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N7064X accident description

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Tail numberN7064X
Accident dateMay 13, 2001
Aircraft typeCessna 150A
LocationJackson Twp., PA
Near 40.405556 N, -78.810833 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On May 13, 2001, at 0743 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 150A, N7064X, was substantially damaged while maneuvering near Jackson Township, Pennsylvania. The certificated private pilot and passenger were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight that originated from Johnstown Airport (JST), Johnstown, Pennsylvania. No flight plan was filed for the personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, the airplane began to taxi at 0733, and departed Johnstown Airport at 0737. The pilot requested a frequency change from the control tower at 0740.

A hand-held global positioning system (GPS) was found in the wreckage, and was forwarded to the manufacturer for data extraction under FAA supervision. The data revealed that the airplane departed from runway 23 at 0737. It then made a right turn and flew in a northerly direction until approximately 0742. At that time, the airplane began to travel on a northeasterly heading until the last data plot, at 0743:16. The data did not include altitude information.

Witnesses near the accident site reported seeing and hearing an airplane flying low about the time of the accident. Additionally, a local flight instructor stated that the accident site was along a route commonly flown by the pilot. The route began at Johnstown Airport, passed over an ultralight airstrip, and ended at Ebensburg Airport, Ebensburg, Pennsylvania.

The accident occurred during the hours of daylight; at 40 degrees 24.33 minutes north latitude, and 78 degrees 48.65 minutes west longitude.

PILOT INFORMATION

The pilot held a private pilot certificate, with a rating for single engine land airplane. His most recent FAA third class medical certificate was issued on March 23, 2001.

According to the pilot's logbook, he had a total flight experience of approximately 1,794 hours.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The reported weather at Johnstown Airport, at 0754, was: wind from 330 degrees at 6 knots; visibility 10 miles; sky clear; temperature 41 degrees F, dew point 30 degrees F; altimeter 30.16 inches Hg.

WRECKAGE INFORMATION

The wreckage was located about 6 miles north of Johnstown Airport, in a lumberyard, underneath transmission lines. A shift supervisor at the local electric company reported a power interruption at 0743. According to the shift supervisor, there were three sets of two 500-kilovolt transmission lines, and two static lines located above the transmission lines. The lines extended in an east-west direction. The supervisor added that current could arc to an object that came within 12 feet of the transmission lines.

An FAA inspector performed an aerial survey of the transmission and static lines from a helicopter. The lines were approximately 300 feet above the ground. One of the four static lines exhibited damage along an approximately 100-foot section. Another static line exhibited a scrape mark. The inspector did not observe damage to the transmission lines.

The wreckage was examined at the accident site on May 14, 2001. The elevation of the site was about 1,845 feet above sea level. All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the scene. The airframe was intact, resting on top of the engine, and oriented about a 270-degree magnetic heading.

The left wing exhibited impact damage along the leading edge. The fuel cap was removed, and fuel was observed in the left tank. Additionally, witnesses reported that fuel leaked from the airplane after the accident. The left flap was observed in the retracted position.

The right wing exhibited crushing damage along the leading edge. Scrape marks were also present on the leading edge and the strut, and were consistent with wire strikes. The fuel cap was removed, and fuel was observed in the right tank. A fuel sample was taken from the tank. The fuel was clear, light blue in color, and was absent of debris. The right flap was in the retracted position.

The empennage was separated from the cabin, and bent aft. Compression wrinkles were observed on the empennage. The horizontal and vertical stabilizer displayed little damage. However, soot patterns were present on the vertical stabilizer, consistent with arcing. The rudder was deflected to the left, and the elevator was deflected downward. The elevator trim tab was in the approximate neutral position, and trim control cable continuity was confirmed to the cockpit area.

The cockpit area was crushed, and part of the instrument panel was destroyed. The manual flap lever corresponded to a 10-degree flap extension position. The mixture was in the rich position, and the throttle was mid-range. Flight control continuity was confirmed from all control surfaces to cockpit. The seats were intact, and were equipped with lap belts. The airplane was not equipped with shoulder harnesses.

The wreckage was moved to a hangar for further examination. The propeller remained attached to the engine. One propeller blade exhibited a slight "S"-bend, and the other blade was bent aft. Both blades had leading edge gouge marks, and both exhibited marks on the aft side of the blade, consistent with wire strikes.

The top spark plugs and valve covers were removed from the engine for inspection. The spark plugs were light gray to brown in color, and their electrodes were intact. The oil screen was removed, and it was absent of contamination. When both magnetos were removed and rotated by hand, they produced spark at all four respective leads.

The propeller was removed from the engine, and the engine was rotated by hand using a pipe-wrench. Crankshaft and camshaft continuity were confirmed. Valve train continuity was confirmed to all cylinders, and thumb compression was attained on all cylinders. The carburetor was removed and inspected. A strong odor of fuel was present, and the floats were intact. The fuel screen was removed, and was absent of contamination.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center Pathology Department, Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

Toxicological testing conducted on the pilot at the FAA Toxicology Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, was negative for drugs and alcohol.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

Plotting and review of the GPS data revealed that the airplane traveled about 7.13 statute miles in approximately 4 minutes and 53 seconds, which yielded an average approximate groundspeed of 86 mph. Additionally, the approximate ground speed between the last four data points was 89 mph, 92 mph, and 92 mph respectively.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

A local pilot stated that he flew over the site after the accident. From a distance, he observed the transmission lines, but did not see the static lines. He added that he did not see the static lines until he was directly over them.

A local flight instructor stated that he had counseled the pilot in the past regarding the hazards of low-level flying. Additionally, an acquaintance stated that the accident pilot had flown "low level" in the past.

The wreckage was released to a friend of the pilot on May 15, 2001.

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