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N1645H accident description

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Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Vicksburg, MS
32.352646°N, 90.877882°W

Tail number N1645H
Accident date 08 Feb 1994
Aircraft type Piper PA-32R-300
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On February 8, 1994, about 2235 central standard time, a Piper PA-32R-300, N1645H, registered to Richard Cowart, Inc., crashed while on final approach at the Vicksburg Municipal Airport, Vicksburg, Mississippi, while on a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the flight. The airplane was substantially damaged and the private-rated pilot was seriously injured. A pilot-rated passenger was fatally injured. The flight originated about 2120 from the Tupelo- Municipal-C.D. Lemons Airport, Tupelo, Mississippi.

According to a mechanic who works at the Vicksburg Municipal Airport, the accident pilot phoned him on the day of the accident from Tupelo, Mississippi, about 1500 local time and asked if he had an alternator in stock. The pilot stated that the alternator was "out." He advised the pilot that he didn't have one available but provided the names of several facilities that might have an alternator in stock. An alternator was located at a facility located in Memphis, Tennessee. The pilot was flown in another airplane to Memphis, picked up the alternator, and returned to the Tupelo airport with the overhauled alternator. An FAA certificated mechanic installed the rebuilt alternator but determined that the electrical system was still malfunctioning. The pilot advised the mechanic to disconnect and secure the electrical wires which was accomplished.

The pilot stated that the flight departed about 2120 from the Tupelo airport to the Vicksburg Municipal Airport, and while on a straight in approach to runway 19, the last thing he recalls was checking that the landing gear down and locked lights were illuminated. The airplane collided with trees short of the runway and came to rest upright. According to fire rescue personnel who responded to the accident site, a flashlight which was "on" was located on the floor on the pilot's side of the cockpit. Additionally, the radio and instrument panel lights were on.


Information pertaining to the first pilot is contained in the NTSB Factual Report-Aviation. Information pertaining to the pilot-rated passenger is contained in the NTSB Form 6120.4 Supplement E.


Information pertaining to the airplane is contained in the NTSB Factual Report-Aviation, and Supplements A and B. Additionally, the alternator was physically installed on the engine assembly but the electrical connections were not secured to the alternator.


Information pertaining to the weather is contained in the NTSB Factual Report-Aviation. Additionally a NTSB computer program determined that about the time of the accident, the percent illumination of the moon was 2 percent.


The airport facility directory states that there are trees at the approach end of the runway and because of this, the threshold is displaced 200 feet. The runway end identifier lights are also listed as being out of service indefinitely. A visual approach slope indicator is not installed and the airport is not certificated under 14 CFR Part 139.


Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane first collided with the tops of about 60-foot-tall trees, 2,378 feet north of the displaced threshold of runway 19. The airplane then began to descend and impacted the ground about 270 feet from the first tree impact. The airplane came to rest upright on a heading of about 220 degrees magnetic with the leading edges of both wings damaged by trees. Examination of the flight controls revealed no evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction. Examination of the engine revealed no evidence of preimpact mechanical failure or malfunction. The day after the accident battery power was available. Examination of the landing light bulb revealed that the filament was not stretched but was broken.

The right wing navigation bulb filament was examined and found to be slightly stretched. The left wing navigation light bulb was not located. The position light on the vertical stabilizer was examined and the filament was not stretched. According to fire rescue personnel, the battery, alternator, fuel pump, anti- collision, and position light switches were on upon arrival at the accident site but were turned off. The landing light and pitot heat switches which were not moved were in the "on" position. Additionally the magneto switch was turned off.


A postmortem examination was conducted on the passenger by Emily W. Ward, M.D., State Medical Examiner. The cause of death was listed as multiple blunt force injuries associated with airplane crash. Toxicological testing was not performed on blood samples taken from the pilot.

Toxicological testing was performed on specimens of the passenger by the Mississippi Crime Laboratory (MCL) and the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP). The MCL analysis was negative for ethanol, and listed drugs. The results were positive for caffeine and lidocaine which was detected in the blood and spinal fluid. The AFIP analysis was negative for ethanol, cyanide, carbon monoxide, and screened drugs. Lidocaine 2 mg/L was detected in the blood.


The wreckage was released to Mr. Jimmy Rickerson of Aeronautical Investigations, Inc., on March 24, 1994.

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