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N67581 accident description

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Tail numberN67581
Accident dateMarch 13, 1994
Aircraft typeCessna 152
LocationAllendale, SC
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On March 13, 1994, at 2300 eastern standard time, a Cessna 152, N67581, collided with trees and terrain near the Allendale County Airport, Allendale, South Carolina. The private pilot, an Indian national, was fatally injured, and the aircraft was destroyed. The aircraft was operated under 14 CFR Part 91 by the Southeastern School of Aeronautics in Macon, Georgia. Night, visual meteorological conditions existed at the time, and a visual flight rules flight plan was filed for the personal, cross country flight. The flight originated in Savannah, Georgia, at 2158.

The accident flight was the second leg of a night, cross country flight which originated in Macon, Georgia, where the pilot was enrolled as a student at the Southeastern School of Aeronautics. The planned itinerary was to fly a three-leg cross country, stopping first in Savannah, then proceeding to Columbia, South Carolina, before returning to Macon. The president and chief flight instructor at the school reported that the accident pilot briefed him on the proposed itinerary, along with forecast weather, during preflight preparations in Macon. At 1611, on the day of the accident, Mr. Murphy obtained a Direct User Access System (DUAT) printout, which he said coincided with the weather information discussed prior to the flight.

A man who identified himself as the pilot of N46908 (the aircraft was later changed to N67581) contacted the Georgia Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS) by telephone, and filed a VFR (visual flight rules) flight plan from Macon (MAC) to Savannah (SAV). The AFSS specialist also gave the pilot a VFR weather briefing, which ended at 1624.

Later that evening, at 2135, a man who identified himself as the pilot of N67581, contacted the Georgia AFSS by telephone, and filed a VFR flight plan from Savannah to Columbia. The pilot did not request, and was not given, a weather briefing during that telephone call. At 2158, N67581 was cleared for departure at Savannah. At 2219, N67581 leveled off at 6,500 feet mean sea level (MSL). At 2243, N67581 advised the Jacksonville Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) that he was descending to 4,500 feet to maintain VFR. At 2249, N67581 reported a rain shower. At 2251, N67581 reported that he was having trouble maintaining VFR, and was descending to 2,500 feet. The Jacksonville controller advised N67581 of weather that he observed along the planned route of flight, and informed the pilot of the location of the Allendale County Airport. At 2254, the pilot of N67581 reported that he had Allendale County Airport in sight, and would proceed to land there. The last recorded radar return was at 2255, 3/8 mile from Allendale County Airport.

About 2300, an airplane was observed by a married couple, who were both pilots and members of the Civil Air Patrol. They were at their residence, which was located on the airport, and facing the parking ramp and runway. They reported the following: A single engine aircraft overflew the runway, from west to east, and entered a left downwind leg for runway 17. The aircraft was then seen in a steep, descending base leg turn for runway 17. The aircraft was at "high speed." Approximately 2,000 feet down the runway (the aircraft did not touch down), the pilot initiated a go around, while still at high speed. Power was added, and the aircraft started a climbing, right hand turn to a heading of about 210 degrees, followed by a descending, left hand turn toward runway 35. The aircraft then disappeared behind a large hangar, and did not reappear. They also reported that the engine sounded normal while in the traffic pattern. When the go-around was observed, the power was added very fast, and the sound of the engine came up to full power smoothly. They reported the weather conditions at the time of the accident to include moderate to heavy rain, variable, gusty winds, and a ceiling greater than 2,000 feet above ground level (AGL).

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, Hrishikesh K. Gajjar, was a citizen of India. He was enrolled as a student at the Southeastern School of Aeronautics. At the time of the accident, he was participating in the school's Commercial Pilot Certification Course. He completed the Private Pilot Certification Course on January 21, 1994, and received his private pilot certificate, with airplane, single engine land privileges on January 24, 1994. He logged approximately 89 hours of flight time during the private pilot course, and the remainder of his flight time was logged during the commercial pilot course. According to school officials, he entered the private pilot course with no previous flight experience.

