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N190AR accident description

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Tail numberN190AR
Accident dateApril 30, 1994
Aircraft typeCessna 150M
LocationArroyo City, TX
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF THE FLIGHT

On April 30, 1994, at 1325 central daylight time, a Cessna 150M, N190AR, was destroyed when it collided with the ground near Arroyo City, Texas. The airplane had been rented to the commercial pilot for a local personal flight. There was no flight plan filed and visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The pilot and the one passenger received fatal injuries.

Ground witnesses, one mile away, reported seeing the airplane flying straight and level at an estimated altitude of 150 to 300 feet AGL. They stated that shortly after crossing a road and a set of power lines, the airplane started a gradual pitch up that continued until the airplane was vertical. The witnesses then observed the airplane to stop climbing, do a brief tail slide, and then pitch vertically nose down into the ground.

A video camera with a tape inside was recovered from the accident site. The video showed the progression of portions of the flight, including the last moments prior to impact. The tape contained audio as well as video recordings. The recording began at the beginning of the cassette. All of the following times were measured in minutes and seconds from the beginning of the tape. Between video tape time 00:00 and 01:37, the tape contained various shots of the ramp area at the Brownsville airport. There were two brief views of the accident airplane during this segment. Between 01:38 and 03:29, there were shots taken outside the right window. The airplane was at altitude in a level cruise attitude over flat terrain and engine noises could be heard in the background. At 03:29, the camera panned onto the instrument 03:58. From 03:58 until 04:22, there was footage of a grass fire on the ground, a decrease in power was heard, along with a comment "call fire department."

Starting at 04:22 and running to 04:34, there was a view of a downwind approach to the fire shot from the right side of the airplane. Altitude at this time was estimated as being between 10 and 20 feet AGL. The engine noise decreased slightly during this sequence. Between 04:34 and 05:02, the tape showed the airplane banking left, still at low altitude and at 04:58, the comment "crop duster style" was heard. At 05:02, the airplane overflew a canal with brush on either side and an unidentifiable sound is heard from the bottom of the airplane.

At 05:03, the tape shows the airplane straight and level at low altitude over a field. At 05:08, a set of power lines is visible out the front windshield and at 05:14, the comment "under or over" is heard, followed at 05:16, by the comment "over." Between 05:14 and 05:29, the camera showed a view of the airplane entering a steep pull up, followed by laughter and screaming. At 05:25, the stall warning horn activated and a left bank is discernable. This was followed by an expletive at 05:28, and another unintelligible comment at 05:29, and a vertical field of view of the cultivated field. The portion of the video tape that ran between 05:26 and 05:29, was damaged. At various points during the video, the engine instruments were visible. All of the engine power instruments were within high cruise power setting parameters throughout the taped sequences.

WITNESSES

Several witnesses were identified during the investigation; however, only two provided written statements. One eyewitness said that he observed the airplane flying northeast at approximately 300 feet altitude and that it went straight up approximately 20 to 50 feet, and then came straight back down. Another witness, who was the last person to fly the airplane prior to the accident flight, stated that it had performed normally on his flight.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot's personal log books were not located during the investigation. Records retrieved from the FAA Airman's Records Branch indicated that he had been issued a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single engine land and instrument privileges on December 21, 1985. These records also indicated that he had last applied for a medical certificate on June 1, 1987. At the time of his last application for a medical, the pilot indicated he had flown a total of 250 hours.

Records requested from the fixed base operator where the pilot rented the airplane indicated that he had last filled out a "Pilot Check-Out Record" on September 16, 1985. At that time, he indicated he held a commercial certificate. The only other records that the FBO was able to produce on the pilot was the airplane rental slip filled out on the date of the accident.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

An audit of the airplane's maintenance records did not reveal any outstanding discrepancies that would have affected its airworthiness. It had last had an annual inspection on May 31, 1993, a 100 hour inspection on February 21, 1994, and an oil change on April 2, 1994. The FBO reported that the airplane had been topped off with 100LL aviation fuel prior to departure. The airplane was within the prescribed limits for weight and balance at the time of the accident.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane crashed in a flat cultivated field, approximately 900 feet west of Texas Farm to Market Road 1847. The road ran north and south, and the power lines seen in the video ran parallel to the road on the west side. It was estimated that the lines were 45 feet high.

The aircraft came to rest on a measured heading of 343 degrees with both wing leading edges imbedded in the mud. Both wings had leading edge compression damage aft to a point aft of the main spar. The airplane had not moved forward or laterally after initial impact. The tail was found folded down with the tie down ring in the mud. The nose gear wheel was found immediately behind the left horizontal stabilizer. According to rescue personnel, both occupants were strapped in when they arrived and that they cut both aft door posts to effect removal. The rescue personnel also stated that there was a large amount of fuel visible at the accident site when they responded.

All of the flight controls had remained attached to the airframe and control continuity was established to all, except where the rescue personnel had cut the aileron cables. The main gear and both struts remained in their relative positions. The engine was found displaced aft through the fire wall and both magnetos and the generator had penetrated through the instrument panel.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

Autopsies and toxicology tests were performed on both occupants. The autopsies were performed by a private company, "Pathology", in Harlingen, Texas. The toxicology studies were performed by the FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute. There were no significant findings on either individual.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

Video Reconstruction: The video camera with the tape jammed in it was removed from the accident site by responding Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) officers. It was subsequently turned over to the NTSB investigator-in-charge at the DPS offices in Harlingen. The camera was subsequently turned over to a commercial video service for tape removal, case replacement, and splicing of one tear and break in the tape which was located at the end of the flight sequence. A copy of the tape was provided to Cessna Aircraft, who were able, at the request of the Board, to get instrument readings by freeze-framing the tape. Their report is contained as a separate attachment to this report.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Wreckage Release: The wreckage was released to the owner's representative on July 26, 1994, and all of the retained records were returned at that time. The retained video camera and original tape out of the airplane were released to the owner's representative on August 16, 1994.

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