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N3292C accident description

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Crash location 36.151389°N, 81.615278°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 Blowing Rock, NC
36.140962°N, 81.678439°W
3.6 miles away

Tail number N3292C
Accident date 08 Apr 2002
Aircraft type Beech E35
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On April 8, 2002, at 1115 eastern daylight time, a Beech E35, N3292C, registered to and owned by the private pilot, collided with mountainous terrain and caught fire near Blowing Rock, North Carolina. The personal flight was operated under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91 with no flight plan filed. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed. The pilot received fatal injuries, and the airplane was destroyed. The flight departed Hickory Regional Airport, Hickory, North Carolina, at 1057 on April 8, 2002.

According to the North Carolina Highway Patrol, witnesses in the vicinity of the accident site reported hearing the airplane flying in a valley between two mountain ridges. Witnesses also reported low clouds and rainy weather conditions in the area at the time of the accident. The wreckage was located in a wooded area at the 3,600-foot level of a mountain ridge.


The pilot held a private pilot certificate for airplane single-engine land issued on April 8, 1993. The pilot held a third class medical certificate issued on July 24, 2001, with the limitation "holder shall possess glasses for near and intermediate vision." The pilot's logbook was not recovered for examination. According to Federal Aviation Administration records, the pilot reported 2,000 total civilian flight hours on his application for the third class medical certificate.


The airplane was a Beech E35, serial number D-3959, manufactured in 1954. It was a fixed-wing single-engine airplane powered by a Continental E-225-8, 225 horsepower, reciprocating engine. The maintenance logbooks for the airframe, engine, and propeller were not recovered for examination.


The Watauga County Hospital Heliport weather observation station, located within one mile of the Boone, Inc., Airport, and 3.4 nautical miles northwest of the accident site, reported at 1102 winds from 250 degrees magnetic at 4 knots, temperature 8 degrees Celsius, dew point 7 degrees Celsius, sky conditions overcast at 300 feet above ground level, visibility 2.5 statute miles with mist, and altimeter setting 30.34 inches. The station issued ten weather observations between 0802 and 1102 at approximately 20-minute intervals. The highest reported visibility during that time frame was 3 statute miles, and the highest reported ceiling was 500 feet. The elevation at the weather reporting station is 3,200 feet.


The wreckage was located three nautical miles southeast of the Boone, Inc., Airport in Boone, North Carolina. Wreckage debris was scattered approximately 150 feet along a 360-degree magnetic heading from a group of trees freshly broken at similar heights. The outboard left wing displayed leading edge crush damage and was found separated on the ground. Portions of the right outboard wing were found separated and lodged in a tree, and the ruddervator assembly was found separated and lodged in a tree. The fuselage with the cockpit and cabin displayed fire damage with portions consumed by fire. No evidence of pre-impact malfunction of the airframe was observed.

The engine was found separated from the airframe and resting inverted approximately 150 feet north of the first broken tree. One propeller blade was found attached to the propeller hub. The separated blade was found north of the freshly broken trees, and the blade displayed deformation, chordwise scratches, areas of missing paint from the aft side of the blade, and damage to the blade tip. Severed tree branches and a damaged tree trunk were found that displayed linear chop-type features.

Examination of the engine revealed impact damage to the front and the bottom of the crankcase. The intake tubes for the No. 2, 4, 5, and 6 cylinders were not located. The exhaust runners were found crushed and the plenum chamber was not located. The oil cooler and the oil sump displayed impact damage, and the sump drain was not located. No evidence of pre-impact malfunction of the engine was observed.


Autopsy was performed on the pilot by the State of North Carolina, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on April 9, 2002. The cause of death was reported as, "multiple trauma secondary to airplane crash."

Forensic toxicology was performed on specimens from the pilot by the Federal Aviation Administration Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The report stated no ethanol was detected in the heart, no ethanol was detected in the kidney, and no drugs were detected in the kidney. Forensic toxicology was also performed by the State of North Carolina, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The report stated no ethanol was detected in the blood, and less than 5 percent carbon monoxide was detected in the blood.


The wreckage was released to the owner's insurance representative from Vogler Adjusters, Inc., of Clemmons, North Carolina, for recovery on April 10, 2002.

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