Plane crash map Locate crash sites, wreckage and more

N96389 accident description

Maine map... Maine list
Crash location 44.055833°N, 70.646389°W
Nearest city Harrison, ME
44.102293°N, 70.634783°W
3.3 miles away
Tail number N96389
Accident date 14 Aug 2010
Aircraft type Taylorcraft BC12-D
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report


On August 14, 2010, about 1007 eastern daylight time, a Taylorcraft BC12-D, N96389, registered to a private individual, collided with trees then terrain near Harrison, Maine. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal flight. The airplane sustained substantial damage, and the private certificated pilot and pilot-rated passenger were killed. The flight originated about 0944, from Maple Ridge Airport, Harrison, Maine.

A mechanic who had performed the last annual inspection saw the accident pilot earlier that day take the airplane out of the hangar at Limington Harmon Airport, and noted that the main fuel tank indicator wire was all the way down (indicating a low quantity of fuel). The mechanic mentioned that to the pilot who responded, "it sink's and that he knew how much fuel he had."

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector-in-charge (IIC), the accident pilot departed Limington Harmon Airport (63B) about 0830, and flew to Maple Ridge Airport (03ME), where one passenger boarded the airplane for an intended 2 hour flight. The flight departed 03ME and remained in the traffic pattern for 1 landing then departed the traffic pattern flying over Long Lake. A witness who is a Harbor Master pilot saw the airplane flying in a northerly direction when he heard a "pop" sound, followed by engine silence. The witness reported the airplane turned east then went out of sight. Two additional witnesses reported seeing the airplane flying in a northerly direction then heard sputtering sounds, following by engine silence. These witnesses also reported seeing the airplane turning to the east then losing sight of it. One witness who was with a group of people reported hearing a "loud bang from the motor and then we heard silence." He reported that they watched the airplane which did not appear to be descending. The airplane headed towards a nearby highway then it disappeared from their view.

At approximately 2000 hours on August 14, 2010, Portland Air Traffic Control Tower was contacted reporting that the airplane was overdue. A search was initiated by personnel from the Civil Air Patrol, a state agency, and local law enforcement. The wreckage was located about 0600 on August 15, 2010.


The left seat occupant, age 68, held a private pilot certificate with airplane single engine land and sea ratings, last issued September 11, 1982. His latest application for a third-class medical certificate dated August 19, 2008, was deferred by the Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Aerospace Medical Certification Division, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, who denied it and sent a denial letter to him.

The right seat occupant, age 73, held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single engine land and sea, and instrument airplane ratings issued March 21, 1973, and his latest third class medical certificate was issued September 26, 2003.


The airplane was manufactured in 1946 by Taylorcraft Corporation as model BC12-D, under Civil Air Regulation 4A, and was designated serial number 8689. It was powered by a 65-horsepower Continental A65-8 engine and equipped with a fixed pitch propeller. The airplane's fuel system consisted of a main fuel tank located inside the cabin area behind the firewall, and a 6.0 gallon fuel tank installed in the right wing. The right wing fuel tank was not plumbed into the airplane's fuel supply system and was not operational on the day of the accident. Fuel from the main fuel tank gravity feeds to the fuel strainer, and then to the carburetor.

Review of the maintenance records revealed the airplane was last inspected in accordance with an annual inspection on September 3, 2009. The airplane total time at the time of the accident was approximately 2,064 hours, and it had been operated approximately 9.0 hours since the last annual inspection. The engine was last overhauled on October 2, 1986; it had accumulated approximately 221 hours since overhaul at the time of the accident.


A surface observation weather report taken at Eastern Slopes Regional Airport (IZG), at 0954, or approximately 13 minutes before the accident indicates the wind was calm, clear skies existed, and the visibility was 10 miles. The temperature and dew point were 23 and 14 degrees Celsius respectively, and the altimeter setting was 30.16 inches of Mercury. The accident site was located approximately 14 nautical miles and 074 degrees from IZG.


