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N5603S accident description

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Tail numberN5603S
Accident dateJanuary 18, 1995
Aircraft typeBeech 35A(AF)
Beech V35(NTSB)
LocationMoose, WY
Near 43.73333 N, -110.68333 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On January 18, 1995, approximately 1833 mountain standard time, a Beech V35, N5603S, collided with the terrain approximately seven miles north of the Jackson Hole, Wyoming, airport. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed. The airplane was substantially damaged and the private pilot and his two passengers were fatally injured. The flight had originated from Minneapolis, Minnesota on January 18, 1995, at 1300, with a stop at Rapid City, South Dakota. The flight departed Rapid City at 1539 with a final destination to Jackson Hole.

Salt Lake City Air Route Traffic Control Center reported that the flight had been cleared for the ILS runway 18 approach at 1810 hours. The airplane was due to land at 1830 hours. At 1855, the flight was reported overdue and a search was initiated. The wreckage was located on January 19, 1995, at 0310 by search personnel.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a private pilot certificate for single engine land airplanes. An instrument rating was issued on February 6, 1991. The pilot's flight logbook and a Flight Plan Log and Recorder were found in the airplane. At the time of the accident, it was estimated that the pilot had accumulated a total flight time of 849 hours with 669 hours in the Beech V35. The last night flight logged in the pilot logbook was on January 24, 1993. The last entry in the pilot logbook was November 14, 1994. Entries in the Flight Plan Log coincide with the pilot logbook, however, it appeared that one page was missing from the Flight Plan Log. Entries dated after September 9, 1994 to December 29, 1994 were missing. A total time of ten hours was unaccounted for, and it is unknown what type of activity was performed, as the pilot only logged the date, location of the flight and the airplane's tach time in the Flight Plan Log.

COMMUNICATIONS

On January 18, 1995, at 0648, the pilot contacted the Princeton Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS) via a telephone and requested a weather briefing from the Anoka County Airport, Minneapolis, Minnesota, to either Jackson Hole or Riverton, Wyoming, for later that afternoon. The specialist reported heavier precipitation to the north in Montana. In the Jackson Hole area, the specialist reported scattered to occasional broken, to overcast clouds above 800 feet after midnight, with two to four miles visibility and light snow. For the afternoon, the specialist reported Visual Flight Rules (VFR) conditions across South Dakota and eastern Wyoming. Light snow was reported around Cody, Wyoming.

From noon until midnight, Jackson Hole was forecasting scattered to occasional broken clouds above 2,000 feet with occasional five miles visibility and light snow showers. After midnight, the weather was expected to deteriorate. The specialist concluded the conversation by advising the pilot to obtain an updated briefing later in the day.

At 1024, the pilot again contacted Princeton AFSS and reported that he was planning an IFR flight from Minneapolis to Rapid City, departing at 1300. The flight would then continue onto either Jackson Hole or Riverton.

The specialist updated the pilot on the weather and reported that currently there were no major weather systems along the route of flight. Turbulence was reported and isolated moderate rime icing in the clouds below 7,000 feet. In Wyoming, there was an Airmen's Meteorological Information (AIRMET) for occasional moderate turbulence.

The specialist informed the pilot of the current local weather and the forecast for Rapid City, Riverton and Jackson Hole. A Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) was in effect at Jackson Hole for patchy thin loose snow on the runway and the ILS glide slope was currently out of service.

The pilot then filed an IFR flight plan for the proposed route of flight to depart at 1300.

While in-flight, the pilot contacted Flight Watch for updated weather at Jackson Hole. At 1419, the specialist reported that in the western half of Wyoming, there was occasional moderate turbulence below 20,000 feet and an AIRMET for occasional moderate severe in clear or mixed icing in the clouds and precipitation between 6,000 feet and 22,000 feet. The mountains in the Jackson Hole area had possibilities of mountain obscuration and IFR conditions. Visibility was decreasing to a mile-and-a-half and light snow.

After landing at Rapid City, the pilot contacted Huron AFSS for an updated weather briefing for Jackson Hole. The specialist reported an advisory for moderate mixed icing below 18,000 feet. The pilot stated that if he couldn't get into Jackson Hole, he would divert to Riverton. At 1517, the specialist updated the Jackson Hole weather and reported 2,100 feet and 3,300 feet scattered, with ten miles visibility. The terminal forecast through 2100 hours was forecasting 3,000 feet broken and visibility three miles and light snow, with occasional ceilings at 1,500 broken and occasional visibility to one-and-a-half miles.

