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N629PD accident description

New Jersey map... New Jersey list
Crash location 40.368889°N, 74.248055°W
Nearest city Matawan, NJ
40.414830°N, 74.229589°W
3.3 miles away
Tail number N629PD
Accident date 26 Aug 2001
Aircraft type Cessna 172SP
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report


On August 26, 2001, about 2030 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172SP, N629PD, was substantially damaged when it collided with transmission wires and terrain, after a touch-and-go at Marlboro Airport (2N8), Matawan, New Jersey. The certificated private pilot and passenger were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed; and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to a witness at Marlboro Airport, the airplane departed runway 27 about 2015, and flew around the local area for approximately 15 minutes. He then observed the airplane approaching the airport from the northeast. The witness further stated:

"...not lined up for a normal 27 approach. I remarked to John, 'he's not trying to land on 27, is he.' Reply was 'checking the windsock, most likely.' Aircraft drifted in to check wind and rolled back into pattern for 09. Watched downwind, base, final. Saw the plane was high and long. Aircraft touched down for a moment, then applied full power and was climbing out normally. Aircraft then banked left…"

Another witness stated that the airplane did not touch down until it was well beyond the approach end of runway 09, almost on the numbers "27" at the opposite end of the runway. After the airplane touched down, the engine revved and the airplane initially climbed, but it turned left and struck transmission wires. The airplane then rolled inverted, and struck the ground underneath the transmission wires.

The accident occurred during hours of darkness; and was located about 40 degrees 22.14 minutes north latitude, 74 degrees 14.89 minutes west longitude


The pilot held a private pilot certificate, with a rating for single engine land airplane. The pilot received his private pilot certificate on August 22, 2001, and his most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third class medical certificate was issued on March 27, 1999.

According to the pilot's logbook, he had approximately 87 hours of flight experience, of which, about 12 hours were in the same make and model as the accident airplane. Additionally, the pilot had a total nighttime flight experience of approximately 5 hours.


The reported wind at an airport approximately 10 miles southeast of the accident site, at 2035, was 210 degrees at 8 knots.


Marlboro Airport was located about 3 miles south of Matawan, New Jersey. The airport was 122 feet above mean sea level. The single asphalt runway (09/27) was 2,156 feet long, and 50 feet wide.

The tower that supported the transmission wires was approximately 133 feet tall, and unlighted. However, it was not in line with the departure end of runway 09. The tower was adjacent to the runway, located approximately 1,260 feet northeast of the end of runway 09. Additionally, according to the Airport Facility Directory, there were 56-foot high power lines, located about 860 feet beyond the departure end of runway 09 (1,300 feet from the displaced threshold of runway 27).


The wreckage was examined at the accident site on August 27 and 28, 2001. The airplane was located approximately 1,300 feet northeast of runway 09. It was resting in a field, intact, inverted, and oriented about a 200-degree heading. No ground scars were observed around the wreckage. A strong odor of fuel was present, and some of the vegetation in the vicinity of the wreckage was discolored. All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the accident scene. The right main landing gear was the only component found separated from the airplane. It was located approximately 185 feet south of the main wreckage, and had several scrape marks consistent with a wire strike. Additionally, a section of transmission wire was recovered, and it exhibited scraping. The top section of the transmission tower near the wreckage was damaged.

Examination of the wreckage revealed no pre-impact mechanical malfunctions. Flight control continuity was confirmed from all control surfaces to the cockpit area. Although fuel had leaked from the airplane, some fuel was still present in both of the fuel tanks. The wing flaps were observed in the retracted position. However, a Marlboro Police Sergeant stated they were in the extended position when he first arrived at the scene. Additionally, a flap jackscrew measurement corresponded to a flap setting of between 20-30 degrees. The right wing sustained crushing damage to the upper surface, but little leading edge damage. The right aileron was deflected upward. The left wing sustained crushing damage to the upper surface and leading edge. The left aileron was deflected downward. The fuselage was slightly buckled, and there was no visible damage to the empennage. The elevator was deflected upward, and the rudder was deflected to the left. The elevator trim tab was found in an approximate 6-degree tab down position.

The cockpit area was intact, but crushed downward. The fuel selector was found in the "BOTH" position, and the throttle and mixture controls were observed in the full forward position. The flap selector and indicator were found near the 10-degree flap setting. The pilot seat and seatbelt were cut by emergency personnel. The passenger seat and seatbelt remained intact, and when tested, the passenger seatbelt fastened and released properly.

The engine was removed from the airplane for examination. The propeller remained attached to the engine. One blade displayed "s-bending," and the other blade was bent slightly aft. The spark plugs and valve covers were removed from the engine. The spark plug electrodes were intact and light gray in color. The propeller rotated freely by hand. Crankshaft, camshaft, and valve train continuity was confirmed, and thumb compression was attained on all four cylinders. Both magnetos produced spark at all leads. When the oil filter was removed and inspected, it was absent of metallic contamination. Fuel was found in fuel lines and engine driven fuel pump.


An autopsy was performed on the pilot by personnel of the Monmouth County Medical Examiners Office, Freehold, New Jersey.

Toxicological testing was conducted on the pilot at the FAA Toxicology Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.


Review of an Information Manual for the accident airplane revealed the following takeoff data: at 2,400 pounds gross weight; with a 4 knot tailwind component; at sea level; with flaps extended 10 degrees; from a paved, level, dry runway; with full throttle prior to brake release; at 68 degrees Fahrenheit; and lift off at 48 knots of indicated airspeed; required a ground roll of 1,032 feet. A total of 1,764 feet were required to clear a 50-foot obstacle (or 732 feet to clear a 50-foot obstacle if already at 48 knots).

Review of the FAA Airplane Flying Handbook revealed:

"During initial climb, it is important that the takeoff path remain aligned with the runway to avoid the hazards of drifting into obstructions, or the path of another aircraft that may be taking off from a parallel runway."


The FAA inspector involved in the accident investigation recommended that the 133-foot tower be illuminated at night. On January 9, 2002, the FAA sent a letter to GPU Energy. The letter requested that GPU file appropriate information for an FAA Notice of Proposed Construction for Aeronautical Study. As of the completion of this report, GPU had not responded to the letter.

The wreckage was released to a representative of the owner's insurance company on August 28, 2001.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's failure to maintain runway alignment during the initial climb. Factors were the pilot's failure to perform a go-around, the pilot's lack of flight experience in nighttime conditions, the nighttime conditions, and a tailwind.

© 2009-2020 Lee C. Baker / Crosswind Software, LLC. For informational purposes only.