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N79091 accident description

New Mexico map... New Mexico list
Crash location 35.293611°N, 105.581945°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 Santa Fe, NM
35.686975°N, 105.937799°W
33.8 miles away
Tail number N79091
Accident date 25 May 2018
Aircraft type Beech D17S
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On May 25, 2018, about 1342 mountain daylight time (all times referenced as mountain daylight time), a Beech D17S single-engine airplane, N79091, impacted terrain near Santa Fe, New Mexico. The commercial pilot was fatally injured, and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The airplane was registered to and operated by Mid Continent Instrument Company, Inc., under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the business flight that departed Perryton/Ochiltree County Airport (PYX) about 1150 with the intended destination of Albuquerque International Sunport Airport (ABQ), Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The operator reported that the pilot had departed Wichita, Kansas, earlier in the day and that he made a fuel stop at PYX before continuing to ABQ for a planned overnight stop. Fueling documentation established that the pilot purchased 39.32 gallons of 100 low-lead aviation fuel at 1035 after landing at PYX. According to preliminary aircraft radar track data, the airplane appeared on radar at 1152:23 about 1.5 nautical miles (nm) southwest of PYX and proceeded to climb to a cruise altitude of 10,500 ft mean sea level (msl) while on a direct track toward ABQ. The only communication the pilot had with air traffic control was when he requested visual flight rules (VFR) flight following with Albuquerque Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC). The airplane continued toward ABQ at 10,500 ft msl until 1340:11 when it entered a descent. The final radar track return was recorded at 1342:48 at 7,900 ft msl (650 feet above the ground). The final radar return was about 1.25 nm east-northeast of the accident site. An alert notice (ALNOT) was issued by air traffic control and a United States Air Force search-and-rescue helicopter crew located the wreckage about midnight.

An onsite investigation was completed by inspectors with the FAA Albuquerque Flight Standards District Office. The FAA inspectors reported that the airplane impacted several pinon trees before coming to rest in a nose down attitude. The debris path was on a 233° magnetic heading. The airplane's recording hour meter indicated 1,351.1 hours. Both upper and lower wings sustained impact damage during the accident sequence. The left wing was heavily fragmented, and the right wing remained partially attached to the fuselage. The fuselage remained intact with relatively minor damage to the cabin and cockpit. The odor of 100 low-lead aviation fuel was observed at the accident site. The airplane's fuel tanks were ruptured during impact; however, there was residual fuel observed in the tanks. The carburetor accelerator pump discharged fuel when the throttle arm was moved. The engine oil supply tank ruptured during impact and there was oil covering the firewall, aft side of the engine, and portions of the windscreen.

The wreckage was recovered from the accident site to facilitate a more detailed examination. A follow-up examination was completed by investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the airframe manufacturer. Flight control cable continuity was established from the individual control surfaces to the cockpit controls through several cable overload separations and cuts made during wreckage recovery. The flap actuator positions were consistent with the wing flaps being up at impact. The landing gear was in the fully retracted position. The cockpit fuel selector was positioned to draw fuel from the upper right fuel tank. There were no anomalies noted with the fuel selector valve during a functional test using compressed air. The outflow fuel line from the fuel selector valve contained residual fuel. The engine driven fuel pump rotated by hand and discharged a fluid that had an odor consistent with 100 low-lead aviation fuel. The engine crankshaft was rotated by applying electrical power to the starter motor. Internal engine and valve train continuity were confirmed as the engine crankshaft was rotated. Apart from engine cylinders no. 5 and 6, compression and suction were noted on all cylinders as the crankshaft was rotated. The no. 5 cylinder exhibited impact related damage to the valve push rods that precluded normal valve movement. The entire no. 6 cylinder head had separated from the cylinder barrel. Several pieces of the no. 6 cylinder head, including the exhaust valve, were recovered along the wreckage debris path at the accident site; however, the No. 6 cylinder intake valve was not recovered during the investigation. The spark plugs were removed and exhibited features consistent with normal engine operation. The No. 6 cylinder was removed to examine the internal engine components. There was ample engine oil throughout the engine and no evidence of oil starvation on the drivetrain components. Both magnetos provided spark while the engine crankshaft was rotated. The two-bladed propeller exhibited chordwise scratches and leading-edge damage on both blades. One propeller blade exhibited a S-shape bend and the other propeller was bent aft midspan.

According to FAA records, the 53-year-old pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with single-engine land airplane and instrument airplane ratings. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued on August 24, 2017, with a limitation for corrective lenses. The pilot's flight history was established using his logbook. The final logbook entry was dated April 22, 2018, at which time he had 4,541 hours total flight time, all in single-engine airplanes. He had logged 4,503.7 hours as pilot-in-command, 236.1 hours at night, 34.1 hours in actual instrument meteorological conditions, and 62.3 hours in simulated instrument conditions. According to the airplane utilization log, the pilot flew an additional 50.9 hours since his final pilot logbook entry. The pilot had accumulated 1,316.7 hours in Beech D17S airplanes. The pilot's most recent flight review, as required by 14 CFR 61.56, was completed on March 6, 2018, in a Cessna 172.

The 1941-model-year airplane, serial number 1020, was a biplane of fabric-covered steel tube and wood construction. The airplane was powered by a 450-horsepower, 9-cylinder, Pratt & Whitney R-985-AN-14B reciprocating radial engine, serial number JP-215473. The engine provided thrust through a constant-speed, two-blade, Hamilton Standard 2D30-6167A-15 propeller, serial number B3881. The four-seat airplane was equipped with a retractable conventional landing gear, wing flaps, and had a maximum allowable takeoff weight of 4,250 pounds. According to maintenance documentation, the last annual inspection was completed on December 31, 2017, at 4,828.7 total airframe hours. The airplane had accumulated 131.4 hours since the last annual inspection. The airframe and engine had accumulated a total service time of 4,960.1 hours when the accident occurred. The engine had accumulated 851.1 hours since being overhauled on April 24, 2014. A postaccident review of the maintenance records found no history of unresolved airworthiness issues.

A postaccident review of available meteorological data established that day visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the accident site. The nearest aviation weather reporting station was located at Moriarty Airport (0E0) about 28 miles southwest of the accident site. At 1335, about 7 minutes before the accident, the 0E0 automated surface observing system reported: wind 310° at 4 knots, 10 miles surface visibility, a clear sky, temperature 31°C, dew point -4°C, and an altimeter setting 30.18 inches of mercury.

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