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N51FG accident description

Michigan map... Michigan list
Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Ypsilanti, MI
42.213373°N, 83.598549°W
Tail number N51FG
Accident date 08 Jun 1993
Aircraft type Beech E18S
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report


On June 8, 1993, at 0502 eastern daylight time, a Beech E18S, N51FG, operated by Active Aero Charter, Inc., of Belleville, Michigan, and flown by an instrument rated commercial pilot, impacted the terrain after takeoff from runway 23L (7,526' X 150' dry/asphalt) at Willow Run Airport, Ypsilanti, Michigan. The airplane was destroyed during the impact and post accident fire. The pilot sustained fatal injuries. The on-demand air taxi flight was being conducted under provisions of 14 CFR Part 135. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The flight was originating at the time of the accident with an intended destination of Louisville, Kentucky.

The purpose of the flight was to transport 89 pounds of freight from Ypsilanti, Michigan, to Louisville, Kentucky. This was the first revenue flight to be flown by this particular pilot for this operator. The pilot first began training with Active Aero Charter, Inc., on May 4, 1993, and his training was completed on June 6, 1993, when he met the company requirements for Captain on the BE8T (Beech E18S).

A witness stated that he heard the airplane, looked out the front window of a building, located about one-quarter mile southwest of the impact site, and observed the "faint outline" of an airplane hit the ground. He stated that there were no indications of an engine fire or engine trouble, and went on to state that it sounded line the pilot was "on the throttles." He observed a fire on impact and a trial of fire "possibly 200 feet long," along the impact trail.


The pilot, born July 8, 1967, was the holder of a commercial pilot certificate, number 194580025, with privileges for single and multi-engine airplanes along with an instrument rating for airplanes. He also held a flight instructor's certificate for single engine airplanes. He held a second class medical certificate issued on November 11, 1992, with no limitations. His most recent equivalent of a biennial flight review was in the same type of airplane as the accident airplane on June 6, 1993. He had a total pilot time of 1,700 hours with 1,315 hours multi-engine and 27 hours as pilot-in-command, in the same type of airplane as the accident airplane. The pilot had flown the accident airplane eight times prior to the accident flight.


The airplane was a Beech E18S, serial number BA-324, which had been converted to tricycle gear and Pratt and Whitney PT-6 series turbo-propeller engines. The airframe had accumulated a total of 11,916 hours at the time of the accident. The left engine had accumulated 6,177 hours with 3,060 hours since overhaul. The right engine had accumulated 4,408 hours total time. The last inspection was accomplished on May 13, 1993, and the airplane had accumulated 67 hours since that inspection.


A transcript of the conversation between the pilot of the accident airplane and the Federal Aviation Administration, Air Traffic Control Tower controller, at Willow Run Airport, Ypsilanti, Michigan, is attached to this report. There was no indication in the transcript of any difficulty experienced by the pilot.


The accident site was located on Willow Run Airport, Ypsilanti, Michigan. The initial impact marks were just east of the east edge of taxiway "S" approximately 100 yards north of the southerly end of that taxiway. The initial ground scar was on a heading of 110 degrees magnetic and started with a 36 foot long gouge which began with parts identified as belonging to the left wingtip. At the termination of the initial gouge were two craters, one four feet wide, by six feet in length, by two feet deep; and the second four feet long, by eight feet in width, by two feet deep. A scorched area extended from just east of the second crater for 275 feet spreading out in a fan shaped area. The primary wreckage was located 282 feet from the initial impact point on a heading of approximately 360 degrees magnetic. All major portions of the airplane were found in the debris trial. No parts were found outside the impact area or fan shaped area from the impact point.

Both propellers were located in the debris trail and had separated from their respective engines. The individual blades were bent, twisted, had nicks, gouges, and scratches on the leading edges, faces and cambered sides.

Both engines were found away from the main wreckage. They were examined on the site and were found to have been broken open. Both the compressor and turbine sections showed evidence of rotor blade bending opposite direction of rotation, and stator blade bending in direction of rotation.

Control cable continuity throughout the airframe was verified. Control continuity to the engines was not possible because the controls were separated as were the engines and accessories, from the airframe.

The smell of jet fuel was strong in the area of the wreckage; however, no specific fuel was found in the wreckage area.

The attitude indicator (instrument) from the left side of the cockpit was located. It was found away from the area of intense fire. The instrument case was broken open, but was accounted for with the exception of the front glass. The attitude depicted by the instrument was near wings level and approximately 20 degrees nosedown. The instrument was found fixed in that position.

The on/off flag was found to be in a position which correlated to being "on", i.e., retracted into the side of the case; however, on close inspection it was found that the flag was held in this position by a small defect in the bezel. The flag moved freely after the defect was cleared. The defect could not be associated with the accident. The attitude bar or "wings" located in the bezel was scorched from heat; however, the on/off flag, in the same bezel did not have this scorching.

An examination of the rotor which powered the attitude gyro revealed that the rear bearing had released from the case. Hard metal cooling fan blades were mounted on the end of the rotor where it released from the case; however, the adjacent soft metal housing did not display any rotational damage.

The attitude indicator was electrically powered and was switched on and off by a remote switch on the lower left side of the instrument panel. The switch was not identified in the wreckage due to the intense fire destruction of that area of the airplane.

In the fleet of airplanes operated by Active Aero Charter, Inc., this was the only airplane equipped with an independent switch to operate the primary attitude indicator. All other installations were automatically energized either when the master switch was turned on or when vacuum/pressure was applied to the instrument.


The post mortem examination of the pilot was performed by the Wayne County, Michigan Coroner of Detroit, Michigan. Repeated attempts by the NTSB and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to obtain copies of the report proved negative. At one time the FAA was refused a copy of the report. During the most recent contact, administrative personnel reported that the report was not available and had been "lost." The medical examiners and their staff refused to discuss their recollection of the post mortem examination of the pilot. A toxicology examination of specimens from the pilot were negative.


A post accident fire consumed much of the wreckage. According to Active Aero Charter, Inc. records, the airplane was loaded with 2,859 pounds of Jet-A fuel at the time of engine start-up. The ignition source of the fire was not determined.


Parties to the investigation were the Federal Aviation Administration, Flight Standards District Office, Belleville, Michigan, and Beech Aircraft, Wichita, Kansas.

The wreckage was released to a representative of the owner on June 9, 1993.

NTSB Probable Cause


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