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N1479Y accident description

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Crash location 34.375556°N, 84.385555°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 Ball Ground, GA
34.338149°N, 84.376591°W
2.6 miles away

Tail number N1479Y
Accident date 23 May 2002
Aircraft type Cessna 172C
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On May 23, 2002, at 1853 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172C, N1479Y, registered to and operated by the certificated flight instructor, collided with trees following a loss of control in-flight in Ball Ground, Georgia. 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 for the local flight. The certificated flight instructor, student pilot, and the passenger received fatal injuries, and the airplane was destroyed. The local flight originated from the Pickens County Airport in Jasper, Georgia, at 1800 on May 23, 2002.

The purpose of the flight was an introductory flight lesson for the passenger in the left front seat. A witness who lived near the site of the accident stated that her attention was drawn to the airplane due to the sudden reduction in engine sound. She then heard the sound increase rapidly, followed by an impact and explosion. The witness stated that she telephoned 911, then went to the scene to see if she could help. The accident was in an area where airplanes frequently practice maneuvers.


A review of information on file with the FAA Airman's Certification Division, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, revealed the pilot was issued a commercial pilot certificate on May 15, 1999, with ratings for airplane single engine land, and instrument airplane, and on August 4, 2000, he was issued a Flight Instructor Certificate for airplane single engine land and instrument airplane. A review of the pilot's logbook revealed his last recorded flight and biannual flight review was conducted on August 4, 2000. A review of the pilot's logbook revealed the pilot had recorded a total time of 1042 hours with 1.4 hours of actual instrument and 78.1 hours of simulated instrument time. Additionally, the pilot had logged 115.1 dual time and less then 10 hours had been flown in the last 30 days. A review of records on file with the FAA Aeromedical Certification Division revealed the pilot held a second class medical certificate issued on May 25, 2001. The pilot reported he had accumulated 1200 total hours.


A review of airplane maintenance records revealed the last recorded 100 hour inspection was completed on January 5, 2002, at 3,579 hours. The airplane had accumulated 42 hours since the 100 hour inspection. The annual inspection was also accomplished on the same date. The airplane was last refueled on May 22, 2002, at the end of the day and was topped off with seven gallons of 100LL.


The nearest weather reporting facility at the time of the accident was Peachtree/Dekalb Airport, Georgia. The 1853 surface weather observation was: clear sky, visibility 10 statute miles, temperature 24-degrees Celsius, dew point temperature 5-degrees Celsius, wind calm, and altimeter 30.14" Hg.


Examination of the wreckage path, approximately 330-feet long, found that the airplane had come to rest along its flight path of 201-degrees magnetic in a heavily wooded area. There were several freshly broken trees along the wreckage path. There was no fuel smell evident during the on-site examination. However, several areas along the wreckage path displayed evidence of exfoliated vegetation, and one area displayed evidence of sooting similar to that found following a flash-fire.

Examination of the wreckage on-scene found plexi-glass, both wing tips and numerous paint flakes just prior to and surrounding the beginning of the wreckage path. All flight control surfaces were accounted for at the crash site. Both wings were suspended in a tree adjacent to the main wreckage. Flight control cables were all identified and were broken in several locations. All flight controls and major airframe components were accounted for at the crash site, with evidence of tree impact and ground impact damage observed on all flight control surfaces with the left wing sustaining more damage than the right wing. The fuel selector handle was found in the "Both" position. The empennage, horizontal stabilizers and vertical stabilizer were located and identified during the on-site examination.

The airplane was recovered from the accident site on May 24, 2002, and transported to Atlanta Air Recovery, in Griffin, Georgia for further examination. On May 25, 2002, the airplane was laid out. The examination confirmed that all of the major components of the airframe had been recovered and identified.

Examination of the engine found it to be a Textron Lycoming O-300 reciprocating engine. As observed the engine was separated from the airframe. The # 1 and # 3 cylinder heads were separated from the engine with the # 5 cylinder head severely damaged but attached. The three remaining cylinders produced suction when the engine was rotated by hand. Drive train continuity was established from the crankshaft through the accessory section. The left magneto was separated from the engine and damaged by impact. The right magneto produced ignition spark on all ignition leads when turned by hand. Oil was observed dripping from the engine throughout the recovery and during the examination. "S" bending was noted on propeller blade "A" while propeller "B" was straight. Examination on-scene found several 45-degree cuts in downed tree branches.


The Cherokee County Coroners Office in Canton, Georgia, conducted a postmortem examination of the pilot on May 25, 2002. The cause of death was listed as "Generalized trauma due to airplane crash". 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 wreckage was released to Atlanta Air Recovery, Griffin, Georgia.

The student pilot reportedly seated in one of the rear cabin seats, suffered from an epileptic seizure condition. However, the student pilot's parents stated that their son was not on medication and had taken seven flight lessons prior to having his first seizure one week prior to the accident.

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