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N33049 accident description

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Tail numberN33049
Accident dateDecember 13, 1994
Aircraft typePiper PA-28R-200
LocationNesquehoning, PA
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On December 13, 1994, about 1814 eastern standard time, N33049, a Piper PA-28R-200 operated by Gibson Air Academy Inc. of Farmingdale, New Jersey, collided with trees in mountainous terrain at Nesquehoning, Pennsylvania. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and a Visual Flight Rules Flight plan was filed. The certificated private pilot and the one passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed. The flight was conducted under 14 CFR 91, and had originated in Bradford, Pennsylvania. The destination was Allaire, New Jersey.

Air Traffic Control (ATC) records indicate that the pilot called Altoona Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS) and was given a weather briefing that indicated marginal VFR and flight precautions, including mountain obscurations, along his route of flight. He departed Allaire, New Jersey, earlier the day of the accident to pick up his son in Bradford, Pennsylvania. ATC records indicate that the pilot departed Bradford about 1700 eastern standard time.

ATC transcripts revealed that at 1738, the pilot contacted Wilkes Barre Approach Control, reported his altitude at 3500 feet MSL and requested flight following. At 1739, the pilot was assigned a transponder beacon code and the airplane was radar identified. At 1741, ATC advised the pilot that they had lost radar contact with the airplane due to low altitude. They suggested he to an altitude of 5500 feet MSL. The flight was radar identified again, and, at 1746, the pilot confirmed that he was level at 5500 feet MSL.

At 1812, the Wilkes Barre Approach Controller lost radar contact with the airplane, and instructed the pilot to switch to Allentown Approach Control for further flight following. Allentown Approach Control established radio communications, but was unable to establish radar contact with the airplane. The approach controller made several attempts to contact the pilot, but was unsuccessful. A Radar Study was conducted at the NTSB in Washington, DC. The study revealed that the accident aircraft's last radar target appeared at 1814:14, at an altitude of 2,100 feet MSL. The airplane collided with trees in mountainous terrain on top of Broad Mountain, and was destroyed by postimpact fire. A copy of the Radar Study is attached to this report.

There were no eyewitnesses to the crash; however, a witness who lives approximately 3 miles from the accident site called in a brush fire. Search personnel located the burning airplane. A special weather report obtained from the Allentown weather facility 25 miles from the accident site, reported snow showers with 1 1/2 miles visibility.

The accident occurred during the hours of dark night, at 40 degrees 53 minutes 15 seconds North and 75 degrees 54 minutes 33 seconds West.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with single engine land rating. According to FAA records, the pilot's total flight time listed on his most recent FAA medical certificate application was over "250 hours of flight time."

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The 1975 year model Piper PA-28R-200 airplane, serial no. 28R- 7535112 was equipped with a Lycoming IO-360-C1C engine, serial number L5096-51A. According to the engine log book, the airplane had accumulated over 4104 hours of total flight time. This time was recorded on the most recent annual inspection entry, dated July 11, 1994.

METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS

The 1822 surface weather observation for Allentown Bethlehem Easton Airport in Allentown, Pennsylvania, about 25 miles south of the accident site was as follows:

Sky partially obscured, measured ceiling 1750 feet overcast; visibility, one and one half miles, in light snow showers, fog, snow obscuring four tenths of the sky; temperature, 32 degrees Fahrenheit (F); dew point, 25 degrees F; winds out of 040 degrees at 10 knots; and altimeter, 30.46 inches Hg.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The wreckage was examined at the accident site. The wreckage was strewn over a distance of 600 feet, oriented on a magnetic heading of 120 degrees. The aircraft was destroyed by postimpact fire.

The aircraft impacted 50 foot tall trees on a magnetic heading of 330 degrees, and the inboard section of the left wing separated. During the impact sequence the right wing and elevator separated.

The right landing gear was attached to the right wing and was in the down and locked position. The left landing gear and nosewheel were also down and locked. The flap selector handle was found selected to one notch of flaps. According to Piper this corresponds to ten degrees. The flaps separated during the impact sequence.

The three bladed propeller remained attached to the engine and all blades exhibited chordwise scratching. The tips of two of the three blades were bent forward.

The engine was examined at the accident site and it had sustained fire damage. The engine was inverted and all four cylinders remained attached and secured to the crankcase. The rocker arm cover for the number two cylinder was destroyed by fire. The examination of the engine included the removal of the number 2 top and bottom spark plugs, the number 3 bottom and the number 4 top spark plugs from their respective cylinders. Their electrodes when examined were grayish in color.

The throttle, mixture control and the propeller controls were all intact. The gascolator separated. The fuel strainer inlet screen for the fuel control unit was removed and was clean. The instrument panel was destroyed by fire. The vacuum pump was removed and its shaft was intact. The examination of the wreckage revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunction.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

A Medical Examination was done by Dr. M. L. Cowen Pathologist of Lehigh Valley Hospital Center of Allentown, Pennsylvania, on December 14, 1994. Toxicological tests did not detect alcohol, drugs, or carbon monoxide.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The wreckage was released to John Dean, of Phoenix Aviation Managers, representing the owner, on December 15, 1994.

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