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N53443 accident description

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Tail numberN53443
Accident dateNovember 05, 2006
Aircraft typeCessna 172S
LocationHominy, OK
Near 36.461111 N, -96.495555 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On November 5, 2006, at 0124 central standard time, a single-engine Cessna 172S airplane, N53443, was destroyed upon impact with terrain during cruise flight near Hominy, Oklahoma. The non-instrument rated private pilot and one passenger were fatally injured and two passengers were seriously injured. One of the injured passengers was able to use his cellular phone to make a call to 911and the local authorities were able to initiate a search for the aircraft. The remains of the aircraft were located at 0541. The airplane was owned and operated by Yingling Aviation, Inc., of Wichita, Kansas. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed throughout the area for 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. A visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan was filed for the 114-nautical mile night cross-country flight that originated from the Tulsa International Airport (KTUL),near Tulsa, Oklahoma, at 0100, with the Wichita Mid-Continent Airport (KICT) near Wichita, Kansas, as its intended destination.

According to information provided by air traffic control, the airplane was observed on radar at 0122 at an altitude of 1,200 feet mean sea level (MSL) traveling on a heading of 294 degrees on a course that would have placed the airplane on the planned route of flight using Ponca City Regional Airport (KPNC), near Ponca City, Oklahoma, as a waypoint; however. The airplane collided with terrain approximately 22.9 nautical miles northwest of KTUL. The elevation at the initial point of impact was a measured 1,015 feet MSL. There were no eyewitnesses to the accident.

The flight was conducted as a personal flight. The purpose of the flight was for all of the occupants of the airplane to attend a musical concert in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with the intent to return to Wichita at the conclusion of the concert. The investigation revealed that there was no apparent sense of urgency to return to the home airport the night of the accident. It was also learned that the airplane was not scheduled for a flight the next morning and none of the 4 occupants had any urgent needs to justify the late night return flight.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The private pilot held ratings for airplane single-engine land and had received his certificate on August 30, 2006. He was reported to have accumulated a total of 61-hours of flight time , which included 14-hours of solo/pilot in command time, 10-hours of cross country time, 4.1-hours of night time, and 4.0-hours of simulated instrument time. The pilot's last class 3 medical certificate was issued in November 2005. The pilot was the recipient of the first scholarship award from the combined program from the Yingling Aviation Company and Cessna Aircraft to achieve a private pilot’s certificate.

The pilot's father, who was occupying the right front seat of the airplane, had flown as a student pilot in previous years; however, he never received a pilot certificate.

Both passengers in the rear seats survived the accident and were critically injured, but remained conscious during the search and rescue. One of the passengers called 911 using his personal cellular phone and reported the crash and remained in contact with the local authorities until they were found. The statements of both surviving passengers contain similar accounts of the mishap.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The single-engine aircraft was purchase new by the current owner on May 21, 2003. Total time recorded in the airframe maintenance records was 2,373.8 hours as of the last maintenance performed on November 2, 2006. A review of the engine maintenance records revealed a total time on the engine of 2,338.7 hours at the time of completion of the phase 1 maintenance inspection on October 20, 2006, and was the original engine that was delivered with the aircraft.

The 2003-model airplane, serial number 172S9370, was equipped for flight into night and instrument flight conditions. The airplane was reported to have been equipped with a factory installed autopilot system. The operation of the auto pilot during the impact sequence could not be determined due to impact damage. The auto pilot circuit breaker was found "popped." The airplane was also equipped with a panel mounted GPS, which did not have the capability to retain memory.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

Weather from KTUL was reported at 0053 to be winds at 120 degrees at 6 knots with visibility of 8 statute miles, overcast ceiling at 3,600 feet, temperature of 12 degrees Centigrade and dew point 9 degrees centigrade with an altimeter setting of 30.17 inches of Mercury. The initial weather briefing received at 12:05 AM from the Wichita flight service station indicated a scattered layer of clouds at 2,800 feet and an overcast layer at 3,400 feet with visibility 10 statute miles, surface winds were reported from 180 degrees and 10 knots, with light rain falling the local Tulsa area.

Moon illumination was reported to be a full moon. The overcast sky condition, reduced visibility due to rain and the scattered cloud layer, as well as the unpopulated terrain over the route of flight from Tulsa to Ponca City presented little illumination for ground references or a visible horizon. Local police helicopter support for search and rescue operations was delayed due to IFR conditions with their helicopter only being equipped for flight in VFR conditions.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane impacted the ground on a measured heading of 240-degrees, coming to rest in the inverted position on a measured magnetic heading of 010-degrees a measured distance of 501-feet from the initial impact point.

Ground signatures, ground scars, and damage sustained by the airframe were consistent with ground impact at a near level flight attitude. From the initial impact point to the final resting point were portions of the left wing, the oil service access door, assorted pieces of windshield Plexiglas, landing gear fairing , engine cowling and the nose gear assembly that was scattered over a 450 feet debris path.

Examination of the wreckage was consistent with a normal running engine and the airplane was found to be configured for cruise flight. Flight control continuity was established at the accident site.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was requested and performed by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The reported cause of death was stated as blunt force trauma to the head and chest.

Toxicological testing on the pilot was performed by the FAA's Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI) Forensic Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, for carbon monoxide, cyanide, volatiles, and tested drugs. Test results were negative.

FIRE

There was no in-flight or post impact fire.

SURVIVAL ASPECTS

Both passengers in the rear seats survived the accident and were critically injured, but remained conscious during the search and rescue. One passenger called 911 using his personal cell phone and reported the crash and remained in contact until they were found. The statements of both surviving passengers contained similar accounts of the mishap. During the first attempt to fly back to Wichita, the aircraft flew into instrument meteorological conditions (IMC), including dense clouds and turbulence. The surviving passengers reported that the pilot "did not like the weather conditions" and decided to return to the Tulsa Airport. Once on the ground, the pilot checked the weather once again and told the passengers that he would try again and fly a different route of flight. The pilot explained that his new route of flight would be perpendicular to the storm line and would take them through the weather much faster. The surviving passengers confirmed that during the mishap flight, the aircraft again flew into dense clouds and turbulence. The pilot was overheard to say he didn’t like what he was flying into. One of the surviving passenger noticed the altimeter indicated they were flying at less than 2,000 feet. Neither surviving passenger remembers the impact. They each woke-up in the wreckage. The wreckage and the surviving passengers were not located for 4 hours and 29 minutes.

The airplane was equipped with seat belts and shoulder harnesses for all four occupants. They were all in use during the accident sequence.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The wreckage of the airplane was released to the owner's representative upon completion of the investigation.

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