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N5058S accident description

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Tail numberN5058S
Accident dateJuly 21, 2001
Aircraft typeBeech BE-35-F35
LocationBamberg, SC
Near 33.305 N, -81.108889 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On July 21, 2001, about 0915 eastern daylight time, a Beech BE-35-F35, N5058S, owned and operated by a private individual, operating as a Title 14 CFR Part 91 positioning flight impacted the ground and burned shortly after takeoff from the Bamberg County Airport, Bamberg, South Carolina. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. No flight plan was filed. The airplane was destroyed. The private-rated pilot received fatal injuries. The flight was originating at the time and was en route to Beaufort, South Carolina.

Witnesses observed the airplane reach an altitude of 200 to 300 feet above ground level, clear wires at the departure end of the runway, turn to the left, the nose went down, the airplane impacted into a cotton field and burst into flames. A witness, who lived in a cabin 1/2 mile from the departure end of the runway, said he heard the engine "spitting...spurting and sounded like it was going to stall." He looked up and saw the airplane "...gaining a little altitude and turning left...the right [wing] was up in the turn, it appeared the pilot was trying to return to the airport. It stalled and came straight down." He also said it turned one time as it descended to the ground, it went down behind trees, and he saw smoke billowing up. Another witness, located inside his hangar said, the engine "...started to sound rough after it was airborne."

On the day of the accident, the maintenance facility's owner said he did not watch the pilot as he readied for his departure, did not know if the pilot performed a preflight inspection, and did not hear the pilot do a run up. He did say that the pilot paid for the maintenance, and walked out to his airplane. He heard the airplane startup and taxi away. He said that it was no more than "two minutes" before he heard the airplane go by after the startup in front of his hangar. He heard the engine running until the airplane reached a location past the departure end of Runway 5. He said that he heard the engine slow and then become silent.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held an FAA private pilot certificate, with airplane single engine land, last issued on December 3, 1993. He held an FAA class 3 medical certificate issued on December 28, 2000, with limitations; "Must wear corrective lenses for near and distant vision." There were no records found to indicate when the pilot last received a biennial flight review, as required by 14 CFR Part 61. The pilot's personal flight logbooks were not found. As per the entries on the pilot's last flight physical, he had accumulated a total of 1,000 total flight hours, in all aircraft.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane was a Beech; model BE-35-F35, serial number D-4367, manufactured in 1955. At the time of the accident the airframe had accumulated 3,222 total flight hours. The airplane received an annual inspection on June 12, 2001, 0.1 hours before the accident. The airplane was equipped with one Continental Motor's E225-8, 225 horsepower engine. According to the maintenance records, the engine at the time of the accident had a total time of 1,743.9 hours.

The pilot had flown the airplane into Bamberg on June 12, 2001, for the purpose of having the engine top overhauled, and the annual inspection performed. According to the maintenance facility's owner, they removed the six cylinders and sent them out for chroming, and completed the annual inspection on the airframe. When the cylinders were finished, he reinstalled them and ran the engine. The engine was run a total of four times after it was overhauled. On July 11, 2001, they ran the engine for 3 minutes at low power, and then shut it down to let it cool. They repeated this cycle two more times letting the engine run for three minutes at reduced power, and again, shutting it off to let it cool down.

On July 12, 2001, they ran the engine at high power for a period of 15 minutes, and the engine temperatures, oil pressure, and magneto checks were all good. After the static engine run was performed the airplane sat until the pilot started the engine on July 21, 2001.

An STC (Supplementary Type Certificate) was issued in 1995, for use of automobile gas. At the time of the on-site investigation the smell of auto fuel was present.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The automated weather for the Orangeburg Airport, located 15 NM northeast at 0853 was: clear, visibility 10 sm, wind 070 at 10 knots, temperature 73 degrees F, dew point 64 degrees F, and the altimeter was 30.00 in Hg.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The accident site was located about 1/4 of a mile north of the Bamberg Airport. The airplane impacted in a cotton field. A 60-foot-diameter circle of cotton was burned during the post impact fire. The terrain was flat with trees to the south of the impact area. The accident occurred during the hours of daylight about 33 degrees, 18 minutes north, and 081 degrees, 06 minutes west.

Examination of the wreckage revealed that the fuselage, nose and cowling were crushed aft and damaged by the post impact fire. The left wing remained attached to the left side of the fuselage. The left landing gear was found in the down position. The wing flap was in the up position. The left aileron was attached to the wing, and the control cables were intact and continuous to the cockpit. The inboard 8 feet of the leading edge of the wing displayed impact damaged, and was destroyed by the post impact fire.

The right wing remained attached to the right side of the fuselage. The right main landing gear was in the down position. The wing flap remained attached to the wing and was in the up position. The right aileron was attached to the wing, and one of the aileron control cables was separated, so the aileron would not move when the cables were manipulated. The inboard 8 feet of the leading edge of the wing was destroyed by fire.

