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N35255 accident description

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Crash location 35.566667°N, 83.490555°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 Cherokee, NC
35.474266°N, 83.314874°W
11.8 miles away

Tail number N35255
Accident date 27 Mar 2003
Aircraft type Cessna 172R
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On March 27, 2003, at 2035 eastern standard time, a Cessna 172R, N35255, registered to JC Flight Incorporated and operated by a private pilot, collided with mountainous terrain in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, near Cherokee, North Carolina. The personal flight was operated under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91 with a visual flight plan filed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The airplane was destroyed and the pilot was fatally injured. The flight departed Columbia Metropolitan Airport, Columbia, South Carolina, at 1909.

The pilot was receiving flight following from the Knoxville Downtown Airport Tower. The pilot requested the Automated Weather Observing System frequency and started his descent to the Knoxville Downtown Airport. At 2035, radio and radar contact was lost. At 2042, the airplane's emergency locator transmitter emergency signal was heard over the emergency frequency. Local authorities initiated a search for the missing airplane, and the downed airplane was located on March 28, 2003, at 1000.


The pilot was issued a private pilot certificate on July 16, 2000, with ratings for airplane single engine land. Review of records revealed the pilot held a third-class medical certificate issued on May 9, 2001, with no restrictions. Review of the pilot logs revealed that the private pilot accumulated a total of 245 flight hours.


The last recorded annual inspection was conducted on September 17, 2002; the total tachometer time was 1008.3. The altimeter system, static pressure system, and transponder were inspected on March 19, 2003.


The 1953 weather observation for Knoxville, Mc Ghee Tyson Airport, reported, wind 150 at 8 knots, visibility 10 statue miles, few clouds at 9,000, temperature 19, dew point 9, altimeter 29.89 inches.


Examination of the wreckage site revealed the airplane was located one mile north east of Cling man Dome at an elevation of 6400 feet. Examination of the wreckage site revealed that the airplane was located in a heavily wooded area. The airplane wreckage path extended approximately 75 yards down a mountain ridge. All flight control surfaces were located at the wreckage site. There were freshly broken trees throughout the wreckage path.

Examination of the left wing assembly revealed it was broken and buckled. The wing assembly was separated from the fuselage at the carry-through spar assembly. The aileron and flap assemblies were still attached to the structure of the left wing. Flight control cables for the left wing were frayed at the separation points and traced to the cockpit flight controls. Examination of the cockpit section of the fuselage revealed it displayed heavy crush damage. The rear section of the fuselage was fragmented and buckled throughout the aft section. Examination of the right wing assembly revealed it was broken and buckled. The right wing assembly was separated at the carry-through assembly, and revealed that it was broken and buckled. Flight control cables were for right wing were frayed at the separation points and traced to cockpit flight controls. The aileron was separated from the right wing and buckled. The flap assembly was partially attached to the remainder of the inboard section of the right wing assembly and broken. Examination of the horizontal stabilizer revealed leading edge crush damage on the left and right side of the stabilizer. The stabilizer exhibited fragmentation on the left and right sides. The right elevator was buckled and curled upwards. The left elevator was separated from the stabilizer and fragmented. Examination of the vertical stabilizer revealed crush damage on the leading edge. The rudder was attached to vertical stabilizer and buckled. Flight control cables were separated and traced to the flight controls in the cockpit. All flight instruments were damaged. The airframe examination revealed no evidence of mechanical deficiencies.

Examination of the engine revealed, the crankshaft of the engine was rotated and continuity of the crankshaft, camshaft, valve train, and accessory drives were established. Each cylinder produced compression when the crankshaft was rotated. The engine was test run and operated normally. The engine attained 2100 static rpm. The magneto were equal, approximately 100 rpm at 1700 rpm. Idle was smooth at 650 rpm, and oil pressure indications were normal. The engine examination revealed no evidence of any mechanical deficiencies.


The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Chapel Hill, North Carolina performed the pathological diagnoses of the pilot on March 29, 2003 at 1100. The reported cause of death was "blunt force trauma". The Forensic Toxicology Research Section, Federal Aviation Administration, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma performed postmortem toxicology of specimens from the pilot. The results toxicological examinations were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, and ethanol.


The wreckage of N35255 was released to Phoenix Aviation on January 14, 2004.

Review of the Knoxville Flight Training Center videotape rental log revealed the pilot rented videotape on March 26, 2003 for the operation of the GPS/ Autopilot for aircraft N35255. The pilot received .8 hours of flight instruction, and .3 hours of ground instruction on March 25, 2003.

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