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N5343E accident description

Nevada map... Nevada list
Crash location 40.743333°N, 119.213333°W
Nearest city Gerlach, NV
40.651568°N, 119.355187°W
9.8 miles away
Tail number N5343E
Accident date 30 Aug 2003
Aircraft type Beech K35
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report


On August 30, 2003, at 1211 Pacific daylight time, a Beech K35, N5343E, collided with terrain during landing at a temporary dirt strip about 9 miles northeast of Gerlach, Nevada. Shade Tree Flying Club, Inc., was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The private pilot sustained fatal injuries, and three passengers sustained serious injuries. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The personal local flight departed at an undermined time. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed.

Witnesses on the ground, including licensed pilots, reported that the airplane was turning on a right base to final when the right wing abruptly dropped. The airplane immediately struck the ground. They stated that the airplane seemed very low and very slow for this phase of flight.


A review of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airman records revealed that the pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land.

The pilot held a third-class medical certificate issued on April 5, 2002. It had no limitations or waivers.

The operator reported that the pilot had a total flight time of 266 hours. He logged 16 hours in the last 90 days. He had an estimated 200 hours in this make and model. He completed a biennial flight review on May 22, 2003.


The airplane was a Beech K35, serial number D-5828. The operator reported that the airplane had a total airframe time of 7,775 hours. It had an annual inspection on April 1, 2003.

The engine was a Teledyne Continental Motors IO-470-C, serial number 24129-R. Total time recorded on the engine was 2,134 hours, and time since major overhaul was 373 hours.


The pilot was hospitalized, and succumbed to his injuries 4 days after the accident.

The Washoe County Coroner completed an autopsy. The FAA Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory performed toxicological testing of specimens of the pilot. The results of analysis of the specimens were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, volatiles.

The report contained the following results for tested drugs: 0.054 (ug/ml, ug/g) morphine detected in urine, fluconazole present in urine; fluconazole not detected in blood; lidocaine present in urine, lidocaine not detected in blood; and opiates not detected in blood.


The FAA and Teledyne Continental Motors (TCM) were parties to the investigation.

Investigators examined the wreckage at Plain Parts, Sacramento, California, on September 23, 2003.

Investigators established control continuity for all flight controls.

Investigators removed the engine. They slung it from a hoist, and removed the top spark plugs. All spark plugs were oval and clean with no mechanical deformation. The spark plug electrodes were gray in color. The electrodes for cylinders 1, 3, and 5 were lighter gray than the electrodes for cylinders 2, 4, and 6.

Investigators could not manually rotate the crankshaft.

Investigators manually rotated the magnetos, and both magnetos produced spark at all posts.

Investigators filled the fuel pump inlet with solvent and connected the engine starter to a battery. As the engine rotated, fuel streamed out of the outlet line.

The Safety Board released the wreckage to the owner's representative on September 23, 2003.

NTSB Probable Cause

the pilot's failure to maintain an adequate airspeed resulting in a stall mush and collision with terrain.

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