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N136SB accident description

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Tail numberN136SB
Accident dateOctober 20, 2003
Aircraft typeBeech A36
LocationSeaside, OR
Near 46.0 N, -123.903611 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On October 20, 2003, about 1545 Pacific daylight time a Beech A36, N136SB, registered to Mid Columbia Bus Co. Inc. and operated by a private pilot, collided with trees and subsequently the terrain shortly after takeoff from the Seaside Municipal Airport, Seaside, Oregon. Marginal visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight. The aircraft was destroyed by impact forces and a post-crash fire. The pilot was fatally injured. The flight originated from Newport, Oregon, about 30 minutes prior to the accident.

Several witnesses in the area reported observing the aircraft. One witness reported that he was at his residence in Gearhart, Oregon, located about two miles north of the airstrip. This witness reported that the aircraft was traveling from west to east at an elevation "just above tree-top level". The witness stated that the aircraft was going "very fast at high RPM's". The aircraft then turned to the south toward Seaside. The witness stated that the weather was heavy rain, high wind and low visibility.

Two witnesses located near the north end of the Seaside airstrip both reported seeing the aircraft traveling to the south approaching the runway. Both witnesses reported hearing the engine as "running fine" and "sounded like it was wide open." One witness reported that the pilot was fighting the winds and the aircraft did not have the landing gear down. At the approach end, this witness heard the engine "throttle back up then heard an explosion." The other witness stated that he observed the aircraft rocking back and forth as the winds were blowing out of the south "very hard." The witness lost sight of the aircraft momentarily due to obstructions. When the witness saw the aircraft again, it was still traveling to the south, however the nose was pointing up and the right wing was low. The witness then lost sight of the aircraft again due to obstructions.

Another witness stated that she was in her apartment that backs the airstrip on the west side and near the south end. This witness stated that she heard the aircraft coming in for a landing. She stated that she heard the wheels hit the runway, there was a few seconds of no sound after the wheels touched down, then she heard the engine accelerate. This witness stated that she did not see the aircraft, only heard it. She believed that the touch down was near the south end of the runway.

Two witnesses located to the southeast of the airstrip reported that the aircraft was first seen turning to the northeast. One witness stated that the aircraft was about 150 feet over his house in the turn. The winds were from the south at about 40 mph. The rain was heavy at times and the visibility was less than 500 feet. The other witness reported that he was outside of his residence cleaning out the gutters. This witness stated that the rain was "very hard and the wind was blowing rain under the roof overhang." The wind was "very strong from the SSW." The witness heard the aircraft engine "roaring at what sounded like full throttle." The clouds were very low and the rain was restricting visibility. The witness stated that "the engine noise, which was strong and constant, was very loud, then it suddenly stopped." Shortly thereafter, two distinct noises were heard, "like gasoline makes when it ignites." The witness further stated that from the time he first heard the engine to when it ceased, it was running smooth with no indication of engine trouble. The rain was heavy, and the ceiling was "well down on the hills, not more than 200 feet above our home."

One other witness reported in a telephone interview that he was in his apartment located on the south end of the airstrip and three houses to the west of the accident site. This witness reported that he saw the aircraft in a steep banking left turn to the north. He thought that the aircraft was about 150 to 200 feet high. The visibility at the time was about 1/4 mile.

Sheriff Department personnel were on site shortly after the accident and reported that the cloud ceiling appeared to fluctuate between 500 to 700 feet. The wind was blowing out of the southwest between 25 to 35 knots. Varying degrees of precipitation was falling.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

At the time of the accident, the pilot held a private pilot certificate for single-engine land aircraft which had been issued in January, 1995. The pilot's flight logbook was not located and presumed destroyed in the wreckage. The pilot held a Class III FAA medical certificate dated August 11, 2003. A limitation indicated that the pilot must have available glasses for near vision. At this time, the pilot indicated a total flight time of 6,350 hours. Approximately 125 hours had been flown in the previous 6 months.

The pilot's brother reported that his brother was the only one who flew this aircraft. The company, in which the pilot was the CEO, has another Bonanza that the other brother fly’s. He was not aware of any problems with N136SB.

