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N7545V accident description

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Tail numberN7545V
Accident dateApril 11, 2005
Aircraft typeCessna 177RG
LocationWarren, PA
Near 41.865833 N, -79.206111 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On April 11, 2005, at 1604 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 177RG, N7545V, was substantially damaged while landing at the Warren Airpark (7PA1), Warren, Pennsylvania. The certificated private pilot received serious injuries, and the passenger was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight that departed Butler County Airport (BTP), Butler, Pennsylvania, about 1520, destined for Warren Airpark. No flight plan was filed, and the flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to witnesses, the airplane touched down on runway 6, an approximately 2,600-foot-long by 50-foot-wide, asphalt runway, and everything appeared to be "fine." A "heavy gust of wind" then blew across the runway, and the airplane departed the right side of the landing surface and went onto the grass. The airplane then began to climb, but was unable to clear a line of trees.

According to FAA records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land and instrument airplane. On his most recent application for a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third-class medical certificate, dated April 14, 2003, he reported a total flight experience of 1,078 hours.

According to the pilot's logbook, he had accumulated 1,320.4 total hours of flight experience, all of which were in single engine airplanes. He completed a flight review on October 3, 2004, and the most recent entry in his logbook was dated February 26, 2005.

According to FAA records, the airplane was manufactured in 1976, owned by the pilot, and registered to an address in Butler, Pennsylvania.

According to maintenance records, the airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on December 7, 2004. At the time of the inspection, the airplane had accumulated 4,042.7 total hours of operation.

A weather observation taken about 13 minutes prior to the accident, at an airport 26 miles east of the accident site, recorded the following weather; winds 040 degrees at 11 knots, gusting to 18 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; sky clear; temperature 55 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 21 degrees Fahrenheit, and an altimeter setting of 30.12 inches of mercury.

Examination of the accident site by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector revealed a set of tire tracks that began about 50 feet from the approach end of runway 6, approximately 8 feet left of centerline, and angled towards the right side of the runway. The tracks were consistent with the left and right main landing gear of the accident airplane, and varied in color from light gray to near dark. The tracks continued in a straight line for about 1,000 feet, and then departed the landing surface.

Once off the runway and onto the grass, the tracks continued approximately another 25 feet, with the right track being more pronounced. The tracks ended at a down slope of approximately 40 degrees. No indication of nosewheel contact was identified in the grass prior to the downslope. Approximately 1,100 feet past the last tire track was a treeline. The trees were approximately 50 feet tall, and a couple of trees displayed freshly broken tree branches. The airplane came to rest inverted about 80 feet beyond the start of the treeline.

According to the inspector, examination of the airplane confirmed flight control continuity, and that the flaps were in the retracted position. Continuity of the nosewheel steering system was also confirmed. The main wheels rotated freely, and no anomalies with the braking system were identified. Examination of the propeller revealed chordwise scratches, leading edge gouges, and "S" bending.

According to photographic evidence collected at the scene and examined by the Safety Board, one propeller blade was broken approximately mid-span. The fracture surface was gray in color, and consistent with overload.

A handheld Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver was recovered from the wreckage, and sent to the manufacturer for data extraction. According to the data, the airplane departed Butler, proceeded in a northeasterly direction, and climbed to approximately 3,500 feet msl. About 36 minutes after takeoff and about 8 minutes prior to the accident, the airplane began a descent. The airplane circled the airport once and turned onto the final approach approximately 3/4 mile from the runway, and approximately 300 feet above the runway's threshold.

The GPS data was plotted on an aerial photograph of the airport. Examination of the photograph revealed that the airplane touched down at the start of the runway, slightly left of centerline, and traveling at approximately 64 knots ground speed. The airplane then crossed over the centerline, and departed the landing surface at approximately 52 knots. It then entered the treeline about 480 feet southeast of the runway at approximately 55 knots.

The Pilot's Operating Handbook for the accident airplane make and model, called for 20 degrees of flaps, and 65 knots indicated airspeed during a balked landing.

The wreckage was released to the owner's representative on June 8, 2005.

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