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N2PZ accident description

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Crash location 39.493889°N, 101.301389°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 Glenwood Sprgs, CO
39.550538°N, 107.324776°W
321.0 miles away
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Tail number N2PZ
Accident date 17 Apr 2001
Aircraft type Beech 35
Additional details: None

NTSB description

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On April 17, 2001, at 1627 mountain daylight time, a Beech 35, N2PZ, was destroyed when it impacted terrain during takeoff from Glenwood Springs Municipal Airport, Glenwood Springs, Colorado. The private pilot, the sole occupant in the airplane, was fatally injured. The pilot was operating the airplane under Title 14 CFR Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the cross-country flight which was originating at the time of the accident. The pilot had not filed a flight plan.

According to Fixed Base Operator (FBO) service personnel at Boise Air Terminal Airport (BOI; elevation 2,868 feet), Boise, Idaho, the pilot had approached them on two occasions requesting auto gas for his airplane; he was told that they do not sell it. On April 16, 2001, he approached them again requesting auto gas, and he was told that they only sold 100LL fuel. The pilot did request from FBO service personnel that the main tanks of his airplane be topped off with 100LL; they put 7.1 gallons in the airplane. Shortly after the FBO employee had serviced the airplane, he observed the pilot positioning five or six red, 5 gallon, square fuel containers next to the airplane's cargo door. The FBO employee left the area for another work assignment, and did not observe the pilot load his aircraft.

Witnesses at Glenwood Springs Municipal Airport (GWS; elevation 5,916 feet) said that the airplane arrived at their location on April 16, 2001. They said that the airplane landed long and fast, and one of the airplane's main tires failed during the braking sequence. They described the tire as being in very good condition, with a 4 inch flat spot with a hole in the center (the hole went through the inner tube as well).

On April 17, 2001, the pilot called the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Denver Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS) to obtain a weather briefing for a visual flight rules (VFR) flight from Glenwood Springs (GWS), Colorado, to Boise (BOI), Idaho. AFSS personnel reported that, at 1527, the pilot received a standard weather briefing. Witnesses reported that during the approximate 45 minutes it took the pilot to prepare his airplane for flight (loading the airplane, and topping the three fuel tanks off with 47.5 gallons of 100LL fuel), at least four airplanes departed on runway 14. One witness observed that when the pilot taxied out for takeoff on runway 14, a down wind takeoff, his right rear cabin window was open (it could not be determined if this was closed before flight).

Witnesses said that during the takeoff sequence, the airplane appeared to rotate "quickly" and "excessively." One witness said the airplane appeared to have a nose high attitude on the takeoff roll, which continued beyond the river, and then its nose got higher. He said the airplane suddenly turned left and crashed with a big ball of flame. Several witnesses reported that the airplane began to wobble back and forth, as soon as it left the runway. They said the airplane descended a little when it flew over the Roaring Fork River, approximately 500 feet from the runway's departure end. Witnesses said that the airplane continued to wobble until it reached a house, when it appeared to start climbing. The airplane's left wing immediately dropped, and the airplane flew into the ground.

Another witness, who was in his car on the departure end of the runway, said that the airplane appeared to be flying very slow, and was wobbling side to side. He said that the landing gear doors began to open while the airplane was still over the runway, and the landing gear took a long time to retract. A flight instructor, who witnessed the departure, said that the airplane never got higher than 100 feet above the ground.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot's wife said that he began flying in 1985 or 1986; Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records indicated that he received his private pilot license on May 27, 1993. Small bits of paper retrieved from the postimpact fire indicate that the pilot's flight logbook was destroyed in the airplane. The pilot reported on an application for aircraft insurance, dated March 22, 2001, that he had 200 hours total flight experience, with 15 hours in retractable landing gear aircraft. The pilot wrote, on his FAA medical examination application dated September 2, 1999, that he had 300 hours of flight time. The pilot's wife said that during the previous 12 months, he had been receiving instrument flight training at Meacham Field, Fort Worth, Texas. None of the flight schools at Meacham Field had any documentation that the pilot had flown with them.

The previous owner of the airplane said that the pilot purchased it from him, in Florida, on March 30, 2001. A flight instructor from Lake Placid, Florida, said he flew four familiarization flights with the pilot, for 5 hours of flight time (mostly landing practice). The flight instructor said that he did not indorse the pilot's personal flight logbook for a flight review; it could not be documented that the pilot did have a current flight review. According to the flight instructor, the pilot departed for Boise, Idaho, on April 1, 2001. Fuel purchase records, that could be found, indicated that the pilot landed at Woodward (purchased 28.5 gallons), Oklahoma, and Durango (purchased 13.6 gallons), Colorado, for fuel; each time requesting that just the two main fuel tanks be topped off. The pilot's wife said that the pilot was delayed in Utah for a day or two, due to bad weather conditions. She said that he arrived in Boise, Idaho, on April 4; she said she flew once in the airplane, with the pilot, during the following week for approximately 1 hour.