The brother stated that the purpose of the flight was that the pilot was attending meetings. The pilot had initially departed from Pendleton, Oregon, about 1000 that day with a destination to Newport, Oregon. About 1230, the brother spoke with the pilot who was at Newport at the time. The pilot stated that the winds were high, and that the weather was improving. He also reported that he had another meeting in Troutdale, Oregon, but it was not pressing. The brother stated that he thought that the pilot was going to over night it in Newport.

The brother also stated that the pilot had been into Seaside before for a conference the previous year.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The aircraft maintenance logbooks were reported to have been in the aircraft at the time of the accident and were destroyed. The mechanic who accomplished the last annual inspection on the aircraft and engine reported that the inspection was signed off on June 16, 2003 at a tach and total airframe time of 4,646 hours. The engine, a Teledyne Continental IO-550-B28B, had accumulated a total time since major overhaul of 1,371 hours at the time.

The mechanic stated that he thought that the aircraft would have flown about 100 hours since the last annual inspection The mechanic reported that the company had been doing a lot of upgrades on the aircraft for avionics, paint and interior. The engine had had a problem with one cylinder and since it was so close to overhaul, he removed and installed six reconditioned cylinders and pistons to keep the aircraft operating until the scheduled overhaul. The mechanic stated that he was not aware of any problems with the aircraft at the time of the accident.

During the engine inspection on November 5, 2003, it was noted that the oil filter can displayed a hand written date of 10/20/03, and a time of 4,748.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The nearest weather reporting facility is located approximately eight nautical miles north of Seaside in Astoria, Oregon. At 1548 the winds were reported from 200 degrees at 24 knots, gusting to 34 knots. Visibility was 2 statute miles with rain and mist. The clouds were scattered at 1,100 feet, broken at 1,900 feet and overcast at 3,500 feet. The temperature was 18 degrees C, and the altimeter setting was 29.93" Hg.

A wind gauge located at the Seaside Police Department, Seaside, records the wind conditions in the area for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. At 1500, the log entry indicated that the wind direction was from the south at 20.2 knots. The temperature was 65 degrees and the pressure was 29.95" Hg. Peak gusts were recorded at 41 knots, with an average of 31 knots for the day.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

On October 21, 2003, investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board, Federal Aviation Administration, and Raytheon Aircraft conducted the on-scene investigation.

The wreckage was located on flat terrain that was covered with dense trees in height to about 60-70 feet and thick underbrush. The soil was soft and moist. The accident site was approximately 400 yards east and abeam the departure end of runway 34 at 46 degrees 00.730 north latitude, 123 degrees 54.130 west longitude. The terrain elevation was approximately 35 feet mean sea level.

The initial impact point was identified at a Hemlock tree with the upper trunk broken off about 40-50 feet above ground level (AGL). The diameter of trunk at the break was about 18 inches. Several broken limbs were found at the base of this tree.

From the initial impact tree to the resting point of the main wreckage, a 300 degree magnetic bearing was noted. Ten feet further along this bearing from the initial impact, another tree impact with the top broken off was noted at about the same height above ground level. The trunk of this tree at the break was about six inches in diameter. Approximately 47 feet further along this path another tree impact to an Alder tree was noted. This tree had about three branching off-shoots off of the same base and breaks to the trunks were noted about 25 feet AGL. All of the branches were about eight inches in diameter. The tops of these trunks had the bark rubbed/scraped off at multiple locations. At the base of this Alder tree a 90-inch section of the left wing (stall vane located in middle of the circular indentation) was found wrapped about the trunk of one of the three off-shoots. The left wing tip fuel tank, was located in three pieces on the ground. About three gallons of blue colored fuel remained in the tip tank. The tail cone, the top rudder weight, and the engine muffler were all located in this same area. The left wing section still had attached a 14-inch section of the aileron that remained attached at a hinge. The leading edge circular indent was about 14-inches in diameter. Wood fibers were noted embedded in the metal folds.

A circular crater in the soil was noted approximately 30 feet further along this path. The crater was 18-inches deep, nine feet in length, and seven feet wide. Within the crater the battery, sections of windshield, the left side engine cowling and the magnetic compass were located. The nose gear strut was located ten feet to the north side of the crater.

