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N29BF accident description

New Jersey map... New Jersey list
Crash location 40.625834°N, 74.670000°W
Nearest city Somerville, NJ
40.574270°N, 74.609880°W
4.8 miles away
Tail number N29BF
Accident date 15 Sep 2004
Aircraft type Cessna 185F
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On September 15, 2004, at 0906 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 185F, N29BF, was substantially damaged while landing at the Somerset Airport (SMQ), Somerville, New Jersey. The certificated commercial pilot received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight that originated at the Hartford Brainard Airport (HFD), Hartford, Connecticut. The personal flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to the pilot, upon touching down on runway 30, a 2,733-foot-long, 65-foot-wide asphalt runway, the left front float landing gear assembly "snapped," causing the left float to make contact with the runway. The airplane then veered off the left side of the runway, struck a parked airplane, and continued into a hangar. Inside the hangar, the accident airplane struck another parked airplane, before coming to rest.

Examination of the accident airplane wreckage by a Federal Aviation Administration inspector did not reveal any mechanical abnormalities with the airframe, landing gear assembly, or the engine. The inspector also did not note any debris from the airplane on the runway, nor did he observe any scars on the runway surface.

According to a witness, he observed the accident airplane approach the airport from the southeast. The airplane's altitude was about 500 feet above the ground, and the engine was at full power. The airplane then flew over the airport, and made a left turn to enter the traffic pattern for runway 30. The witness then lost sight of the airplane as it past behind hangars. He regained sight of the airplane as it flew northeast of runway 30, and it appeared to have overshot the extended centerline of the runway. The engine sounded as though its power was reduced to idle, and the airplane touched down on the east end of runway 30. After touching down, the airplane's engine increased to full power, and the airplane again disappeared from the witnesses view. Moments later, he heard the airplane impact a hangar. The witness ran to the airplane, forced the pilot's door open, and the pilot egressed from the airplane on his own power.

The witness added that after the accident, the pilot appeared unable to walk, and required assistance to stand.

The winds reported at SMQ, about the time of the accident, were from 050 degrees at 5 knots.

On October 25, 2005, the pilot submitted a letter to the FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute, requesting the return of his medical certificate, which was surrendered. In the letter, the pilot stated, "...on Sunday, February 15, 2004... my left Achilles tendon was torn necessitating an operation...the following day I was in severe pain and I was given a prescription for tablets of 7.5 mg Lortab [hydrocodone/acetaminophen]...In May of 2004, I described my continuing pain to a friend, not a doctor, who happened to have a supply of Klonopin tablets (clonazepam). On his recommendation I started taking these tablets without consulting my doctor..."

The letter further stated, "On September 16[sic], 2004 I flew an airplane to the Somerset Airport in New Jersey and, on touching down, the aircraft swerved into a hangar destroying itself...The local police investigated the incident and found Klonopin tablets in the aircraft I was piloting. Recognizing dependency, I enrolled voluntarily in Advanced Recovery Center (ARC) in Delray Beach, Florida, for treatment."

Review of the pilot's medical records by an NTSB Medical Doctor revealed that on the pilot's most recent application for second-class airman medical certificate, the pilot indicated "Yes" in response to the question about "Substance dependence" and "Alcohol dependence or abuse." Under "Comments on History and Findings" the pilot stated, "...involved in airplane crash. Substance abuse involved..." There was no additional information in the medical records examined regarding the abuse of any substances other than clonazepam.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's failure to maintain aircraft control while landing. A factor was the pilot's impairment due to the influence of non-prescribed pain medication.

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