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N261FM accident description

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Crash location 28.229167°N, 82.383056°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 Wesley Chapel, FL
28.239730°N, 82.327866°W
3.4 miles away

Tail number N261FM
Accident date 03 Jun 2004
Aircraft type North American T-28B
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On June 3, 2004, about 1210 eastern daylight time, a North American T-28B, N261FM, registered to a private individual, collided with the ground shortly after takeoff from the Tampa North Aero Park, Wesley Chapel, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the 14 CFR Part 91 personal local flight. The airplane was substantially damaged and the commercial-rated pilot, the sole occupant, was fatally injured. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

The pilot was observed by a witness working on the throttle quadrant before departure to clear a previous discrepancy related to the friction device. The airplane was observed to depart from runway 32, and one witness reported that about 6 seconds after take off, "...something relatively small and rather dark fell from the plane." The witness and another individual made a comment about the separating object and noted the airplane was in an "...extreme" bank angle. The witness noted that the airplane was pitched nose down and lost sight of it behind obstructions; he estimated the flight duration was approximately 15 to 20 seconds. Another witness reported that approximately 2-3 seconds after becoming airborne, a "tarp of some kind, I think came out of the back seat." The witness further reported the airplane then went straight up and to the left. He also noted the empennage moved to the left and right very rapidly. He called 911, and the airplane went to the left before disappearing from his view behind obstructions.


The pilot was the holder of a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single and multi-engine land, instrument airplane ratings, issued on October 29, 1986. He was issued a third class medical certificate on June 18, 2002, with the limitation, "Holder shall possess glasses that correct for near vision while exercising the privileges of his/her airman certificate." On the application for his last medical certificate, he listed a total time civilian flight time of 1,333 hours.

A review of the pilot's logbook that contained entries between March 23, 2000, and March, 30, 2004, revealed his total flight time was approximately 1268 hours. Between these dates he logged approximately 64 hours, of which, approximately 56 hours were as pilot-in-command in single-engine airplanes. Within the last 90 days, he logged one flight which occurred on March 30, 2004; the logbook did not indicate whether it was as pilot in command or dual. There were no logged flights in the accident aircraft.


The airplane was manufactured by North American Aviation (North American) as model T-28B, and was designated serial number 137655. It was equipped with a Wright 1820-86B engine rated at 1,425 horsepower. Review of the airplane maintenance records revealed the airplane was last inspected in accordance with a conditional inspection on May 1, 2004. No determination was made as to how many hours the airplane had been operated since the time of the inspection.


A METAR weather observation taken at the Tampa International Airport on the day of the accident at 1153 (approximately 17 minutes before the accident), indicates that the wind was from 230 degrees at 8 knots, few clouds existed at 4,200 feet mean sea level (msl), scattered clouds existed at 25,000 feet msl, the temperature and dew point were 31 and 19 degrees Celsius, respectively, and the altimeter setting was 30.16 inHg. The airport was located 17.2 nautical miles and 032 degrees from the accident site.


The Tampa North Aero Park Airport has a asphalt runway designated 14/32, which is 3,541 feet in length and 50 feet in width. The airport elevation is 68 feet mean sea level.


The NTSB did not examine the accident site or the wreckage. Examination of the accident site, airplane, and engine was performed by personnel from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The airplane crashed in a wooded area behind a residential area; the crash site was located at 28 degrees 13.744 minutes North latitude and 082 degrees 22.980 minutes West longitude, or approximately .322 nautical mile and 314 degrees from the departure end of runway 32.

Examination of the accident site revealed damage to trees of various diameters in decreasing heights; the angle of which was estimated to be approximately 45 degrees. An impact crater measuring 2.5 to 3 feet deep and 5 feet in diameter was noted near where the airplane came to rest.

Examination of the wreckage revealed the engine came to rest approximately 3-5 feet forward of the main wreckage location. The fuselage was separated just aft of the cockpit and was located approximately 5 feet from the main wreckage. The canopy was separated and was found approximately 8 feet from the main wreckage. Examination of the vertical stabilizer revealed a gash from the leading edge aft to the main spar. Examination of the rear canopy revealed the Plexiglas was fractured with orange paint transfer near the fracture surface. The engine cowling left hand side, was noted to be orange in color on the exterior surface for the majority of the cowling. The left cowl was found the furthest from the wreckage while the right cowl was found with the main wreckage and was destroyed. Examination of the engine cowl assembly left hand side revealed the "Hinge, Engine side cowl forward", and a section of cowling at the aft upper end were separated.

Examination of the engine with FAA oversight revealed the front nose case was impact damaged. The crankshaft would turn approximately 1/4 in each direction; no evidence of internal engine failure was noted. The magnetos were removed from the engine, placed on a test bench, and noted to spark at all ignition towers. There was no evidence of oil in the blower unit of the supercharger. The oil pump and oil screens were clean. The carburetor was retained for further examination.

Examination of the departure end of the runway 32 revealed several pieces of Plexiglas as well as a "Hinge, Engine side cowl forward", P/N 199-31544, from the engine cowl assembly left hand side.


A postmortem examination of the pilot was performed by the District 6 Medical Examiner's Office (M.E.'s Office). The cause of death was listed as blunt trauma. The M.E.'s Office also performed toxicological testing of specimens of the pilot. The drug screen results were negative for the immunoassay in chest blood, and TLC Basic. Caffeine was detected in the Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GCMS) screen. The results were also negative for ethanol in the chest blood and vitreous fluid.

Toxicological analysis of specimens of the pilot was also performed by the FAA Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory. Testing for carbon monoxide, and cyanide was not performed. The results was negative for ethanol, while metoprolol was detected in the liver and kidney.


Examination of the carburetor which was performed with FAA oversight revealed that test points 7 through 14 which relate to fuel flow at specified points, were above the rich limits, and test points 17, 18, and 22 were under the lean limit as defined in the manufacturer's calibration limits. All other test points were within specification. The carburetor did not have incorporation of vapor vents bleeds or both vapor vents removed. The teardown did not reveal any damage or deterioration to the diaphragms or worn out parts.


The airplane minus the retained engine and the carburetor was released to the pilot's son, Robert J. Rendzio, on September 13, 2004. The retained engine and carburetor were released to Robert J. Rendzio on January 14, 2005.

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