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N5012S accident description

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Tail numberN5012S
Accident dateJuly 05, 2006
Aircraft typePiper PA-28R-200
LocationBlock Island, RI
Near 41.165556 N, -71.590277 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On July 5, 2006, about 1210 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-28R-200, N5012S, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees during the initial climb after takeoff from the Block Island State Airport (BID), Block Island, Rhode Island. The certificated private pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed for the personal flight that was destined for the Westchester County Airport (HPN), White Plains, New York. The personal flight was conducted under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to information obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), at 1153, the pilot contacted Providence, Rhode Island, air traffic control (ATC), and obtained an IFR clearance for the flight. At 1205, the pilot contacted ATC and reported that he was ready to depart from runway 28, a 2,502-foot-long, 100-foot-wide, asphalt runway, at Block Island. The airplane was released at 1206, and the pilot was instructed to contact Providence Approach Control after takeoff. In addition, the pilot was advised of an area of moderate precipitation over the airport, with heavy precipitation south and west of the airport. The pilot asked the controller to confirm the airplane was released. The controller confirmed the release, and the pilot acknowledged the transmission. There were no further communications from the airplane.

A witness near the accident site, who was also a pilot, stated that he observed a Piper airplane depart with thunder and "very heavy rain" in the area. The airplane was at normal climb attitude, on a heading of about 250 to 260 degrees, when he lost sight of it about 300 feet above the ground, due to the rain and clouds. Another witness was working in his boat around 1210, when he heard the sound of an airplane engine followed by a "ripping sound," and then quiet. He further stated that it was "raining hard," with thunder and lightning in the area. A third witness reported that she heard a loud engine whistling sound around 1215, that was followed by a loud crack.

The airplane was located in a wooded area, about 1/2 miles from the airport, about 1505, by personnel from the New Shoreham Police Department.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 58, held a private pilot certificate, with ratings for airplane single engine land and instrument airplane. His most recent FAA second class medical certificate was issued on June 7, 2005. At that time, his occupation was noted as "physician," and he reported a total flight experience of 1,050 hours.

According to the pilot's logbook, as of June 11, 2006, he had accumulated about 1,125 hours of total flight experience, which included about 230 hours logged in actual instrument flight conditions.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane was manufactured in 1970, and according to a bill of sale, purchased by the pilot during March 1989.

Review of maintenance records revealed that the airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on May 9, 2006. At that time, the airplane had accumulated 4,620.9 total hours of operation, and the engine had accumulated about 1,250 hours of operation since it was overhauled. The airplane was operated for about 40 hours from the time of the most recent annual inspection, until the accident.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The pilot obtained weather information, and filed an IFR flight plan for the accident flight via computer, through direct user access terminal service (DUATS). Another pilot who stated he departed from runway 28, about 10 minutes prior to the accident flight said that he contacted the Bridgeport flight service station for a weather update. The briefer advised him of an area of thunderstorms moving toward the area and recommended that he depart immediately. The pilot said he departed within 5 minutes after the briefing and made a left turn, away from the weather that was approaching from west to east.

A weather observation taken at BID, at 1215, reported: winds from 310 degrees at 7 knots; visibility 3/4 statute miles; ceiling 100 feet broken, 1,000 feet overcast; temperature 20 degrees Celsius (C); Dew point 19 degrees C; altimeter 29.95 inches of mercury, with remarks for lighting in the distance to the southeast.

Witnesses near the accident site reported weather conditions that included "heavy rain," "thunder," "lighting," "extremely cloudy," and "foggy."

WRECKAGE INFORMATION

The airplane struck trees on a hill, and came to rest about 1/2 mile from the airport, on a bearing of 265 degrees from the departure end of runway 28. The height of the trees around the accident site varied from small shrubs, up to an estimated height of about 40 feet. A debris path, which measured about 100 feet long, and was oriented on a magnetic course of 270 degrees, extended from the initial tree strike to the main wreckage. Numerous broken branches were observed in the vicinity of the start of the debris path. In addition, some of the branches contained fresh 45-degree angle cuts, consistent with propeller strikes.

All major portions of the airplane were accounted for at the accident site. Approximately 50 inches of the outboard right wing was located in a tree near the initial tree strike. The remainder of the airplane's right wing, which was separated at the wing root, was found about 50 feet along the debris path. The majority of the right wing leading edge, forward of the main spar was separated. The main wreckage came to rest upright, on a magnetic course of 100 degrees. The tail section, aft of the main cabin was found at a 70-degree up angle, relative to the ground. The forward portion of the cabin was crushed aft, and the roof was separated.

Flight control continuity was confirmed from the elevator, rudder, and left aileron control surfaces, to the forward cockpit area, and from the forward cockpit area, to the point of the right wing separation.

Examination of the flap drive mechanism corresponded to a flap retracted setting. The landing gear handle was observed in the down position. The left main landing gear was extended, the right main landing gear was partially separated and the nose landing gear was completely separated from its mount.

The engine remained attached to the firewall, and was canted to the right. The propeller remained attached to the engine at its mounting flange. Both propeller blades contained "s" bending and chordwise scratches.

The engine was removed from the accident site and examined at the Newport State Airport, Middletown, Rhode Island. The engine was rotated by manually turning the propeller. Crankshaft continuity was observed through the accessory section. In addition, valve train continuity and thumb compression was attained on all cylinders. A borescope inspection of all cylinders piston heads and valves also did not reveal any mechanical malfunctions. Both magnetos produced spark from all towers when rotated. All spark plugs were removed. The electrodes were intact and gray in color. The oil filter, oil suction, and fuel inlet screens were absent of debris. In addition, fuel was found in the engine driven fuel pump, and the fuel pump arm actuated normally. The vacuum pump was intact and disassembled. The rotor housing and vanes were intact.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

Autopsies were performed on pilot and passengers, on July 6, 2006, by the Rhode Island Medical Examiners Office, Providence, Rhode Island.

Toxicological testing was conducted on the pilot by the FAA Toxicology Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The toxicology report revealed the following detected drugs:

"0.228 (ug/mL, ug/g) FLUOXETINE detected in Blood FLUOXETINE present in Urine 0.367 (ug/mL, ug/g) NORFLUOXETINE detected in Blood NORFLUOXETINE present in Urine 0.124 (ug/mL, ug/g) CARBAMAZEPINE detected in Blood CARBAMAZEPINE present in Urine BUPROPION detected in Blood BUPROPION detected in Urine BUPROPION METABOLITE present in Blood BUPROPION METABOLITE present in Urine IBUPROFEN detected in Blood"

At the time of the pilot's most recent application for an FAA second class medical certificate, he indicated the only medications he was currently using were Lipitor (atorvastatin) and aspirin.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Global Position System Receivers

Portable Garmin GPS III Pilot and GPSMAP 96C global positioning system (GPS) receivers were recovered from the accident site and forwarded to the National Transportation Safety Board's Vehicle Recorders Division, Washington, D.C. Neither GPS was able to provide any useful information pertaining to the accident.

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