The pilot's primary flight instructor, Mr. Jerry Potter, reported that Mr. Gajjar was a hard working, conscientious student, who accepted criticism, both positive and negative, well. He recalled that Mr. Gajjar had some problems initially with the English language, but made steady progression throughout the course. He believed that Mr. Gajjar was ready for his private pilot check ride, otherwise he would not have allowed him to take it. Mr. Potter also reported that he specifically requested that his students close their flight plans on the ground after every flight, and receive a weather briefing for the next flight. He was not aware of any weather encounters that Mr. Gajjar may have experienced on any previous night flights, but he did recall that Mr. Gajjar had encountered rain showers on a previous daytime flight, and had performed satisfactorily. He recalled that Mr. Gajjar's performance at takeoffs and landings was good prior to the accident.

The president and chief flight instructor, Mr. Patrick Murphy, reported that he had dispatched Mr. Gajjar prior to his departure from Macon. He reported that Mr. Gajjar had received the required weather information for that flight. He also noted that Mr. Gajjar seemed well rested, and motivated to fly.

Additional information on the pilot is included in this report at the section titled "First Pilot Information."

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

Information on the aircraft is contained in this report in the section titled "Aircraft Information."

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Allendale County Airport has no weather reporting facilities. Witness accounts of weather conditions are included in the "History of Flight" section of this narrative. The weather observation for Augusta, Georgia is included in this report at the section titled "Weather Information." At 2155, on the evening of the accident, Augusta reported a 3,600 foot broken ceiling, four miles visibility, with thunderstorms and light rain. There was a remark that a thunderstorm began at 2141, and was moving east. The accident site was located about 42 miles southeast of Augusta. Weather observations at other airports in the general area are included as an attachment to this report.

According to FAA records of communications, the pilot received a VFR weather briefing, which ended at 1624 on the day of the accident. The area forecast called for VFR conditions throughout the planned route of flight.

The area forecast, issued at 2045 on April 13, for South Carolina (other than coastal sections), called for isolated thundershowers. Isolated light rain showers were forecast for coastal sections. The outlook was for VFR conditions. Additional forecast data is included as an attachment to this report.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The aircraft impacted trees before coming to rest in an open field. The magnetic heading from the initial tree impact area to the main wreckage was about 025 degrees, and the length of the wreckage path was about 284 feet. Freshly broken tree limbs were observed during the first 137 feet of the wreckage path. A 65 foot-tall pine tree, with a trunk diameter of about 12 inches, was broken at the trunk, about 20 feet above the ground. The upper 45 feet of the tree had fallen in the direction of the main wreckage.

All major structural components of the aircraft were found with the main wreckage. The empennage and tail cone were inverted; the tail cone was buckled throughout its length. All flight control surfaces of the tail were in place and connected to their corresponding cables to the cockpit. The left wing was inverted, and the lift strut was still in place. There was extensive forward to aft crushing signatures in all areas of the left wing. Several pieces of wing skin were found along the wreckage distribution path. The aileron and flap remained attached to the left wing. The right wing was inverted, with the lift strut broken from the fuselage attachment point, and still connected at the wing attachment point. There was extensive forward to aft crushing signatures to the entire right wing section, and several pieces of wing skin, along with the right aileron, were located along the wreckage path. Both fuel tanks were ruptured. During the recovery of the wreckage, residual fuel was found in both wing tanks. The fuel was clean, blue in color, and no evidence of water or other contaminants was observed.

The cockpit area was broken open, and exposed to the elements. The forward section of the aircraft, which consisted of the instrument panel, engine firewall, engine cowling, engine, and propeller, were found in a nose low position. The propeller blades were twisted toward low pitch, exhibited "s" bending, chordwise scratching, and the blade paint was polished off in several areas.

During the wreckage removal, the engine was inspected. There was internal continuity confirmed throughout the engine. The spark plugs were removed, and were normal in color and wear when compared to a manufacturer's inspection chart. The vacuum pump was still attached to the engine. It was removed and opened for inspection; the internal components were intact and free to rotate, and the plastic drive gear was intact. The carburetor was removed and inspected. The two piece venturi was in place, and slightly loose. The carburetor bowl was about half full of clean, blue colored fuel, and no water was observed when tested with water finding paste.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

A post-mortem examination of the pilot was performed at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. A toxicological report provided by the Civil Aeromedical Institute in included as an attachment to this report.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The wreckage was released to:

Kevin J. Twiss (Owner's Representative) Phoenix Aviation Managers, Inc. 1255 Roberts Blvd., #200 Kennesaw, Georgia 30144.

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