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N7246F accident description

Massachusetts map... Massachusetts list
Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Beverly, MA
42.558428°N, 70.880049°W
Tail number N7246F
Accident date 21 Dec 1996
Aircraft type Piper PA-28-140
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report


On December 21, 1996, at about 1122 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-28-140, N7246F, owned and operated by the private pilot, collided with terrain shortly after takeoff following a touch and go landing, at the Beverly Municipal Airport, in Beverly, Massachusetts. The pilot, the sole occupant, received fatal injuries, and the airplane was destroyed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for this local flight. The personal flight was conducted under Title 14 CFR Part 91.

A witness stated that the airplane "seemed to fall backwards to the ground". He stated the airplane was in a nose high altitude, about 50 degrees above the horizon. The airplane then seemed to fall off over the left wing and make a slight rotation. He did not hear any sound from the airplane.

According to the Air Traffic Controller, the pilot completed a touch and go, and was climbing when he reported having engine difficulty. The airplane was at approximately 500 feet. After clearing the pilot to land, the airplane began a left turn. After the left turn began, the left wing dipped to "about a 90 degree angle with the ground", and the airplane impacted the ground in a nose down attitude.

A local pilot stated he had flown with the first pilot earlier that year. He indicated that the airspeed indicator was not working properly, and the pilot did not appear to notice the error. Several times, in the opinion of the witness, the airplane got slow, and the witness was forced to lower the nose. Upon landing, the witness found mud in the static port which he removed. He indicated that it was not covering the static port hole, so he was unsure if that was the problem.


The pilot held a private pilot certificate with a single engine land rating. His certificate was issued April 20, 1996. His last medical, a third class, was issued November 17, 1995. It contained the limitation that the pilot must wear corrective lenses in order to exercise the privileges of the airman's certificate.


The engine and aircraft records were examined. The engine had its last annual on June 20, 1996. It had accumulated 99 hours since the last annual. The airframe was inspected the same day. No discrepancies were noted.


According to the representative from Piper Aircraft, no airframe anomalies were noted. Control continuity was established to all flight control surfaces. The fuel system was examined, and continuity was established from the fuel tanks to the carburetor. The engine crankshaft was rotated by hand, and continuity throughout the drive train was confirmed. Thumb compression was verified on all cylinders.

According to the representative from Textron Lycoming, there were 50 gallons of 100 LL aviation fuel in the airplane upon departure. After examining the engine, he stated the impulse coupling did not function when the crankshaft was rotated by hand. After removing the impulse coupling from the engine and placing it on a test machine, it produced a spark to all plug leads. The carburetor was broken by impact just below the mounting flange. The fuel pump produced suction at the inlet port, and contained some cloudy fuel. All spark plugs exhibited moderate wear, except the bottom spark plug in the fourth cylinder which showed severe wear. The propeller blades were both damaged. One blade was twisted at approximately two thirds span and was bent aft. The second blade had heavy gouges in the leading edge.


A toxicological examination was performed by the Federal Aviation Administration on April 28, 1997. It concluded that Pentobarbital was detected in the blood, liver fluid, and muscle fluid, Phenytoin was detected in the blood, liver fluid, and muscle fluid, and Acetaminophen was detected in the blood. Medical personnel stated that these drugs were administered as part of the treatment the pilot received after the accident. No post mortem examination was performed on the pilot.

NTSB Probable Cause

loss of engine power for undetermined reason(s), and failure of the pilot to maintain adequate airspeed, while maneuvering for a forced landing, which resulted in a stall and subsequent in-flight collision with terrain.

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