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N21724 accident description

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Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Cartersville, GA
34.165097°N, 84.799938°W

Tail number N21724
Accident date 16 Feb 1999
Aircraft type Piper PA-32RT-300
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On February 16, 1999, at 1515 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-32RT-300, N21724, collided with trees and subsequently the ground during cruise flight in Cartersville, Georgia. The airplane was operated by the pilot 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 pleasure flight. The private pilot and sole occupant sustained fatal injuries and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane had departed McCullum Airport in Marietta, Georgia, at 1430.

According to a witness, the airplane was observed flying "very low" towards the Cartersville Airport. She stated that she heard the engine quit, and observed the airplane nose down and crash into the trees. Witnesses at the Cartersville Airport stated that the accident aircraft never contacted them on their Unicom frequency.

National Track Analysis Program (NTAP) Data provided by the FAA indicated that N21724, departed the Rome area VFR traveling towards the Cartersville Airport. The aircraft was tracked to a point six miles from the accident site at which point radar was lost. No other data was available, and no communications were recorded, following the departure from McCullum Airport and prior to the accident.


The certificated private pilot had both single and multi-engine land ratings. The pilot reported having 1,000 hours total flight time at his last medical examination. The pilot's most recent third class medical was issued on June 20, 1997. Additional pilot information may be obtained in this report on page 2 and 3 under the section titled Owner/Operator and First Pilot Information.


The Piper Lance II, a PA-23RT-300, was a six-(6) seat, single engine airplane, and was registered to the pilot. On January 4, 1999, the aircraft received an annual inspection by DLK Aviation, Inc., in Kennesaw, Georgia. DLK Aviation reported that at the time of the annual inspection the tachometer read 2731.02 hours, the hour meter read 1462.9 hours, and the airframe total time was 3085.94. The engine total time was 3085.94 hours and had accumulated 1256.34 hours since major overhaul. The engine was last overhauled on April 23, 1987.

According to Northside Aviation at the McCullum Airport, the pilot tied down his airplane at their facility. Company personnel reported seeing the pilot arrive at the airport at about 1330 EST and departed in the airplane at about 1430 EST. Northside Aviation personnel reported that they had last refueled the aircraft on January 26, 1999.


Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. Additional meteorological information may be obtained in this report on page four (4) under the section title Weather Information.


The airplane impacted into a wooded field near a residential subdivision about 1.6 miles northeast of the Cartersville Airport in Cartersville, Georgia. Global Position System Coordinates (GPS) N34 degrees 08.22 and W084 degrees 49.5. The impact destroyed the aircraft scattering debris for about 700 feet on a southeast heading of 120 degrees. Several large diameter trees were broken and components of the aircraft were hanging in branches of surrounding trees. Residents adjacent to the field reported smelling a strong odor of fuel shortly after the crash.

The engine was found separated from the airplane and had sustained extensive impact damage. Most accessories had separated from the engine and were destroyed. The dual magneto assembly had separated from the engine and was never located.

The wreckage was recovered and transported to the facilities of Atlanta Air Salvage in Griffin, Georgia for further examination. The flight control system was examined and no pre-impact failures were identified. The electric fuel pump was recovered and examined. Clean, bright blue colored fluid was found in the pump. The pump motor was connected to a 12-volt power source and was found to function.

The forward cockpit and instrument panel were destroyed by impact. The flight and engine instruments separated from the panel and were destroyed. All flight controls were separated from the fuselage and destroyed.

The fuselage section was destroyed by impact and fragmented pieces were found scattered along the debris field. All six seats had separated from the floorboard. The roof section and both wings were destroyed. Sections of the ailerons and flaps were found in the debris field attached to sections of the wing trailing edges. Pieces of fuel tanks were found fragmented along the debris field. The landing gear was found separated from the wings. The empennage and a portion of the tail section came to rest against a tree. The right and left horizontal stabilizer along with the rudder assembly separated from the tail section and were found in the debris field.


The Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Division of Forensic Sciences, conducted a post mortem examination of the pilot, on February 17, 1999; a toxicology examination of the pilot was conducted by the FAA Toxicology Research Laboratory. The examination revealed ethanol in the tissue, however, the ethanol found in this case was potentially from postmortem ethanol formation and not from the ingestion of ethanol, according to the laboratory. Additionally, test for carbon monoxide, cyanide, and drugs were not performed due to a lack of suitable specimens.


Examination of the engine following its recovery from the accident site found that it could not be inspected for rotation and continuity. The front of the engine case was broken open with pieces missing. All rocker box covers were impacted into the rocker arms. During the teardown inspection there were no discrepancies found that indicated pre-impact problems with the engine. All accessories had separated from the engine, and all incurred impact damage.


The wreckage was released to the owner's representative Chad Rundell, Universal Loss Management, 9101 Aviation Blvd. Suite 211, Concord, NC 29027.

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