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N9562L accident description

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Crash location 35.586389°N, 79.103889°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 Sanford, NC
35.479876°N, 79.180299°W
8.5 miles away

Tail number N9562L
Accident date 17 Dec 2003
Aircraft type Cessna 206H
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On December 17, 2003, at 0502 eastern standard time, a Cessna 206H, N9562L, registered to and operated by the private pilot, collided with trees and the ground during takeoff from Sanford - Lee County Regional Airport, Sanford, North Carolina. The personal flight was operated under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91 with an instrument flight rules (IFR) plan filed. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed. The private pilot received fatal injuries, the passenger in the right front seat received serious injuries, and the three passengers in the second- and third-row seats received minor injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The flight departed Sanford, North Carolina, at 0500 on December 17, 2003.

A review of air traffic control records revealed the pilot telephoned the Raleigh Cab Coordinator at 0453 and requested and received an IFR clearance for the filed flight plan to Manteo, North Carolina. The flight plan included a proposed departure time of 0500, as well as the pilot's parking reservation number for the Centennial Celebration of Powered Flight event. The passengers stated the weather conditions included fog and mist. One passenger stated she saw the pilot wipe the inside of windshield with a towel, and he wiped it again right before takeoff. Another passenger stated it was "pitch black" outside when the airplane taxied for takeoff.

The flight was departing runway 3, and, according to one passenger, the airplane lifted off the runway, climbed to approximately 20 to 30 feet, and began a banking turn to the left. The passenger then heard bangs or thumping noises. A second passenger reported that, after the airplane lifted off the runway, it felt like it dipped, and she closed her eyes in response to the feeling. She stated the airplane then felt like it was "hitting something," and it sounded like it was sliding across gravel. She stated the airplane then rolled onto its side and was dropping. A third passenger stated that very soon after takeoff, the airplane felt like it was in severe turbulence, and she heard thud sounds. She stated she had no inclination the airplane was crashing, but at one point she felt yanked forward "like hitting a brick wall." She estimated the airplane was airborne for about 30 seconds to a minute, and she thought maybe it had turned left and was laying on the ground. She stated everything became still and silent, but she could hear gas gushing. She stated the airplane was laying on the ground on its left side, and "nobody was talking or saying anything." Then one of the passengers opened the right side door, exited the airplane, and began helping the others. The passengers stated they did not hear the pilot report any trouble. The passengers searched for their cell phones in the darkness and telephoned the local 911 operator.


The pilot held a private pilot certificate for airplane single-engine land issued October 29, 1999, with a rating for instrument airplane issued February 25, 2000. The pilot held a third class medical certificate issued August 4, 2003, with the limitation "must possess corrective lenses for near vision." A review of the pilot's logbook revealed he logged a total of 816.4 flight hours, which included 758.6 hours as pilot-in-command, 132.9 hours of night time, 49.2 hours simulated instrument time, and 162.9 hours actual instrument time. The pilot accumulated approximately 600 hours in the accident airplane since 2000. The pilot's records revealed he completed a flight review in accordance with Title 14 CFR Part 61.56 on February 2, 2002, and he received the Federal Aviation Administration Wings Phase II pilot proficiency on March 9, 2002.


The Cessna 206H was manufactured in 1999, was powered by a Lycoming IO-540-AC1A5 300-horsepower engine, and was equipped with a McCauley B3D36C431-B three-blade, constant-speed propeller. A review of maintenance logbooks revealed an annual inspection of the airplane was completed February 27, 2003, at an airframe total time of 586.7 hours, tachometer reading of 586.7 hours, and hobbs meter reading of 621.0 hours. The tachometer reading at the accident site was 683.3 hours, and the hobbs meter reading was 723.4 hours.


At 0500, the Sanford Lee County Regional Airport weather automated weather observing system reported winds from 190 degrees at 6 knots, visibility 2 statute miles with mist, sky condition overcast at 300 feet above ground level, temperature 14 degrees centigrade, dew point 13 degrees centigrade, altimeter setting 29.77 inches.


Examination of the accident site revealed the main wreckage was located in a wooded area approximately 1,200 feet from the left side of runway 3 and approximately 4,500 feet from the runway 3 threshold. Wreckage debris and a swath of freshly broken trees extended 240 feet along an approximate 300-degree magnetic heading from a tree freshly broken approximately 30 feet above the ground. A ground impact crater was approximately 225 feet northwest of the first freshly broken tree, the fuselage was approximately 14 feet northwest of the crater, and the nose of the airplane was facing east.

Examination revealed the fuselage of the airplane was on its left side, the firewall was crushed and displaced aft, and the engine mount was separated. The empennage was crushed and partially separated, and the vertical and horizontal stabilizers were attached. The leading edge of the vertical stabilizer was damaged, and the rudder and rudder trim tab were attached. Control cable continuity was established from the rudder to the cockpit pedals, and from the rudder trim tab to the cockpit trim wheel. The leading edge of the horizontal stabilizer was damaged, and the elevator and elevator trim tab were attached. Control cable continuity was established from the elevator to the cockpit control yoke, and from the elevator trim tab to the cockpit trim wheel.

The right wing was attached at the forward spar attach point, separated at the aft spar attach point, and the strut was damaged and attached. The leading edge of the wing outboard of the strut was crushed and separated. The fuel tank was intact, and fuel was observed in the tank. The flap was attached and damaged, and the flap appeared to be in the 10-degrees down position, which was consistent with the measurement obtained at the flap actuator. The aileron was damaged and attached, the control and balance cables were attached to the bellcrank, and the inboard end of the control cable was attached to the cockpit control yoke chain.