At 1517, the specialist reported that the Jackson Hole glide slope was still out of service and there was patchy thin loose snow on the runway.

At 1634, the pilot contacted Casper AFSS, and requested a weather update for the Jackson Hole area. The specialist reported scattered layers and visibility was 10 miles. There were no pilot reports for icing conditions.

At 1657, the pilot contacted Salt Lake City Center and reported in that he was level at 11,000 feet.

At 1712, the controller cleared the pilot to climb and maintain 14,000 feet.

At 1805, Salt Lake City Center informed the pilot that after Dunior VOR/DME, he was cleared direct to Quirt intersection and direct to Jackson Hole. At 1810, the pilot was cleared for the ILS runway 18 approach to the Jackson Hole Airport. The controller then informed the pilot of current NOTAMS at Jackson Hole. The NOTAMS were for patchy thin loose snow on the runway and personnel and equipment were working on the runway.

At 1825, the pilot confirmed that cancellation of the flight plan was on his current frequency. There were no further communications with the pilot.

AERODROME INFORMATION

The Jackson Hole Airport ILS glide slope was NOTAMed out of service earlier in the day, however, at the time of the accident, the glide slope and all facilities were operational.

The pilot did not inquire as to the status of the glideslope at Jackson Hole after 1517 hours.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The wreckage was located approximately seven miles north of the Jackson Hole Airport and approximately one/quarter mile west of the localizer course. The terrain was level at the 6,700 foot level and covered with approximately four feet of snow. On the night of the accident, snow flurries covered the airplane with another five inches of snow.

Several craters in the snow were identified along the wreckage distribution path that measured approximately 250 feet. From the first crater to 100 feet into the path, a magnetic bearing of 180 degrees was noted. At 100 feet, a bearing of 210 degrees was noted to a six foot section of the left wing at 191 feet. At the 100 foot position, another bearing of 145 degrees was noted to the main wreckage that was located at 150 feet from the 100 foot mark.

The first crater was measured at eight feet in length and two feet deep. The left wing tip was located within this crater. The red anti-collision light case was found imbedded in the snow.

A large crater measuring 50 feet in length, 25 feet wide and four feet deep followed the first crater. Within this large crater, a strong smell of fuel was noted. At the end of the crater at 63 feet, the nose gear, the right main landing gear and an eight foot-eleven inch section of the left wing was found. The flap remained attached to this section and the aileron was found separated at the hinges and was within ten feet of the wing section. Another crater beginning at 77 feet to 91 feet followed the second crater. Small pieces of sheet metal were noted in and around this crater.

A marker was placed at 100 feet and snow disturbance was noted along the 145 degree path to the main wreckage approximately 124 feet away. The propeller blades and hub were noted at nine feet into this path and 30 feet to the left of centerline. All three blades were bent rearward and displayed slight curling at the tips. The hub had separated from the crankshaft at the flange. The flange displayed gouges and the bolt holes were elongated. Another crater was noted directly in front of the main wreckage that measured 24 feet in length. The main wreckage was laying flat on its belly with the nose pointing on a magnetic bearing of 310 degrees. The right wing remained partially attached at the forward wing root attachment. Both the aileron and flap remained attached. The flap was retracted. The outboard four feet of the wing tip was bent upward nearly 90 degrees. All four seats inside the airplane had been ejected outside of the fuselage. The top of the cockpit and side of the fuselage were bent upward and aft. The cockpit panel was bent downward and aft. The engine remained attached to the firewall and was positioned downward into the snow. The remainder of the fuselage aft of the rear seats remained intact with little damage noted. The empennage was in place and the stabilators with the ruddervators were attached. Control continuity was established from the empennage forward to the cockpit area.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Jackson County Medical Examiners office reported that the pilot's cause of death was due to traumatic injuries.

Toxicological samples were sent to the Federal Aviation Administration Civil Aeromedical Institute to analysis. The results from the testing were negative.

