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N251RB accident description

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Tail numberN251RB
Accident dateJune 16, 2001
Aircraft typeBroyles P51
LocationConestee, SC
Additional details: None

NTSB description

On June 16, 2001, at about 0909 eastern daylight time, a Broyles experimental P51 airplane, N251RB, operating as a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, crashed in a residential area while maneuvering in the vicinity of Conestee, South Carolina. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The airplane was destroyed and a post crash fire ensued. The private pilot was fatally injured. The flight originated from Donaldson Center Airport (GYH), Conestee, South Carolina, about 9 minutes before the accident.

A friend of the pilot stated he observed his friend depart from runway 05 at GYH. He expected the pilot to make a left turn, however the pilot turned to the right. He noticed a puff of black smoke which appeared to come from the vicinity of the engine exhaust stack. The airplane continued to climb and he observed two more puff's of black smoke. He keyed a hand held microphone and informed the pilot, "Rodger black smoke go to the closed runway." The airplane was observed to start rolling to the right 90-110 degrees and the nose fell to the near vertical position before the airplane disappeared from view below the tree line. He then heard the pilot state, "Rob I have a problem."

Another witness stated he observed the airplane on the take off roll. The engine did not sound like it was running correctly. The engine was missing when the airplane left the ground and became worse. The airspeed appeared to be slow and the airplane was not gaining any altitude. It reached about 1,000 to 1,200 feet when the wings were observed to drop off the right side. The airplane turned about 20 degrees and stalled out on the right wing.

Other witnesses who were located on a golf course stated they heard the engine spitting and popping before it went silent. The airplane appeared to be rocking back and forth before it disappeared from view behind some trees. Another witness who was standing in his kitchen heard the engine spitting and popping as if it was failing. He looked outside the window and saw flames in the vicinity of the motor. The airplane collided with a garage, trees, and terrain followed by an explosion.

Review of information on file with the FAA Airman's Certification Division, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, revealed the pilot was issued a temporary private pilot airman certificate on July 23, 1990, with ratings for airplane single engine land. The pilot held a third-class medical certificate issued on May 12, 2001,, with the limitation, "holder shall wear corrective lenses for distance vision while exercising the privileges of this airman certificate." The pilot indicated on his application for the medical certificate that he had accumulated 1,100 total flight hours with 40 hours flown in the past six months. Attempts to locate the pilot's logbooks were uneventful.

The wreckage of N25RB was located in the yard of a private residence located at 169 2nd Street Conestee, South Carolina. Examination of the crash site revealed the right wing impacted the corner of a residential garage. The wreckage was located about 15 feet from a mobile home and a post crash fire ensued. Inspection of the aircraft revealed that the flight controls were operational and free moving, and the fuselage showed no signs of in-flight failure. The propeller assembly separated from the aircraft and showed no signs of power at the time of impact.

The engine assembly was transported Donaldson Center Airport, Greenville, South Carolina, for examination. "The engine assembly could not be turned over by hand because of impact damage. The spark plugs were removed and the #1 spark plug electrode was impact damaged and had signs of melted metal on it. The crankshaft and camshaft were then removed. Both showed no defects. The cylinder heads were removed. The #1 cylinder intake and exhaust valves had signs of melted metal on them. The push rods for the #1 cylinder valves were bent. The #1 cylinder piston was heavily damaged and showed signs of detonation. The engine fuel injectors were inspected and all were found to be unobstructed. The #1 cylinder fuel injector was found to be extremely loose. It appears that the #1 engine cylinder experienced detonation and this subsequently caused the engine to lose power." Attempts to locate the aircraft logbooks were uneventful. (For additional information see FAA Aviation Safety Inspector statement, an attachment to this report.)

Dr. Michael Ward, Medical Examiner, Greenville County Corner Office, Greenville, South Carolina, conducted the postmortem examination of the pilot on June 17, 2001. The cause of death was multiple blunt force trauma. The Forensic Toxicology Research Section, Federal Aviation Administration, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed postmortem toxicology of specimens These studies were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, ethanol, basic, acidic and neutral drugs.

The wreckage of N251RB was released to Mr. John W. Broadhead, President, Broadhead Aviation Maintenance on June 25, 2001.

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