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N3400J accident description

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Crash location 33.049722°N, 87.422500°W
Reported location is a long distance from the NTSB's reported nearest city. This often means that the location has a typo, or is incorrect.
Nearest city Duncanville, AL
33.061788°N, 87.442225°W
1.4 miles away

Tail number N3400J
Accident date 17 Jul 2002
Aircraft type Cessna 150G
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On July 17, 2002, at 0805 central daylight time, a Cessna 150G, N3400J, registered to and operated by Pearson Aviation LLC, collided with terrain while maneuvering near Duncanville, Alabama. The instructional flight was operated under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91, and visual flight rules. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The certificated flight instructor and student pilot received fatal injuries, and the airplane was destroyed. The flight departed Fairhope Municipal Airport in Fairhope, Alabama, at 0630 on July 17, 2002.

A pilot-rated witness stated that he and his wife planned to meet their son, the pilot-in-command of the accident airplane, at the Tuscaloosa Airport for a family reunion. While he was traveling westward on U.S. Highway 82, enroute to the airport, he saw the Cessna 150, also westbound, flying parallel to the highway on his left side. He estimated the airplane's altitude as 50 to 100 feet above ground level (AGL), in level flight. The airplane was about one-quarter of a mile ahead of the car when he saw it climb steeply, and then turned left and descended straight down disappearing behind a stand of trees. The mother and father of the pilot stopped their car and ran to the accident site to see if they could assist any survivors.

Additionally, the pilot's father stated that on previous visits the pilot would circle their house to alert them to pick him up at the airport. Their house is about one-mile east of the accident site. The pilot's father stated that he was sure his son recognized their car from the air. The pilot's father did not know there was a student pilot in the left seat, but believes he was one of his son's flight students.


A review of information on file with the FAA Airman's Certification Division, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, revealed the pilot was issued a Airline Transport Pilot certificate on March 1, 2002, with ratings for airplane single engine land, multiengine land, and instrument airplane, and was a certified flight instructor for airplane single engine land, multiengine land, instrument airplane. A review of the pilot's logbook revealed his last recorded biannual flight review was conducted on February 24, 2002, at Flight Safety International. A review of records on file with the FAA Aeromedical Certification Division revealed the pilot held a first class medical certificate issued on April 1, 2002. The pilot reported he had accumulated 7,500 total hours.


A review of the airplane's maintenance records revealed the last recorded annual inspection was completed on June 13, 2002, at 3488.88 hours. The airplane had accumulated 15.0 hours since the annual inspection. On January 10, 2002, it was noted in the beginning of the logbook that all of the previous maintenance had been lost and that the airplane times were determined using Teledyne Continental Motors Maintenance records and airplane flight activity logs.


The nearest weather reporting facility at the time of the accident was Tuscaloosa Municipal Airport (TLC). The 0853 surface weather observation was: wind calm, visibility 10 statute miles, sky clear, temperature 27-degrees Celsius, dew point 23 degrees Celsius, altimeter 30.18 inches of mercury.


The wreckage was located in essentially one piece on undeveloped level rural terrain, which had small trees and brush. The airplane was found upright at a 55-degree nose down attitude as measured from the engine orientation and the wing leading edge damage facing 250-degrees magnetic. Some discolored vegetation was observed below the fuel tanks. The elevation at the site was 253 feet per the topographical map. The distance from the site to the Tuscaloosa Municipal Airport was 14.1 Nautical miles at a heading of 319-degrees magnetic. The site was within the Talladega National Forest and was about 250 feet from the northern boundary of the national forest. Trees of approximately 100 feet height were located about 300 feet east of the site. The trees near and west of the site were about 10 to 20 feet in height.

Examination of the airplane found both wings including the center section broken loose from the cabin and rescue personnel had opened the top of the cabin. The lower forward fuselage had been crushed aft. The leading edges of both wings were crushed aft at approximately a 55-degree nose down angle relative to level flight. Both wings were bulged outward (ballooned) in the area of the fuel tanks. The flap actuator was not extended and the flaps were found in the retracted position. The tail section was broken off forward the horizontal stabilizer leading edge and was retained by the flight control cables. The tail section otherwise had relatively minor damage. The elevator and rudder could be moved to their respective travel stops with no binding or other restrictions. Flight control system examination was confirmed as follows; from the elevators to the control column; from the rudder to the rudder pedal attachments; and from the ailerons to the damaged cabin area. The elevator trim tab was found in a neutral position. The airplane was equipped with the standard 26-gallon fuel system, 22.5 gallons usable. No fuel samples were available during the examination. The fuel strainer (gascolator) on the firewall was intact. No debris was observed in the fuel strainer bowl and the filter screen was clean. The on-off selector valve in the cabin was not readily accessible and was not observed. Examination of the airframe failed to disclose any structural malfunctions.

The engine and propeller assemblies remained attached to the airframe. Examination of the propeller found it to be a two-blade fixed pitch McCauley: Model MCM-6950, 1A100, N/S F5207. Blade No. 1, was bent aft about 45-degrees from the hub outward; Blade No. 2 was bent forward about 5-degrees on the outer 6 inches. No significant twisting or leading edge gouging was observed. The propeller-mounting flange was bent and had started to separate from the crankshaft. A bubble protractor was placed on the crankcase upper parting surface at the site. The protractor showed a 55-degree nose down attitude.

Examination of the engine found the oil sump crushed, the vacuum pump broken off, the left magneto and alternator separated from the engine. All four top spark plugs were removed and visually inspected. The spark plug electrodes were light gray with some service wear. The No. 2 upper spark plug electrode was bent toward the center post. The engine could be turned with normal manual force. Mechanical rotation was confirmed throughout the engine. A field compression check was confirmed on all cylinders. No internal damage was apparent within the magnetos. Damage to the magnetos precluded operational testing. The carburetor was a Facet Aerospace MA-3SPA, Model 10-4894, and was separated from the engine. The carburetor bowl drain plug was broken off and no fuel was observed in the carburetor bowl. The interior of the carburetor bowl was clean. The fuel inlet screen was clean. Both of the metal floats were deformed inward. The float needle and seat operated normally. The engine induction air filter was in place and appeared to be in serviceable condition. The induction air inlet duct was crushed. The carburetor heat valve was in the normal (cold) position. The oil filter was cut open and the filter media was examined and no particles were found. The muffler assembly sustained crush damage.


Postmortem toxicology of specimens from the pilot was performed by the Forensic Toxicology Research Section, Federal Aviation Administration, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The results were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, ethanol and basic and acidic drugs. The Tuscaloosa Medical Examiners in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, conducted a postmortem examination of the pilot on July 19, 2002. The cause of death was reported as "multiple blunt force trauma".


The wreckage was released to Atlanta Air Recovery Griffin, Georgia, on July 18, 2002.

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