The instruments in the cockpit were melted, and the cockpit area was destroyed by fire. The engine controls were found melted, but the position of the throttle and the mixture knobs were determined to be forward. The pilot seat frames were all that remained after the impact and post impact fire. The pilot's seat belt buckle was connected, and one of the shoulder harness was attached to the seat belt buckle. The post impact fire melted the belts and harness.

The fuel selector was partially damaged by fire, and impact, and it was found between the OFF and RIGHT fuel tank position. The fuel selector, fuel strainer screen, was removed and was found to be correctly installed with the cone side up. The debris found in the strainer screen was determined to be from the remains of the fire damaged fuel selector seals.

The engine was observed at the crash and did not exhibit any indications of a catastrophic failure. Examination of the engine revealed that it had separated from the fuselage. The engine was disassembled and the crankshaft was found to be continuous. The forward end of the crankshaft was bent by impact. The propeller was turned and the accessory drive gears rotated. Due to the bent crankshaft flange, the propeller was binding, and could not be turned a full 360 degrees. It would only rotate 300 degrees. The propeller was removed, and the crankshaft was then rotated through a full cycle of 360 degrees. The engine exhibited continuity when the propeller was rotated. Thumb compression was established on all six cylinders.

The propeller hub was found attached to the front of the engine. One propeller blade had separated from the propeller hub, and the other blade remained attached to the hub. The propeller blades did not display any twisting or visible bending. A nick was observed in the leading edge tip of the blade that had remained attached to the hub.

The carburetor was found separated from the engine intake manifold, and was damaged by fire and impact. The carburetor finger filter screen was removed and found to be clean of contaminants. The carburetor air control valve was found in the full power or wide-open position. There were no discrepancies found with the carburetor, and no fuel was found in the carburetor assembly.

The accessories were damaged by fire. Observations of the fuel pump revealed it was still connected to the engine. The fuel pump was removed from the engine and the drive shaft was intact. The fuel pump rotated when the pump drive shaft was rotated. No fuel was found in the fuel pump.

Observation of the spark plugs revealed that they had been damaged by post-crash fire. No discrepancies except for impact and post crash fire damage could be found during the engine examination.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot, at the Department of Pathology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina, on July 22, 2001. According to the autopsy report the cause of death was "...Multiple Blunt Forces Traumatic Injuries." No findings, which could be considered causal to the accident, were reported.

Toxicological tests were conducted at the Federal Aviation Administration, Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and revealed, "No ethanol detected " The following drugs were detected: "...0.172 (uglml, ug/g) PROPOXYPHENE detected in Blood...1.037 (ug/mL, uglg) NORPROPOXYPHENE detected in Blood...2.24 (uglml, uglg) PROPOXVPHENE detected in Liver...31.714 (uglmL, uglg) NORPROPOXVPHENE detected in Liver...FLUOXETINE detected in Kidney...FLUOXETINE detected in Liver...NORFLUOXETINE detected in Liver...NORFLUOXETINE detected in Kidney." Fluoxetine (often referred to by the trade name Prozac) is a prescription antidepressant. Norfluoxetine is the primary metabolite of fluoxetine. Propoxyphene and acetaminophen, are contained in Darvocet-N 100, a prescription narcotic painkiller. Norpropoxyphene is the primary metabolite of propoxyphene.

The Medical Officer for the National Transportation Safety Board reviewed the FAA-CAMI blue ribbon medical records, the FAA-CAMI toxicology report, and records subpoenaed from one pharmacy and one physician on the pilot in this accident. Extracted pertinent material from those records is included as a separate report. The records revealed that the pilot had been using prescription narcotics for at least 12 years to control headaches that were described by a neurologist as "chronic tension type headache." Records from one pharmacy and one physician indicated that he had been receiving prescriptions for Darvocet-N 100, from at least three different physicians. The prescriptions filled within the 6 months preceding the accident included 500 tablets between March 13, 2001, and April 30, 2001, and an additional 100 tablets on June 1, 2001.

Medical records maintained on the pilot provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Aerospace Medical Certification Division, do not indicate the use of Darvocet by the pilot. The pilot had indicated "yes" in response to "frequent or severe headache on his Application for Airman Medical Certificate on at least three separate occasions. FAA Aviation Medical Examiners are instructed (October 1999 Guide for Aviation Medical Examiners, page 63) that a history or the presence of "chronic tension headache" precludes the issuance of a medical certificate. There is no record to indicate that the FAA sought additional evaluation of the pilot's condition.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The airplane was released to Mr. Jesse Glover owner of the property were the airplane was taken on July 22, 2001. There were no representatives of the airplane's owner in the area at the time the wreckage was released.

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