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N1047C accident description

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Tail numberN1047C
Accident dateSeptember 06, 1997
Aircraft typeNorth American T-6-SNJ5
LocationCamden, SC
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On September 6, 1997, at 1835 eastern daylight time, a North American T-6-SNJ5, N1047C, experienced a loss of control in flight while maneuvering near Woodward Field, Camden, South Carolina. The airplane was operated by the Western North Carolina Air Museum under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91, and visual flight rules. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. There was no flight plan filed for this personal flight. The commercial pilot and his passenger were fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed. The flight originated at 1820 from Woodward Field.

A friend of the pilot stated he was on the last flight of the day after giving rides in the airplane all day at an airshow. The accident flight was a personal flight in which the pilot was taking the passenger for a ride to thank him for his help throughout the day. According to the witness, the aircraft was topped off before a previous flight, and he estimated the aircraft had between 80 and 85 gallons of fuel onboard.

Two witnesses in the area observed a low flying airplane which was doing steep turns, approximately 60 - 70 degrees of bank. They heard the airplane engine "begin missing". Ten seconds later, the engine quit. During this time, the pilot remained in a left bank. According to the witnesses, "after the airspeed deteriorated, the aircraft snapped, and rolled to the right and entered a right hand spin". They observed two full rotations before the airplane disappeared behind the trees. During the second rotation, they believed the engine restarted and was running at full power upon impact.

Another witness in the area heard the airplane in the area of her house. After hearing it for some time, she heard complete silence. Shortly thereafter, she heard two "pops" and saw a trail of black smoke from behind the trees.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single engine land, airplane multiengine land, and instrument airplane ratings. His certificate was issued July 24, 1977. His last medical certificate, a third class, was issued January 11, 1996, and contained the restriction that the pilot must have glasses available for near vision. The pilot was current at the time of the accident. A biennial flight review was completed April 19, 1997.

The following information was extracted from the report by Dr. Mitchell Garber, NTSB Medical Officer.

In January 1996, the pilot underwent a complete cardiology evaluation, including exercise treadmill testing to 13 minutes with maximum heart rate of 168. Testing was normal, and his cardiologist submitted a letter to the FAA which indicated the following medications: Tranxene 3.75 mg three times a day, aspirin 5 grains daily, Cardizem-CD 240mg daily, and Zocor 20mg daily. A letter from the FAA Aeromedical Certification Division dated March 26, 1996, indicated that the application for medical certificate had been denied because of "history of angina pectoris and coronary artery disease that is clinically significant, depression and anxiety and the use of disqualifying medication (Tranxene)." A letter from the pilot's cardiologist dated March 27, 1996, stated in part: "Previous letter incorrectly stated that he was taking Tranxene and Prozac. The patient has not taken those medicines in over one year."

A memorandum dated 4/4/96 indicated that the pilot wished to speak with Dr. Audie Davis, the director of the Aeromedical Certification Division, and a notation at the bottom of this memo indicated "OK to Certify for Cl III" with the initials AD. A letter dated April 23, 1996, granted special issuance of a 3rd Class airman medical certificate, and indicated that an airman medical certificate was sent to the pilot on April 8, 1996. The certificate was not valid after January 31, 1997, and annual cardiovascular evaluations were required.

At the time of the accident, the pilot held a 3rd class medical certificate which he had received through special issuance on January 29, 1997 based on his history of angina pectoris and coronary artery disease. He completed the required cardiology evaluation, to include exercise treadmill testing to 15 minutes and a heart rate of 166. Testing was normal and medications were noted on medical records submitted by his cardiologist to be aspirin 5 grains (80mg) daily,

Additional information about the pilot is contained on page 3 under the title First Pilot Information.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

An annual inspection of the airplane was completed on August 8, 1997, at a total time of 4610.5 flight hours. The engine was also inspected on August 8, 1997. The logbooks were reviewed, with no discrepancies noted.

Additional information about the aircraft is contained on page 2 under the section titled Aircraft Information.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

Additional information about the weather is contained on pages 3 and 4 under the section titled Weather Information.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

Upon arriving at the scene, it appeared that all parts of the aircraft were together. The right side pieces were on the right side of the wreckage and the left side pieces of the aircraft were on the left side of the wreckage. The wreckage was distributed along a 230 degree azimuth line. The airplane was in a wooded area with sparse underbrush.

At the scene, there were three branches about three inches in diameter found in the area of the wreckage. All showed fresh breaks. Among the wreckage, there was also freshly cut branches and leaves on and around the right wing. One tree in the area of the wreckage showed a fresh break at an approximate height of fifteen feet.

The nose of the airplane was buried in a one foot crater, in the sandy soil. One propeller blade was bent rearwards 90 degrees in a wide arc. The other blade was bent rearward and twisted. The engine had significant fire damage.

The left wing was crushed along the leading edge from root to tip. The left aileron was burned through. There was control continuity to the left aileron.

The empennage of the airplane was sitting at an angle with the left side down. It was still attached to the fuselage structure. Both the vertical and horizontal stabilizer showed little fire damage. The registration number was easily visible. The left elevator was partially burned. The right elevator and rudder had its skin burned away. There was control continuity to all the tail surfaces.

The right wing exhibited crushing along the leading edge from the root to the tip. About 3/4 of the way to the tip, the right wing was fractured. The wing tip remained with the rest of the wing. There was a large tree under the wing at the point of fracture. The right aileron was burned. Control continuity to the aileron was established.

The cockpit was burned, leaving only the frame of the airplane. The instrument panel was burned and none of the instruments were recognizable. The front and back throttle quadrants were able to be located. The front controls showed the throttle was at idle, the propeller control was in a midrange position, and the mixture was rich. The rear cockpit controls showed the throttle midrange, the propeller control full forward, and the mixture was midrange. Interconnecting linkage was burned.

After a cursory examination at the scene of the accident, the engine was taken to be thoroughly examined. Initially, the engine could not be rotated. After removing three cylinders from the bottom of the engine, the engine was successfully rotated. In the remaining cylinders, the pistons moved when the engine was rotated. With the cylinders off, no damage to the crankshaft or master rod was visible. No metal was found in the sumps. The magnetos were tested, and they functioned normally. Both the carburetor and fuel pump were burned away.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION A post mortem examination of the pilot was completed on September 8, 1997 by Dr. Inas Z. Yacoub, M.D. of the Newberry Pathology Associates, Newberry, S.C. 29108.

A toxicological examination was completed by the Federal Aviation Administration in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on December 18, 1997. According to the report, the pilot tested positive for Fluoxetine, Norfluoxetine, Cimetidine, and Diltiazem. According to medical personnel, Fluoxetine is a prescription antidepressant which can induce anxiety, drowsiness, nervousness, insomnia, and dizziness. The FAA does not permit an aviation medical examiner to issue a medical certificate to a pilot who is prescribed Fluoxetine. Norfluoxetine is a metabolite of fluoxetine. Cimetidine is a over-the-counter antacid which has caused dizziness and confusion in some cases. Diltiazem is used to treat angina and high blood pressure. Possible side effects are low blood pressure and slowed heart rate. Cimetidine and Diltiazem in combination have been known to increase the side effects of Diltiazem.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

According to Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) 67.19, Special Issue of Medical Certificates, Part (d)(3), the Federal Air Surgeon may impose any operational limitation on the certificate needed for safety.

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