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N2981J accident description

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Crash location 33.173889°N, 84.033056°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 High Falls, GA
33.175679°N, 84.025468°W
0.5 miles away

Tail number N2981J
Accident date 27 Jan 2004
Aircraft type Cessna 150G
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On January 27, 2004, at 1611 eastern standard time, a Cessna 150G, N2981J, registered to and operated by the private pilot, collided with trees and subsequently the ground while maneuvering over a residence in High Falls, Georgia. The airplane was being 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 pilot was fatally injured and the airplane was substantially damaged. The flight originated from the Fulton South Airport, in Palmetto, Georgia, on January 27, 2004, at 1453.

The pilot had been buzzing the immediate vicinity for at least 30 minutes prior to the accident. He departed Fulton South Airport, where he maneuvered at a low altitude for a significant amount of time. He then buzzed the Berryhill Airport (4A0) in Stockbridge, GA. Numerous 911 calls were received when an unidentified aircraft was seen flying 30 feet above Interstate I-75 in the vicinity of High Falls, Georgia. Park Rangers in the High Falls State Park had been attempting to obtain the registration number for the airplane as it buzzed the dam while flying below tree level. Neighbors in the vicinity of the mishap site reported seeing the pilot wave and heard him yell from the aircraft. They all described numerous steep turns and varying amounts of power on the engine. The pilot had a Garmin handheld GPS 90 with him. The data was downloaded and confirmed the witness accounts. The GPS logged altitudes of 200-400 feet throughout the 1.5-hour flight. The last data points show the aircraft at 49 knots and a heading change of 3 times standard rate. According to the witnesses, while in a steep turn the airplane descended nose down into the trees. Residents telephoned the 911operator to report an airplane accident.


A review of information on file with the Federal Aviation Administration Airman's Certification Division, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, revealed the pilot was issued a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land on March 26, 1998, with a reported 119.0 total pilot time. A review of records on file with the FAA Aero Medical Records revealed the pilot held a third class medical certificate issued on March 13, 1997, with a restriction that he must wear correction lenses. The Pilot was issued an Airframe and Power plant Mechanic Certificate on September 10, 1992, and was issued an Inspection Authorization in December of 1999.


The Cessna 150G, S/N 15065781, was a two seat, single engine, high wing, tricycle fixed landing gear airplane. No aircraft logbooks were recovered for examination.


The nearest weather reporting facility at the time of the accident was Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport, Atlanta, Georgia. The 1026 surface weather observation was: scattered clouds at 3,700 feet AGL, visibility 10 statute miles, temperature 42-degrees Fahrenheit, dew point temperature 34-degrees Fahrenheit, wind 310-degrees at 16 knots, wind gusts at 23 knots, and altimeter 29.94. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident.


The airplane wreckage was located in a wooded area, at the base of a tree on a 040-degree magnetic heading. The airplane was observed on its left side with the right wing separated at the wing root, and the left wing folded aft and crushed. The empennage, left, and right horizontal stabilizers, and the vertical stabilizer were found protruding upwards with no damage noted. One unopened beer can was observed near the main wreckage.

Examination of the flight control cables in the cabin area found that they had been cut by rescue personnel during the removal of the top of the cabin. The top of the cabin was observed pealed back and to the left exposing the entire cabin area. The fuel selector handle was observed to be in the "on" position, clear blue fuel was drained from the left fuel tank. The aircraft had stickers near the fuel filler openings signifying the use of automotive fuel was approved.

Examination of the flaps found them in the retracted position, which was confirmed by the flap actuator position. The trim tab actuator was measured at 1.7 inches representing a 5-degree tab "up" position.

Examination of the engine found that it could be turned by hand and all cylinders produced compression and both magnetos produced spark on the top spark plug leads. The top spark plugs had normal lead deposits and were severely worn when compared to a Champion spark plug chart. The spark plugs were corroded and their type was not identifiable.

Examination of the propeller found one propeller tip with chord wise scratching and bent aft. The remaining blade was bent forward approximately 120-degrees and displayed chord wise scratching. The engine was mounted on a test stand, and the carburetor and induction system were changed out due to damage.The engine ran for a few seconds with no discrepancies noted.


The Division of Forensic Sciences Georgia Bureau of Investigation State of Georgia, conducted a post mortem examination of the pilot. The reported cause of death was listed as "Blunt trauma of torso" and the manor of death was report as an "accident". On March 23, 2004, the Federal Aviation Administration Toxicology Research Laboratory in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, conducted a Toxicology examination of the pilot. The examination revealed no Carbon Monoxide or Cyanide were detected in the blood. However, Ethanol and Acetaldehyde were detected in the blood and brain, and Ethanol was detected in the Vitreous.


The airplane wreckage was released to the General Manager, Atlanta Air Recovery on January 29, 2004.

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