 feet msl. The accident location was about 18.4 miles northwest of the western edge of a moderate turbulence advisory area. Light to moderate turbulence was possible below 10,000 feet msl. The accident location was along the western edge of a moderate icing advisory area. There was a possibility of moderate structural icing above the freezing level at 6,000 feet msl. The local weather radar indicated weak radar echoes with cloud tops above 10,000 feet in the accident area.

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