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N5618U accident description

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Tail numberN5618U
Accident dateDecember 12, 2006
Aircraft typePiper PA-28-140
LocationBandon, OR
Near 43.097222 N, -124.399444 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF THE FLIGHT

On December 12, 2006, at 1248 Pacific standard time, a Piper PA-28-140, N5618U, sustained substantial damage when it collided with terrain approximately 1 mile northeast of the Bandon State Airport, Bandon, Oregon. The airplane was being operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) solo training flight under the provisions of Title 14, CFR Part 91. The student pilot, who also owned the airplane, was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight. The flight originated from Bandon about 1220.

According to the pilot's flight instructor, the student pilot planned on doing touch-and-go take-off and landings at Bandon.

A witness reported that he observed the airplane in a steep, nose-low, left downwind to base turn (runway 16). The witness reported the airplane continued the descending turn until loosing sight of the aircraft behind a tree line.

The wreckage was later located in a cranberry bog in the general vicinity of the witnesses sighting. The airplane impacted terrain in the left wing down, nose-low attitude.

PILOT INFORMATION

FAA records indicated that on February 16, 2004, the pilot was issued a Third Class Airman Medical and Student Pilot Certificate. The certificate contained a limitation that required the pilot to wear corrective lenses while exercising the privileges of the airman's certificate. On the application form (Form 8500-8), the pilot listed 0 hours of flight time.

Additionally, the airman records indicated the pilot was issued a Third Class Airman Medical and Student Pilot Certificate on February 6, 2006. The certificate also contained the limitation that required the pilot to wear corrective lenses. On the application form for the certificate, the pilot listed 248 hours total flight time, of which 89 were accrued during the 6-month period preceding the medical certificate.

The Third Class Airman Medical and Student Pilot Certificate, issued on February 6, 2006, was located at the accident site. Review of the certificate showed that it had been endorsed by the student pilot's certified flight instructor (CFI) for solo flight operations in a "PA28-140," the same make and model as the accident airplane. The endorsement was dated August 21, 2004.

Flight time logbook records showed that the pilot logged approximately 325 hours of total time, of which 261 hours were solo. The pilot's most recent 90-day solo endorsement was on October 11, 2006. The pilot's most recent dual instructional flight was on October 11, 2006. The flight was 1 hour in duration.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane, a single-engine Piper, serial number 28-26413, was manufactured in 1969 and was certified in the normal and utility category. The airplane was equipped with a Textron Lycoming O-320 engine.

Maintenance records indicated that the airplane's last inspection, an annual inspection of the airframe, engine and propeller, was completed on October 10, 2006. The airframe total time at inspection was 3,577.9 hours. The airplane had accumulated approximately 18 hours from the time of the inspection to the time of the accident.

No open maintenance discrepancies were noted during a review of the logbook records.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records indicated that the pilot purchased the airplane in November of 2004.

COMMUNICATIONS

The pilot's last radio transmission, on the Unicom frequency, was a position report. He stated he was turning from downwind to base.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

Representatives from the National Transportation Safety Board, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Piper Aircraft and Textron Lycoming examined the wreckage on December 13-14.

The crash site was located in the confines of a drained cranberry bog approximately 150 feet above mean sea level (MSL). The surrounding terrain was flat and bordered by deciduous trees. The site was located approximately .5 miles northeast of the approach end of runway 16.

The wreckage debris field encompassed an area approximately 180 feet in length (from west to east). The first identified point of contact was a ground scar on the west end of the debris field. Red glass, consistent in size and color to the left navigation light, was observed near the first identified point of contact with the ground (west end of the debris field). Numerous fragments consisting of cockpit instrumentation, system components, airframe structure and personal belongings were scattered from the initial impact point to the main wreckage. A majority of the wreckage was located at the east end of the debris field.

The main wreckage consisted of the remains of the engine assembly, fuselage, pieces of the wing assembly and empennage. The wreckage was severely fragmented. Impact damage and post-crash thermal related damage was noted to the airframe and associated components. The left wing separated from the fuselage at the wing root and was broken into several pieces. Impact related damage was noted to the outboard leading edge of the wing. The associated aileron and flap were partially attached to the wing assembly. The right wing remained attached to the fuselage. Impact and thermal related damage was noted to the assembly. The associated aileron and flap remained attached to the wing assembly. The empennage was located with the main wreckage. The vertical stabilizer and rudder remained attached to the airframe and little damage was noted to the assembly. A majority of the horizontal stabilator assembly remained attached to the airframe. Extensive impact related damage was noted to the horizontal stabilator. The left outboard section of the stabilator was separated from the assembly. The section was located along the wreckage debris path. The engine remained partially attached to the airframe and was located with the main wreckage. Impact and thermal related damage was noted to the entire assembly. The 2-bladed propeller was separated from the engine and located near the midway point of the wreckage debris path. Aft bending, chord wise striations, polishing and tortional bending were noted to both blades.

All major aircraft components and flight controls were located at the crash site. Examination of the components revealed no evidence of a pre impact fire or anomaly that may have affected the airplane's performance or flight characteristics.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The following medical information was extracted from the medical records maintained on the pilot by the FAA Aerospace Medical Certification Division:

2/16/04 - The pilot's application for the Third Class Airman Medical and Student Pilot Certificate notes "No" for "Currently Use Any Medication" and notes "No" to all items under "Medical History," specifically including "Mental disorders of any sort." Under "Occupation" is noted "Owner/Operator Truck Driver." The pilot's height is noted as 70 inches and weight as 260 lbs. Blood pressure is noted as 112/70.

2/6/06 - The pilot's most recent application for the Third Class Airman Medical and Student Pilot Certificate notes "No" for "Currently Use Any Medication" and notes "No" to all items under "Medical History," specifically including "Mental disorders of any sort." Under "Occupation" is noted "Truck Driver." The pilot's height is noted as 71 inches and weight as 238 lbs. Blood pressure is noted as 118/84.

The following medical information was extracted from the report of autopsy performed by the Oregon Deputy State Medical Examiner:

Under "Past Medical History" is noted: "Recent pain in arms according to interview with decedent's wife. Unknown further."

Under "External Description" is noted, in part, "...The decedent has a nicotine patch on the right arm."

Under "Internal Description" is noted, in part: "...The heart has normal coronary artery distribution and pattern. All 3 coronary arteries show severe atherosclerotic and arteriosclerotic narrowing approaching 85% to 90%. No thrombosis is seen. The valves and chambers appear to be unremarkable exclusive of injury. Cross-sections through the ventricles show no obvious old or recent infarction."

Under "Cause Of Death" is noted, in part: "Massive blunt trauma..."

Under "Other Significant Findings" is noted, in part: "Severe atherosclerotic heart disease."

The following information was extracted from the Forensic Toxicology report completed by the Federal Aviation Administration: Citalopram was detected in blood and liver specimens.

Specific test parameters and results are listed in the toxicological report contained in the public docket.

A one-half fluid once container of Primatene Mist, an over-the-counter medication used to treat bronchial asthma, was located in the wreckage during the onsite portion of the investigation.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

At the conclusion of the onsite investigation, the engine was moved to a hangar facility at the Bandon State Airport to facilitate further examination. The examination revealed that the engine and associated accessories sustained significant impact related damage. All four cylinders remained intact. Rocker arm, valve train and accessory gear continuity was established by rotating the engine's crankshaft by hand. All four cylinders developed pressure when the crankshaft was manually rotated. Internal examination of the piston cylinders, utilizing a lighted bore scope, revealed no evidence of a mechanical malfunction.

The wreckage was released on December 14, 2006.

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