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N19127 accident description

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Tail numberN19127
Accident dateAugust 08, 1998
Aircraft typeCessna 150L
LocationTowanda, PA
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On August 8, 1998, at 2135 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 150L, N19127, was destroyed after an aborted landing and subsequent collision with trees approximately 3/4 miles northeast of the Bradford County Airport (N27), Towanda, Pennsylvania. The certificated private pilot received minor injuries, and the passenger was fatally injured. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed for the local personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

The pilot stated that he and his passenger arrived at the airport about 2000, with the intent of conducting a night local area flight. The pilot and passenger departed Towanda, then over flew Troy, before proceeding back to Towanda, where they entered a left downwind for Runway 5. While on final the pilot "slipped" the airplane because it was "high and fast." Once over the runway the pilot made three attempts to land the airplane, but each attempt resulted in the airplane bouncing back into the air. After the third bounce, and approximately half way down the 3,200 foot runway, the pilot decided to execute a go-around. The pilot added power and the engine responded. During initial climb, the pilot noted that his airspeed was 50-60 mph, and he retracted the flaps to approximately 10 degrees. After retracting the flaps to 10 degrees he started to anticipate difficulty in clearing the trees that were 3/4 of a mile passed the departure end of the runway.

In addition, the pilot heard the stall warning horn activate on several occasions, but stated it was not on when the airplane entered the trees. After the airplane impacted the tops of trees it came to rest approximately 40 feet above the ground with both the pilot and passenger in it and conscious.

With the airplane suspended in the tree, both the pilot and passenger were forced to egress because of a post crash fire. The pilot was able to exit the airplane and position himself on a branch approximately 35 feet above the ground, but the passenger was unable to maneuver herself onto the tree, and fell about 40 feet to the ground.

The wreckage was located, 41 degrees, 45.30 minutes north latitude, 76 degrees, 26.30 minutes west longitude, and approximately 733 feet above mean sea level (MSL).

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single engine land rating issued on November 11, 1996. His last third class medical was dated October 24, 1996, and carried the restriction that he must wear corrective lenses.

The pilot stated he had approximately 300 hours of total flight experience, and about 44 hours of night flight experience. The pilot flew about 1.5 hours of night approximately one month prior to the accident.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The closest recorded weather to the accident site was, Binghamton Regional Airport, Binghamton, New York, located 40 miles to the northeast. At 2156, Binghamton reported winds 162 degrees magnetic at 5 knots, visibility 10 miles, sky condition clear, temperature 71 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 59 degrees Fahrenheit, and an altimeter setting of 30.33

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane was examined at the accident site on August 9, 1998. The engine, right wing, and left wing were at the base of about a 100 foot tall tree that had burn and scrape marks down its side. In the tree, approximately 35 feet above the ground, was the floor of the main fuselage and main landing gear. The main landing gear was wedged between two branches that formed a fork in the tree. Both of the branches were approximately 2.5 feet in diameter. The empennage was suspended below the floor of the main fuselage, attached only by the elevator and rudder flight control cables.

The cockpit, flight instruments, system instruments, and cockpit switches were consumed in the post crash fire.

The fuel selector was in the on position but fuel system continuity could not be established because of fire damage.

Flight control continuity could not be established for the ailerons, because of fire damage, but was established for both the elevator and rudder. The flap jackscrews were examined and found to be consistent with a flap up configuration.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the passenger at Robert Packer Medical Center, Sayre, Pennsylvania, on August 10, 1998. In addition, the FAA Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory conducted a toxicological screening for the passenger, and found no carbon monoxide or cyanide in her system.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

On August 9, 1998, the engine was examined at the accident site. The top spark plugs were removed, and found to be grayish in color, and free of debris. When the propeller was rotated by hand, thumb compression was obtained on all four cylinders. Fire destroyed the magnetos, preventing examination. Both propeller blades were covered with a light gray soot, and the tip of one of the blades was melted.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The owner's manual for the accident airplane noted a stall speed of 49 mph with 20 degrees of flaps, and a stall speed of 55 mph with 0 degrees of flaps. In addition a representative from the airframe manufacture stated that the stall horn activates at 4 to 8 mph above stall speed.

The owner's manual for the accident airplane provides the following procedure for a balked landing.

(1) Throttle Full "OPEN" (2) Carburetor Heat Cold (3) Wing Flaps 20 Degrees

(4) Upon Reaching an airspeed of approximately 65 mph, retract flaps slowly.

According to a performance table published in the owner's manual, a Cessna 150L weighing 1,600 pounds, flaps retracted, at sea level, with an outside air temperature 59 degrees Fahrenheit, would obtain a maximum rate of climb of 670 feet per minute at an indicated airspeed of 76 mph. The owner's manual does not provide rate of climb information for flap settings other than for flaps up.

The distance from the departure end of the runway to the accident site was approximately 3/4 of a mile. The tops of the trees at the accident site were about 100 feet higher then departure end of the runway.

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