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N49546 accident description

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Tail numberN49546
Accident dateJune 05, 1996
Aircraft typeAeronca O-58B
LocationGreenville, SC
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On June 5, 1996, about 1740 eastern daylight time, an Aeronca O-58B, N49546, registered to a private owner, operating as a 14 CFR Part 91, personal, local flight, crashed in the vicinity of Greenville, South Carolina. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The airplane was destroyed. The private pilot received fatal injuries, and one passenger was seriously injured.

It was reported that the pilot had flown into the Greenville area, picked up the passenger, and had departed the Donaldson Center Airport, when the flight struck power lines, impacted in a lake, and sank. The injured passenger was removed from the water and taken to a local hospital, where his condition prevented him from talking to investigators.

In a telephone interview on June 27, 1996, the passenger told the FAA, the reason they were flying over the lake "at such a low altitude," was that they were "just sightseeing." The passenger stated that they were "following the bends and turns" of the lake, and "did not see the wires."

A witness, employed as an airline pilot, was standing on the shore, near the boat docks, when the airplane flew directly over his location, heading in a northwesterly direction. He stated that the airplane flew low over him, and had cleared the tops of the trees by an estimated altitude of "1 to 200 feet." After the airplane past, and was heading away from him, over the lake, he said to another person standing with him, "I bet he didn't know about the power lines off Holly Lane since he was flying so low." About that time the witness heard the airplane strike the wires. The witness further stated, "...in my opinion the aircraft was developing power and operating normally up until impact."

The accident occurred during the hours of daylight approximately 34 degrees, 45 minutes north, and 82 degrees, 22 minutes west.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

Information on the pilot is contained in page 3 of this report under First Pilot Information.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. Meteorological information is contained in page 4 of this report under Weather Information.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot, on June 6, 1996, at the Greenville Hospital, in Greenville, South Carolina, by Dr. Beverly Stigall.

Toxicological tests on the pilot were conducted at the Greenville Hospital Laboratory, Greenville, South Carolina, and revealed, "no drugs or alcohol."

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane impacted in water, almost directly under power lines that ran across the lake. The airplane subsequently sank in about 18 feet of water, and came to rest upside down, with the nose of the airplane heading in a northwesterly direction.

According to search and rescue personnel, all the control surfaces of the airplane were attached when the airplane was found on the lake bottom. Additional damage to the airplane was caused during the recovery from the water. All three landing gears were found attached to the airframe

The airplane was removed from the lake June 10, 1996, and towed, in the water, by a boat to a dock, were it was examined. Examination of the airframe revealed a wire strike mark on the leading edge, about mid-span of the left wing. A hole, about 5 inches by 3 inches, with heat damage on the surrounding surface, was found on the inboard, leading edge of the left wing. The right wing was destroyed. Control continuity was established to all the flight controls.

Examination of the engine did not reveal any discrepancies. The wooden propeller was still attached to the crankshaft flange, but the tips of both blades were missing. A search was conducted on the bottom of the lake for the missing propeller blades, with negative results.

The power lines in the vicinity of the crash site consisted of 8 cables, that were supported by two towers, located on both sides of the lake. The cables crossed the lake, from the towers in an east-west direction. The bottom cables were about 50 feet above the lake and the top cables were about 150 feet above the lake. The third cable from the top, had been repaired, and according to the police, the cable was already broken when they had arrived at the crash site.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The aircraft wreckage was released to the owner's insurance adjuster, Mr. James Brewer , on June 10, 1996.

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