The left wing strut was bent and separated, and the left wing was separated at the root and was resting on the ground near the fuselage. The leading edge of the wing was crushed aft, and a 12-inch area was crushed aft to the main spar approximately six feet inboard of the wingtip. The fuel tank was intact, and the supply and vent lines were separated. The flap was attached and damaged, and the flap appeared to be in the 10-degrees down position. The aileron was attached, the control and balance cables were attached to the bellcrank, and the inboard end of the control cable was attached at the cockpit control yoke chain.

Examination of the engine revealed it was separated and on the ground inverted adjacent to the firewall. The propeller was attached to the crankshaft flange. The engine was damaged on the top and left side. Rotation of the crankshaft at the propeller flange revealed continuity to the accessory drive gears, and valve train continuity was established. Compression developed on all six cylinders, and borescope examination of the piston tops and valves revealed no evidence of anomaly. The ignition harness was damaged, the magnetos were attached, and both units produced ignition spark on all towers when rotated. Examination of the Nos. 1, 3, 4, 5, and 6 bottom spark plugs revealed color and wear consistent with the "normal" condition on the Champion AV-27 comparison chart, and the No. 2 bottom spark plug was coated with oil. The oil suction screen and the oil filter were free of contaminants, and the oil cooler and oil cooler hoses were secure.

The fuel pump operated when the engine was rotated. The fuel servo was attached, the induction manifold was damaged, the throttle arm and mixture control were attached, and cable continuity for the throttle and mixture was established to the cockpit controls. The fuel inlet screen was free of contaminants, and residual fuel was found in the fuel pump, fuel servo, fuel flow divider, and fuel injection lines and nozzles. The vacuum pumps were attached, the shear drives were intact, and both units rotated freely when turned at the drive. The propeller governor was attached, the gasket screen was free of contaminants, the control arm was intact, and cable continuity was established to the cockpit control.

Examination of the propeller revealed the propeller blades rotated loose in the hub, and the spinner was crushed. Each propeller blade displayed chordwise scratches and the absence of paint in areas along the leading edge and the camber side. One propeller blade was bent aft approximately 80 degrees near the blade root. The second propeller blade displayed an s-shaped bend, and the third propeller blade displayed forward bending at the tip and indentations on the leading edge. Tree saplings two-inches in diameter near the accident site were found freshly severed at linear diagonal separations.


An autopsy was performed on the pilot on December 19, 2003, by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The report stated the cause of death was "blunt force injuries ... ." Forensic toxicology was performed on specimens from the pilot by the Federal Aviation Administration, Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The report stated no carbon monoxide, no ethanol, and no cetirizine were detected in the blood, cetirizine was present in the urine, and pseudoephedrine was detected in the liver.


Test bench examination of the attitude indicator, the electric turn coordinator, the KI 525A Pictorial Nav Indicator, and the KG 102A Directional Gyro revealed no evidence of pre-impact abnormalities. Test bench examination of the KC 140 Flight Control Computer and the KCM 100 Configuration Module revealed the units functioned through the preflight checks and engaged, and the computer functioned through the full parameter tests to production specifications. Test bench examination of the KMT 112 magnetic azimuth transmitter, the KS 270C Pitch Servo, the KS 271C Primary Servo, and the KS 272C Trim Servo revealed all units performed to production specifications.

The KT 76C transponder function switch was in the "ALT" position, and the unit displayed the code 5363 when power was supplied. Test bench examination of the digital NAV/COMM radio from the No. 1 installed position revealed the frequencies displayed, and the flip-flop features functioned. A test bench CDI (course deflection indicator) was connected to the radio, and testing revealed the CDI responded normally when VOR as well as localizer test frequencies were selected on the radio. Damage precluded testing of the NAV/COMM radio from the No. 2 installed position.


According to the air traffic control flight progress strip, the pilot's IFR clearance was climb to 9000 feet direct to the Tar River VORTAC (identifier TYI, frequency 117.8), then Victor Airway 189 direct to STIKK intersection, then direct to Dare County Regional Airport, Manteo, North Carolina. The flight progress strip also listed the parking confirmation number.

A printout of a the filed flight plan from Sanford to Manteo was found on board the airplane, along with the pilot's weight and balance computations, navigation log, operating checklists, and IFR Enroute Low Altitude navigation chart. Also found on board the airplane were printouts of a flight plan for a flight from Manteo to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, filed to depart at 1300, and a flight plan from Myrtle Beach to Sanford, filed to depart at 1700.

A printout of weather information from an "Online Flight Planning Service Route Briefing" found on board the airplane showed a session time stamp of 1930 eastern standard time on December 16, 2003. The spouse of the pilot stated the pilot was excited about the trip to the Centennial event. She stated the pilot sat at his desk the previous evening and completed the flight planning, and she estimated he then went to sleep around 2330. She did not know what time he awoke in the morning. According to air traffic control records, the pilot telephoned the Raleigh Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS) at 0313 on December 17, 2003, and requested and received a standard weather briefing for the flight from Sanford to Manteo. The passengers stated pilot had the airplane ready to go when they each arrived at the airport around 0445.

The wreckage was released to a representative of International Loss Management, Scottsdale, Arizona, on December 15, 2004.

(c) 2009-2018 Lee C. Baker / Crosswind Software, LLC. For informational purposes only.