It could not be determined if the pilot had ever received any mountain flight training (including high density altitude flight training). The FBO personnel in Boise Idaho, said that on one occasion, the pilot did request assistance in starting his airplane.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane was a single engine, propeller-driven, retractable landing gear, four seat airplane, which was manufactured by Beechcraft, in 1947. It was powered by a Continental F-185-8, six cylinder, reciprocating, horizontally opposed, direct drive, air cooled, normally aspirated engine, which had a maximum takeoff rating of 185 horsepower at 2,300 rpm for 1 minute, at sea level; and 165 continuous horsepower at 2,050 rpm. The last annual inspection was completed in Lake Placid, Florida, on March 25, 2001. The aircraft's engine tachometer indicated 148.9 hours at the time of the inspection. Total airframe time, at the time of the accident, was 3,573 hours

The airplane's Pilot's Operating Handbook (POH) states that the airplane was certified for a maximum gross weight of 2,550 pounds. The airplane's last weight and balance measurements were made on February 25, 1998; the empty weight was 1,699.8 pounds and its useful load was 850.2 pounds. The airplane was equipped with two main 19.5 gallon fuel tanks (17 gallons usable x 2 = 34 gallons), and a long range 20 gallon auxiliary baggage fuel tank (19 gallons usable), which provided a total usable fuel capacity of 53 gallons. The airplane's POH states that when the auxiliary baggage tank is being used, baggage and fuel, in that compartment, shall not exceed 120 pounds total.

On the day of the accident, the pilot requested that all three fuel tanks be topped off. Glenwood Springs Municipal Airport FBO ramp personnel said they put 47.5 gallons of fuel in the airplane. This was the only refueling of the airplane where documentation could be found that the 20 gallon auxiliary baggage tank was used by the pilot.

The airplane manufacturer's representative said that the airplane's electrically operated retractable landing gear takes 18 to 22 seconds to cycle. He said that the landing gear retraction phase during takeoff, while the landing gear is in transition, "significantly" increases the airplanes aerodynamic drag profile. He further stated that he recommends to pilots that following takeoff, that they not raise the landing gear until all obstacles are cleared and the airplane's flight path is stabilized.

METEORLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 1635, the weather conditions at the Eagle County Regional Airport (elevation 6,535 feet), Eagle, Colorado, (055 degrees 20 nm from the accident site) were as follows: wind 280 degrees at 14 knots; visibility 10 statue miles (sm); clear of clouds; temperature 72 degrees Fahrenheit; dew point 14 degrees Fahrenheit; altimeter setting 30.21 inches. At 1553, the weather conditions at the Garfield County Regional Airport, Rifle, Colorado (270 degrees 20 nm from the accident site) were as follows: wind 270 degrees at 13 knots gusting to 20 knots; visibility 10 sm; clear of clouds; temperature 75 degrees Fahrenheit; dew point 21 degrees Fahrenheit; altimeter setting 30.14 inches.

The airport manager at Glenwood Springs Municipal Airport said that the weather at the time of the accident was: wind out of the northwest at 6 knots; temperature 73 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit; altimeter setting 30.18 inches of mercury. The density altitude was calculated to be 8,016 feet.

AERODROME INFORMATION

The Glenwood Springs Municipal Airport (elevation 5,916 feet), Glenwood Springs, Colorado, is not serviced by a control tower. The airport is located in a valley floor and the single runway (14-32) is 3,305 feet in length. Wind socks are located at both ends of the runway, and the airport is serviced by a Common Traffic Advisory Frequency 122.8 MHz.

The city of Glenwood Springs has an active ordinance in effect restricting aircraft from using runway 32 if the prevailing wind is 4 knots or less, as measured on the ground at GWS.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane was found in an open grassy field, .54 sm from the departure end of runway 14 (N39 degrees 29.63 minutes, W107 degrees 18.08 minutes; elevation 5,987 feet). The airplane's debris field was on a 120 degree orientation, the airplane's fuselage came to rest on a 240 degree orientation, and the empennage was on a 240 degree orientation.

The first evidence of aircraft debris was found by a 6" by 6" fence post; the fence post had several streaks of transferred blue paint across it. The left aileron and wing leading edge material were found 11 feet down the debris path. Propeller slashes were located at 17 feet, 19 feet, and 20 feet. The remaining left wing, fuselage, cockpit area, and instrument panel were totally consumed by post impact fire. The engine throttle, propeller, and mixture controls were found full forward. The right wing was not burned, and its main fuel tank still contained an undetermined amount of fuel. The 20 gallon auxiliary baggage fuel tank was intact, but empty.

All of the airplane's major components were accounted for at the accident site, and all flight control surfaces were identified. All flight control cable continuity to the cockpit had been compromised by impact damage. The landing gear was found in the up position, the flaps were up, and the horizontal stabilizer trim was found full nose down. The fuel selector was found pointing to the left main fuel tank.

The engine was intact with all of its accessories attached except the fuel pump and the propeller governor. The crankshaft rotated freely, demonstrating internal continuity. Thumb compression was found on all cylinders, the left magneto sparked at all terminals when rotated, and the right magneto would not spark (disassembly proved that its interior was wet). The spark plugs exhibited normal wear. One propeller blade separated from its hub, and the other remained attached. Both blades exhibited chordwise striations, and one blade exhibited "S" twisting.

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

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot by a consultant for Garfield County, Colorado on April 18, 2001.

The FAA's Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI) in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology tests on the pilot. According to CAMI's report (#200100094001), the pilot's blood did not test positive for carbon monoxide or cyanide. Additionally, his urine did not test positive for ethanol (volatiles) or drugs.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

Calculations by the Investigator-In-Charge indicate that the airplane was within weight and balance limits published by the airplane's manufacturer. The calculations indicated that the takeoff was being attempted with a CG near the aft limit. The calculated CG was 84.34 inches, and the published aft limit was 85 inches.

ADDITIONAL DATA

The airplane, including all components and logbooks, was released to a representative of the owner's insurance company on June 6, 2001.

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(c) 2009-2018 Lee C. Baker / Crosswind Software, LLC. For informational purposes only.