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N169DW accident description

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Tail numberN169DW
Accident dateNovember 27, 1994
Aircraft typeWeeks Glasair SH2F
LocationTimmonsville, SC
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On November 27, 1994, about 1110 eastern standard time, a Weeks Stoddard-Hamilton SH2F Glasair, homebuilt airplane, N169DW, collided with the ground at Timmonsville, South Carolina. The airplane was operated by the pilots under 14 CFR Part 91, and visual flight rules (VFR). Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed. An instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the personal flight. There were two pilots on the airplane, husband and wife. The husband had a private pilot certificate with airplane single engine and instrument ratings. His medical certificate had been denied in 1985 for cardiovascular disease. The wife had a private pilot certificate with airplane single engine land rating. Both pilots were fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed. Origination of the flight was Melbourne, Florida about 0845 on the same day.

Prior to departing Melbourne, a male who identified himself as the pilot of N169DW, contacted the St. Petersburg, Florida, Automated Flight Service Station. The person received a weather briefing for a VFR flight to Florence, South Carolina. VFR flight was not recommended. Instrument meteorological conditions were forecasted for Florence, at the pilot's stated approximate arrival time.

At 1104, N169DW contacted Florence, South Carolina, approach control. A certified re-recording of the communications between the airplane and Florence air traffic control revealed that a male conducted the radio transmissions from the airplane. He stated that he was in visual conditions between cloud layers. Vectors to Florence for the instrument landing system approach were requested. A clearance was provided for vectors to Florence, for the instrument landing system runway 9 approach. As the airplane was being vectored, the pilot stated that the "gyro" was out. According to one of the controller's statements, the airplane appeared to be in a descent following this transmission. The radar target data tag indicated 400 feet, two seconds later 1400 feet, then "CST" (coast) mode. Radar contact was lost, and the disintegrated wreckage was later located by local law enforcement officers, about one mile north of the Huggins Memorial Airport, Timmonsville, South Carolina.

Pilot certification information for both pilots was obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration. Mr. Weeks received his private pilot certificate, with an airplane single engine land rating, on September 22, 1974. He was issued an instrument airplane rating on July 17, 1977. A total of 369.6 pilot-in-command flight hours was listed on his application for the instrument rating. A pilot log was not located, and his total flight hours could not be determined. According to an "Order Assessing Civil Penalty," contained in the certification information, Mr. Weeks was denied a medical certificate in 1985 because of having suffered a heart attack. A Repairman Certificate as an Experimental Aircraft Builder was issued to Mr. Weeks on February 14, 1992, for N169DW. Mrs. Weeks obtained a private certificate with an airplane single engine land rating on August 24, 1985. She listed 108.1 total flight hours on the certificate application. Her pilot log was not located, and her total flight hours could not be determined.

A statement was obtained from a friend of the pilots. The friend indicated that the Weeks had visited with he and his wife, on November 22 and 23, in Titusville, Florida. They visited with another couple in Melbourne, Florida, afterwards, leaving Melbourne about 0845 on November 27, 1994. According to the statement, the airplane's vacuum pump had failed on the trip from South Carolina to Florida, and was not repaired prior to departing Melbourne. According to aircraft records, Mr. Weeks purchased the engine on February 7, 1984. The engine log indicated that the overhauled vacuum pump was installed by Mr. Weeks on November 20, 1985. The engine was installed in N169DW on August 2, 1991. Total hours of operation by the vacuum pump could not be determined. Visual examination of the pump revealed that the internal vanes were intact, a portion of the rotor was broken off, and the engine to vacuum pump shear-connection was separated. There was no carbon powder inside the vacuum pump. The pump side of the shear-connection exhibited melted material and rotational scoring. The aircraft log listed the total hours as 109, as of May 12, 1994. the engine log listed 127.7 hours since major overhaul as of September 4, 1994.

Post mortem examinations of the pilots were conducted by the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina. The cause of death was listed as multiple trauma. Mr. Weeks was found to have severe atherosclerosis of the aortic arch. Toxicological examinations were completed by the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology. Those examinations produced negative results for ethanol and other drugs.

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