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N7182N accident description

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Tail numberN7182N
Accident dateAugust 03, 2001
Aircraft typeBeech V-35A
LocationLusk, WY
Near 42.991944 N, -104.363611 W
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On August 3, 2001, at approximately 1355 mountain daylight time, a Beech V-35A, N7182N, was destroyed following impact with terrain near Lusk, Wyoming. The private pilot, the sole occupant aboard the airplane, was fatally injured. The owner/pilot was operating the airplane under Title 14 CFR Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal cross-country flight that originated from Lusk Municipal Airport approximately 10 minutes before the accident. No flight plan had been filed.

According to friends of the pilot, he had departed Fort Collins, Colorado, at about 1100 on the morning of the accident. He landed at Lusk, and had lunch with friends. They said that he departed Lusk at approximately 1345. A Wyoming state policeman, while making a traffic stop at mile marker 157 on highway U.S. 85, said "a small plane flew by on the east side of the road at approximately 125 to 150 feet above the ground." He said a few minutes later he received dispatch transmission about a plane crash and subsequent grass fire on highway U.S. 85 at mile marker 167. He looked up and could see the smoke from that location; he proceeded expeditiously to the accident scene.

A witness (an experienced pilot), while in his vehicle driving north on Highway U.S. 85, said the airplane passed over him flying at an estimated 100 to 120 miles per hour. He said: "it was flying straight and level, and showed no signs of engine problems. I was watching this plane when all of a sudden the tail went up and the nose went down and I believed it pitched slightly to the left. It appeared to have dived at a 45-60 degree angle from my point of view. I was still traveling north on Highway 85 about 1/3-1/2 mile south of the site and did not see the impact."

Another witness, also driving north on Highway U.S. 85, said the airplane flew over him at 180 to 200 feet, and was descending. He said he saw the airplane strike the transmission wires at the top of the hill. The airplane's empennage were broken off, with two smaller pieces separating from the main piece. The airplane impacted the ground and exploded into a "medium fireball." Postaccident fire consumed the airplane.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot took his last FAA flight medical exam on March 8, 2000, and at that time he reported that he had 1,200 hours of flight experience with 50 hours during the previous six months. FAA records indicate that the pilot received his private pilot certificate on May 15, 1986. No personal flight log books were located to document his actual flight time, or when he took his last flight review.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane was a single engine, propeller-driven, six seat airplane, which was manufactured by Beech Aircraft Company, in 1968. It was powered by a Teledyne Continental IO-550-B (STC SA2200SW, D'Shannon Products), six cylinder, reciprocating, horizontally opposed, direct drive, air cooled, fuel injected engine, which had a maximum takeoff rating of 285 horsepower at sea level. The last annual inspection was performed in Fort Collins, Colorado, on June 7, 2001. At the time of the accident, the aircraft maintenance records and engine tachometer suggest that that the airframe had accumulated approximately 6,106 flight hours.

METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS

At 1353, the weather conditions at Douglas, Wyoming (elevation 4929),270 degrees 44 nautical miles (nm) from the accident site, were as follows: wind variable at 4 knots; visibility 10 statue miles (nm); clear of clouds; temperature 93 degrees Fahrenheit; dew point 45 degrees Fahrenheit; altimeter setting 30.12 inches.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane was found next to Highway U.S. 85 (also U.S. 18), near mile marker 167 (N42 degrees, 59.56'; W104 degrees, 21.83'; elevation 4,481 feet) between two hills. The aircraft debris field was aligned approximately 340 degrees, and postimpact fire consumed most of the airplane. The level range land had a sandy to small gravel in size soil, and was vegetated with 12 to 18 inch high dry grass (postimpact fire burned approximately 10 acres). An aluminum transmission wire, 1/2 inch in diameter, which crossed the road nearly perpendicular, was separated and a second wire was damaged. The ends of the separated wire exhibited necking; the separated wire had been 69 feet above the highway.

All of the airplane's major components were accounted for at the accident site. The tip of the left ruddervator and its counter weight, both unburned, were found approximately 30 feet prior to the initial impact hole. The main impact hole was located 25 feet west of the highway, and was approximately 1.5 feet deep, 3 to 4 feet wide, and 10 feet long. Two propeller blades were found in the initial impact hole; the third propeller blade was found 20 feet north of the first two blades. On the right side of the initial impact point, extending at a 90 degree angle for approximately 14 feet, was a rectangular path of barren ground (a slap mark of the right wing). This impact mark suggested that the airplane struck the ground with its wings nearly level.

Approximately 125 feet from the initial impact point was the airplane's empennage. It was substantially burned, but the tip of the left ruddervator and counter balance weight were missing. The main fuselage was located 200 feet further down track, and the engine was found down the debris field an additional 50 feet. A piece of avionics equipment was found 454 feet from the initial impact point, or 748 feet from the separated wire.

The flight control surfaces were all identified, but control cable continuity could not be established due to impact and thermal damage. All flight instruments, flight controls, and avionics were destroyed. The landing gear and wing flaps were determined to be up. The engine was found 3 feet west of the Highway U.S. 85; rotational continuity of the drive train to the accessory section was confirmed. Because the crankshaft could only be rotated through 1/2 a turn, the cylinder compression could not be checked. All three propeller blades exhibited twisting, chordwise scratches, mechanical polishing, and leading edge gouging.

No preimpact engine or airframe anomalies, which might have affected the airplane's performance, were identified.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Regional West Medical Center, Western Pathology Consultants, P.C., of Scottsbluff, Nebraska, performed an autopsy on the pilot on August 5, 2000.

The FAA's Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI) in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology tests on the pilot. According to CAMI's report (#200100221001), carbon monoxide and cyanide tests were not performed. No volatiles were detected in the vitreous, and the drug Diphenhydramine was found in his heart and lung. Diphenhydramine is an over the counter antihistamine, with sedative side effects, which is commonly known as Benadryl. This medication was not approved by the FAA for pilots to take while actively flying.

ADDITIONAL DATA

The airplane, including all components and logbooks, was released to a representative of the owner's insurance company on August 20, 2001.

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