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N73941 accident description

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Tail numberN73941
Accident dateJune 13, 1996
Aircraft typeCessna 172N
LocationArlington, TN
Near 35.28333 N, -89.68333 W
Additional details: Brown/White

NTSB description

* HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On June 13, 1996, at 2133 central daylight time, a Cessna 172N, N73941, collided with trees two miles north of the Arlington Municipal Airport, in Arlington, Tennessee. The personal flight operated under the provisions of Title 14 of CFR Part 91, with no flight plan filed. Visual weather conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The airplane was destroyed, and the private pilot was fatally injured. The flight departed Humbolt, Tennessee, at 2100 hours.

According to a friend of the pilot, when the flight departed Humbolt, there were no apparent airplane problems observed as he watched the airplane fly south for about ten minutes. The flight never arrived in Arlington as planned. After an alert noticed was issued by the Federal Aviation Administration, local law and volunteer groups initiated a search for the missing airplane. On June 17, 1996, at 1800 hours, the airplane wreckage was located in a wooded area two miles north of the Arlington Municipal Airport.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

Information on the airplane is contained in this factual report on page 2 under the data field labeled "Aircraft Information."

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

Information on the First Pilot is included in this factual report on page 3 under the data file labeled "First Pilot." A review of the pilot's medical history revealed that he had coronary heart disease and had undergone heart surgery before starting his flight training. The pilot's medical certificate showed that the current medical certificate expired on June 30, 1996. The certificate also had a vision limitation. According to the Federal Aviation Administration medical records, the pilot had undergone a special class three medical issue process for his coronary condition. This process placed a one year limitation on the pilot's medical certificate.

METOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

Visual weather conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. Weather information is located at the data field labeled "Weather Information" on page three of this factual report. A review of weather data disclosed that conditions favorable for the formation of carburetor ice existed at the time of the accident.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

Examination of the accident site disclosed that aircraft collided with 65 foot tall trees, and wreckage debris was scattered over an area 250 feet long and 45 feet wide. Wreckage debris was orientated on a 068 degree magnetic heading. Examination of the accident site disclosed that there were several freshly broken trees about 225 feet southwest of the main wreckage. Debris from both wing tips was located in the immediate vicinity of this first group of freshly broken trees. Approximately 85 feet northeast of the first group of broken trees, the left wing assembly, and the right horizontal stabilizer with the elevator assembly, were located adjacent to a second group of freshly damaged trees. The rudder assembly was located 135 feet northeast of the first group of freshly broken trees. Additional airframe debris was located in the immediate vicinity of the main wreckage. The main wreckage, that included the fuselage, rested against a tree.

Examination of the main wreckage revealed that the right wing assembly was damaged but remained attached to the airframe. The cockpit area was torn open exposing the interior to ambient conditions. The instrument panel was displaced aft towards the pilot's and front passenger's stations. Further examination of the cockpit area disclosed that the pilot's seat assembly was dislodged from its normally installed position; the pilot's seat assembly was found several feet away from the main wreckage. During the examination of the pilot's seat, it was discovered that one side of the pilot's seat belt was frayed and torn into two sections.

The engine was displaced aft into the firewall, but remain attached to the airframe throughout the crash sequence. The propeller assembly also remained attached to the engine. Examination of the propeller blades disclosed that both blades had sustained some chordwise bending and twisting at the tips. Further examination of the engine assembly revealed that the carburetor bowl was broken. The engine was subsequently removed from the accident site for further examination. The engine examination included the removal of accessory section components for functional evaluations. The examination of the engine assembly and the accessory components failed to disclose a system malfunction or component failure.

Examination of the airframe, that included the flight control system, also failed to disclose a mechanical malfunction.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The autopsy and toxicological examinations on the pilot were never done. According to the Federal Aviation Investigator assigned to this investigation, a verbal request had been made with Shelby County Medical Examiner's Office in Memphis, Tennessee, to conduct an autopsy examination on the pilot, and to collect samples for toxicological examinations. Several days after the agreement, the toxicology sample box was returned to the Flight Standards District Office in Memphis, Tennessee. During the follow-up inquiry about the autopsy, it was learned that the pilot had been funeralized without the completion of the post autopsy or toxicological examination being completed.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The airplane wreckage was released to Mr. A.T. Guron (Manager, Arlington Municipal Airport).

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