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N8670V accident description

New Jersey map... New Jersey list
Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Chatsworth, NJ
39.817618°N, 74.534875°W
Tail number N8670V
Accident date 02 Sep 1994
Aircraft type Bellanca 8-KCAB
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report


On September 2, 1994, at 1705 eastern daylight time, a Bellanca 8-KCAB, N8670V, owned and piloted by Paul Brenner, was destroyed when it impacted the ground while maneuvering near the Coyle Airstrip, Chatsworth, New Jersey. The pilot received fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed for the flight operating under 14 CFR 91.

Mr. Brenner was employed by the State Forest Fire Service as a pilot. He had spent several weeks during July and August flying for the Federal Forest Fire Service in the western part of the United States. While he was out of state, Mr. Brenner hangared N8670V in a State hanger at the Coyle Airstrip. On August 26, 1994, Mr. Brenner removed his airplane from the State hanger, flew it for about 30 minutes locally, and rehangared the airplane.

The morning of September 2, 1994, Mr. Brenner removed the airplane from the hanger and washed it. He then placed the airplane back in the hanger about 1200, while he flew a State helicopter. At 1630, when Mr. Brenner's work day ended, he removed N8670V from the hanger and was planning to fly it to the South Jersey Region Airport. Witnesses at the airstrip could not confirm if a preflight was completed, or if fuel samples were taken. One witness stated:

"I was locking up the hanger while Paul went outside and started his plane and taxied down the runway to the south end. I could see a dust cloud from his run-up, after a few minutes he tookoff, pulled up at the hanger, made a left turn down wind and made another pass north about 10 feet above the runway under power. He pulled up as before and made a left turn, but this time he appeared to loose power and nosed over into a spin. The plane made two turns and he seemed to pull the nose up just above the trees into level flight. The plane was quiet, I could hear no engine noise, I heard a crash..."

Three witnesses in separate motor vehicles driving by the airstrip, stated that they observed the airplane flying inverted. One witness, Mr. Thomas Meisse, was driving in the opposite direction of the two other witnesses. He stated:

"...I initially noticed a plane traveling low and heading north, bank sharply to the east, and then south to land at Coyle Field. A short while later the same plane appeared heading north after taking off from the same field. After takeoff the plane accelerated and started a direct vertical climb you would normally see when doing acrobatic maneuvers to cause a stall. When it reached the peak of its climb...the plane rolled over on its back, looped down, looped back up, then over again to loop back down, at which point I lost sight of the plane and then saw smoke rising from the scrub pines..."

The other two witnesses both stated that at first they thought it was a toy remote controlled airplane that was performing "loops" close to the ground. They reported that the airplane went below the trees and out of their line of sight when it was recovering from the loops. Ms. Sherily Salt-Horn stated that the third loop extended over the highway, and while the airplane was upside down, the nose of the airplane dropped and the airplane went straight down.

The airplane impacted the ground about 1/4 mile northeast of the Coyle Airstrip and was consumed by a post crash fire. The accident occurred during the hours of daylight at approximately 39 degrees, 49 minutes north latitude, and 74 degrees, 26 minutes west longitude.


The pilot, Mr. Paul E. Brenner, held a Airline Transport Pilot Certificate with ratings for airplane single and multiengine land, and rotorcraft helicopter. He also held a Flight Instructor Certificate for airplane single and multiengine land, rotorcraft helicopter, and instrument airplane and helicopter.

His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Second Class Medical Certificate was issued on March 26, 1994.

Mr. Brenner's pilot log book was located; however, the last page contained one line entries for 18 different makes and models of airplanes and helicopters. It covered the period from September 1989, to March 1992. The entries for this 30 month period totaled to 5,096 flight hours. It was estimated that Mr. Brenner had logged over 11,300 flight hours since his first flight on December 25, 1982. Mr. Brenner had logged about 164 hours in N8670V.


Mr. Brenner and a co-owner purchased N8670V during the summer of 1990, with a tachometer reading of about 530.00. At the completion of the annual inspection on September 1, 1993, the recorded tach time was 586.93. The time flown on N8670V from September 1, 1993 to September 2, 1994, was estimated to be about 15 hours, and the total tach time since Mr. Brenner purchased the airplane was estimated to be 72 hours.


The airplane wreckage was examined at the accident site on September 2 and 3, 1994. The examination revealed that all major components of the airplane were accounted for at the scene, and that the airplane came to rest upright on an approximate magnetic heading of 060 degrees, at a ground elevation of about 200 feet above mean sea level (MSL).

Approximately 33 feet from the tail of the wreckage, 1 to 2 inch diameter scrub pine trees were observed to be cut off, 4 to 5 feet above the ground. A ground scar began about 13 feet northeast of the scrub pines, and continued for about 20 feet to the tail of the wreckage. The general direction of the ground scar was on a magnetic bearing of 060 degrees.