ADDITIONAL DATA/INFORMATION

The engine was inspected after the removal of the wreckage. The engine was placed on a stand and the crankshaft rotated easily. Rocker arm, accessory gear and valve train continuity was established. All six cylinders developed compression ranging from 50/80 PSI to 66/80 PSI. The fuel manifold valve was inspected and found that the diaphragm was intact and the material pliable. The screen and nozzle were free of contaminants. The fuel pump sustained impact damage and the drive shaft sheared at the shear point. The pump, however, rotated easily. The fuel control unit screen was free of contaminants. All spark plugs displayed normal operating signatures, and both magnetos produced a spark with hand rotation. The oil filter displayed minimal deposits.

The avionics were removed from the wreckage and sent to AlliedSignal Inc., Olathe, Kansas, to determine frequencies and operation in the presence of a Federal Aviation Administration Inspector. The Automatic Direction Finder (ADF) receiver and indicator, one Navigation/Communication (NAV/COMM) unit, one Distance Measuring Equipment (DME) and one Instrument Landing System (ILS) indicator were examined. It was found that the ADF suffered impact damage, but was functional. The unit was powered up and the frequency displayed 284 Khz, with 213 Khz in the standby mode. The heading select card on the indicator was at 311 degrees.

The #1 NAV/COMM unit exhibited impact damage, however, the unit was functional. When the unit was powered up, the active communication frequency displayed 122.80 Mhz, which is the UNICOM frequency for Jackson Hole. In the standby mode 133.25 Mhz, which is the frequency for Salt Lake City Center. The active navigation frequency displayed 109.10 Mhz, which is the localizer frequency. In the standby mode, 108.4 Mhz was displayed, which is the frequency for the Jackson Very-High Frequency Omnirange (VOR)/DME. The communications transmitter and receiver functioned normally, along with the navigation receiver. The internal glideslope receiver tested normal and the glideslope deviation was found to be within acceptable limits. The glideslope warning flag functioned normally.

The DME exhibited some impact damage and the on/off switch was in the on position. The three function switch for remote tune/frequency/G-TTS was in the G/TTS, which displays groundspeed and time to station was destroyed. The frequency display indicated 113.50 Mhz. There is no frequency on the approach plate to match this, however, the Dunior VOR/DME frequency is 113.40 Mhz. The DME transceiver tested normal.

The VOR/ILS indicator was severely damaged and did not allow a functional test. The Omni Bearing Selector (OBS) card was set to 002 degrees and was frozen in place. The VOR/Localizer (LOC) deviation indicator was 3.5 dots to the left and the glideslope deviation was two dots down. No other information was available from this unit.

The two other units were Narco brands. The NAV/COMM unit displayed impact damage and the frequency could not be determined. The VOR/ILS indicator card displayed 255 degrees. The Off flag was visible and the localizer/glideslope needles were centered.

According to the approach plate for ILS runway 18, Quirt intersection is to be identified by Jackson VOR/DME, 004 radial and Dunior VOR/DME, 267 radial prior to procedure turn and before using the localizer.

The RADAR data provided by the Salt Lake City Air Route Traffic Control Center indicates that the flight path to Dunior was via victor 330 at approximately 14,000 feet. After Dunior, the ground track was the 267 radial to Quirt intersection. The flight then turned outbound, paralleling the 185 inbound radial before making a right turn to track inbound. The flight did not perform the published procedure turn. At Quirt intersection, which is 17.3 DME from Jackson VOR/DME, the approach plate indicates that the flight is not to descend below 12,000 feet until passage. The RADAR data indicates that the flight was at 12,000 feet just north of Quirt Intersection, and the next target just south of the intersection is at 11,400 feet. After passage, the approach plate indicates that the flight can descend to, but not below, 10,600 feet until reaching Saker intersection at 12.5 miles DME. The last target just north of Saker Intersection indicates that the flight was at 10,800 feet. After passage the flight can descend to, but not below, 7,700 feet at 4.5 miles DME before continuing the descent to 6,745 feet, which is the minimum descent altitude.

During the on site investigation, it was noted that there was no oxygen system installed in the airplane. The air traffic control transcripts indicate that the flight had been operating at altitudes above 12,500 feet for approximately one hour and ten minutes.

The wreckage was released to the owner's representative on June 1, 1995. The wreckage was moved to, and stored at, Spanish Fork Flying Service, Spanish Fork, Utah.

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