The main wreckage came to rest approximately 14 feet beyond the crater. The nose of the airplane was positioned to 180 degrees. The engine was located under the cabin area and facing in the opposite direction. The cabin area was completely consumed by the post-crash fire. The right wing was located in front of the main wreckage and propped on edge up against a tree.

The right wing displayed two circular indents along the leading edge. The first indent was eight feet outboard of the root. The indent was about 9-inches in diameter. The other indent was about 44-inches further outboard and was about 18-inches in diameter. The tip tank separated at the attach point. The tank was located within five feet of the right wing. Both the flap and aileron remained attached to their respective hinges.

The remainder of the left wing was located within the main wreckage and had been consumed by the fire. Aileron cables for the left wing were melted in and among the debris.

The empennage section remained upright and was positioned with the aft end on the ground. The structure forward of the vertical and horizontal stabilizers was burned away. Both the right and left side horizontal stabilizers remained attached with the right and left side elevators attached to their respective hinges. The right side trim tab remained attached to the hinge. Minor leading edge damage was noted to the right side tip. The left side showed similar leading edge damage, however the counterweight was missing. The trim tab remained attached to the hinge.

The vertical stabilizer remained attached, with the rudder attached to its respective hinges. The top of the rudder weight had separated from impact damage. The elevator control cables remained attached at the aft end attach point and ran forward to the auto pilot pitch bridle. The trim cables remained attached at the servo. The trim tab cables traveled in unison forward to the burn area. The rudder yaw damper remained connected to the rudder.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

A post-mortem was performed on the pilot by the Oregon State Medical Examiner, Dr. Glenn Rudner, M.D. The pilot's cause of death was reported as multiple blunt force traumatic injuries.

Toxicological samples were sent to the Federal Aviation Administration Civil Aeromedical Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The results of the analysis were negative.

ADDITIONAL DATA/INFORMATION

Radar data of the aircraft's flight path was provided by the U.S. Air Force 84th Radar Evaluation Squadron, McChord Air Force Base, Washington. The data indicated that the aircraft was first picked up on radar at 1515, departing from Newport. The flight path travels northbound following the coast line just off shore. Due to altitude and terrain between the coastline and the radar antenna site located in Salem, Oregon, only three of the targets identified an altitude of 3,200 feet. Radar was lost on the aircraft off shore from Cutler City, Oregon. Coverage was again picked up at 1530 off shore of Netarts, Oregon, and then lost again as the aircraft was approaching Tillamook Bay. The last five targets identified an altitude of 1,600 feet. No further radar data was available north of Tillamook, Oregon.

The wreckage was recovered from the accident site by personnel from HLM Air Services on October 21, 2003, and transported to Independence, Oregon. On November 5, 2003, investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board, Federal Aviation Administration, and Teledyne Continental Motors inspected the engine.

The engine displayed heat distress and impact damage. The right magneto displayed impact damage and could not be rotated. The left magneto produced a spark from all towers via hand rotation.

The engine driven fuel pump was displaced from the mount. The drive shaft was bent, but intact. The pump still rotated.

The top spark plugs were removed and all electrodes displayed normal operating signatures.

The propeller assembly remained attached to the crankshaft and was later removed. All three propeller blades remained attached to the hub. Blade A displayed an aft approximate 90 degree bend about 6 inches from the tip. The tip displayed chordwise scoring. Blade B displayed an aft about 80 degree bend at the out board section. The tip was torn off. The outboard 10 inches of blade C was burned off, with the tip of that section bent aft. All pitch links were broken.

The crankshaft was rotated by hand. Accessory gear and valve train continuity was established. Mud and dirt was noted in and around the accessory gearing. Compression was developed in all cylinders except for number 3 due to debris and impact damage.

The oil filter remained attached at the mount and displayed a hand written date of 10/20/03, and a time of 4,748 on the can.

The manifold valve was intact, however, some of the injector lines were compromised. The valve was opened and the diaphragm was found intact and pliable. The screen contained a small amount of a muddy substance on one area of the screen.

The wreckage was released to the owner's representative on November 12, 2003.

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