Although a post crash fire consumed the airplane, the left and right wing structure and spars were visible, and appeared intact. Control continuity was established from the pilots control stick to the elevator and right aileron, and the rudder pedals to the rudder. The left lower aileron cable was attached. The left upper aileron cable was found wedged between the frame and the vicinity of a pulley location that was fire damaged. The cable was separated where it was wedged into the frame.

The two main fuel tanks and the header tank were ruptured and absent of fluids. The right fuel tank contained a fuel screen that was free of debris and not clogged. The left fuel tank did not contain a fuel screen at the outlet. The fuel line from the header tank to the airframe boost pump was intact.

The throttle was extended out from the dash panel. All instrumentation, switches, seat belts and nylon were destroyed during the post crash fire. Examination of the cockpit area produced no useful information due to impact and fire damage.

The engine remained attached to the fuselage. The engine was positioned nose down, and laying on its right side (number one and three cylinders). The propeller blades and hub remained attached to the engine crankshaft. The propeller hub was bent downward and three upper bolts attaching the hub to the crankshaft were separated. The propeller spinner was crushed inward and did not display rotational scratches. A few chord wise scratches were observed on the outer third of each propeller blade. One blade was curved under the engine with the curve starting about half the distance to the tip. The other blade was above ground level and displayed an aft curve starting about 1/3 of the distance from the tip. This blade displayed some chord wise twisting. There were no nicks observed on the leading edges of either propeller blade.

The engine, the engine airframe mounting structure, and the firewall, were removed to a hanger facility for further examination. The engine fuel pump, vacuum pump and the right magneto were fire damaged and melted. The left magneto was intact, but fire damaged and would not rotate.

The four upper, and the lower number two and four cylinder spark plugs, appeared normal. The right side, number one and three cylinders contained a small quantity of oil, and their lower respective spark plugs were wet with oil.

The engine crankshaft would not rotate until the propeller hub and the accessory housing were removed. When the crankshaft was rotated, continuity was observed through the accessory drive gears and the valve train. Compression was obtained on all cylinders by the thumb method. The crankshaft gear was intact and the correct camshaft timing was confirmed. The oil pump could not be turned by hand due to heat and impact damage.

The airframe fuel filter was found intact. The airframe boost pump motor housing was fire and impact damaged. All fuel lines from the header tank to the boost pump, airframe fuel filter, engine pump, flow divider manifold and the fuel injector nozzles were intact.

Water finding paste was used to test fluids observed or drained from the fuel system with the following results. The lower line to the fuel filter was disconnected and about 2 ounces of water was drained. The filter was disassembled and traces of water was found inside of the filter. Water was also found present at the injector inlet screen; injector inlet pressure port plug; the number two, three and four cylinder nozzle line fittings in the flow divider; the number one, three and four injector nozzles; and in the servo fuel filter screen. Water and a significant amount of rust was found in the flow divider fuel inlet fitting when the main fuel line to the flow divider was disconnected.


An autopsy was performed on Mr. Paul Brenner, on September 3, 1994, by Dr. Robert Segal, of the Burlington County Medical Examiners Office, Mount Holly, New Jersey.

The toxicological testing report, from the FAA toxicology Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, revealed negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, volatiles and drugs for Mr. Brenner.


The aileron cable and the airframe bracket were shipped to the National Transportation Safety Board's Material Laboratory Division, Washington, D.C. The laboratory factual report stated:

"...Bench binocular viewing of the cable wire filaments at magnifications up to about X70 showed all of these breaks to be shear plane or sup/cone fractures representative of overstress separations...Examination of the bracket side plate disclosed a deformation to and a gouging into the side plate...consistent with the aileron cable under high side pressure sliding against the bracket side producing both the gouge and deformation to the bracket...."


The regulations covering aerobatic flight are listed in 14 CFR 91.303. The regulations stated: "No person may operate an aircraft in aerobatic flight...Below an altitude of 1,500 feet above the surface...For the purposes of this section, aerobatic flight means an intentional maneuver involving an abrupt change in an aircraft's attitude, an abnormal attitude, or abnormal acceleration, not necessary for normal flight...."

The fuel system contains two standard fuel drains. The rear manifold assembly is one drain which simultaneously drains the left and right main fuel tanks. The second drain is located at the gascolator, between the header tank and the electrical boost pump.

The airplane wreckage was released on September 3, 1994, and signed for on September 6, 1994, by Stephen J. Scibal, a representative of the owners insurance company.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's inadequate preflight that failed to detect water- contaminated fuel which resulted in the loss of engine power and the pilot's decision to conduct flight at an altitude too low to initiate emergency procedures.

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