Examination of the accident site by a FAA inspector revealed the airplane crashed in a wooded area adjacent to a small open field. The airplane came to rest with the nose contacting the ground and the empennage was elevated nearly vertical. The airplane was facing nose down to a stone wall next to a large tree. Further examination of the area surrounding the main wreckage revealed the aircraft contacted several tree tops, descended and contacted a large tree with the right wing approximately 30-40 feet up, descended vertically down and impacted a stone wall. Green colored glass lens associated with the right navigation light and broken tree limbs were noted an estimated 30 to 40 yards north of the actual crash site. The magnetic orientation from the lens and limbs to the main wreckage was approximately 185 degrees. No fuel smell noted throughout the wreckage site area.

Examination of the airplane revealed the left wing remained attached but it had a large crease about midspan and the outer portion was displaced down. The right wing was separated at the wing root, and was folder over the top of the fuselage and then folded again over itself. Elevator and rudder flight control continuity was confirmed. Impact damage precluded determination of aileron flight control continuity. Examination of the cockpit revealed the carburetor heat was off, the throttle was full forward, and the cabin heat control was off. A hand-held (portable) global positioning system (GPS) receiver which was located in the wreckage was retained for further examination.

Inspection of the right wing fuel tank revealed it was breached; however, as previously reported it was not plumbed into the airplane's fuel supply system to deliver fuel to the engine. The right wing tank shut-off valve was in the "off" position. No fuel was found in the main fuel tank which was not breached by either visual inspection or pressure testing. The main fuel tank shut off valve was in the "on" position. The main fuel tank quantity wire indicator was float checked in a bucket of water and was found to float properly and slide up and down in the tank cap. Inspection of the cork float at the end of the wire revealed the exterior surface was shiny consistent with an application of a sealing compound. Activation of the fuel primer which obtains fuel from the fuel strainer revealed no fuel was sprayed from the nozzle. Inspection of the carburetor bowl revealed it contained approximately 1/4 inch of blue colored fuel consistent with 100 low lead. No fracture or separation of any fuel lines was noted. A total of approximately 4 ounces of fuel were drained from the entire fuel supply system including the main fuel tank, fuel lines, fuel strainer, and carburetor.

Examination of the engine revealed crankshaft, camshaft, and valve train continuity. The left magneto remained attached, but the right magneto was broken away from the accessory case at the mounting flange. Hand rotation of the crankshaft revealed spark at the ignition leads for the left magneto. All spark plugs exhibited normal wear and all except the No. 2 bottom exhibited normal color indicative of proper fuel to air ratio. The No. 2 cylinder lower plug was coated with oil resulting from the resting position of the engine. Inspection of the carburetor revealed the inlet screen had a little above normal debris, but operational testing of the float revealed no restrictions or discrepancies. The oil sump dipstick level indicated 3 quarts.

Examination of the propeller revealed one blade was bent aft approximately 20 degrees while the other blade did not exhibit any damage.


Postmortem examinations of the pilot and passenger were performed by the State of Maine Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The cause of death for both was listed as "Multiple Blunt Force Trauma."

Forensic toxicology was performed on specimens of the pilot and passenger by the FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The toxicology report stated the results for the pilot was negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, and volatiles. An unquantified amount of Labetalol was detected in the submitted urine specimen, though Labetalol was not detected in the submitted blood specimen. Additionally, 605 mg/dl glucose was detected in the submitted urine specimen though it was not detected in vitreous fluid. The toxicology report stated the results for the passenger was negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, volatiles, and tested drugs.


Review of 14 CFR Part 61.3 indicates that no person may serve as a required pilot flight crewmember of a civil aircraft of the United States, unless that person in part holds the appropriate medical certificate issued under part 67 of this chapter, or other documentation acceptable to the FAA, that is in that person's physical possession or readily accessible in the aircraft.

The Vehicle Recorders Division of the National Transportation Safety Board located in Washington, D.C., downloaded recorded data from the Garmin GPSMAP 495 portable GPS receiver; however, the last recorded flight was in October 2009.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's improper fuel management, which resulted in a total loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion.

© 2009-2020 Lee C. Baker / Crosswind Software, LLC. For informational purposes only.