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N5865J accident description

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Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Lovelock, NV
40.179354°N, 118.473481°W

Tail number N5865J
Accident date 04 Jun 1993
Aircraft type Beech S35
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On June 4, 1993, about 0752 hours Pacific daylight time, a Beech S-35, N5865J, collided with mountainous terrain while in cruise flight about 30 miles northeast of Lovelock, Nevada. The airplane was destroyed and the certificated private pilot and three passengers received fatal injuries. The personal flight, operated by the pilot/owner, originated in Las Vegas, Nevada, at 0507 hours and was destined for Pasco, Washington. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the accident site and a flight plan had not been filed.

According to transcripts provided by the FAA, the pilot telephoned the Reno, Nevada, FAA Flight Service Station (FSS) on June 4, 1993, at 0356 hours to obtain a briefing for his route of flight. The pilot said he intended to depart Las Vegas that morning about 0530 hours for Pasco, Washington.

The FAA transcripts recorded the pilot saying that he would be flying under visual flight rules. The FSS position specialist told the pilot there were flight precautions for the state of Nevada. Those precautions included moderate turbulence; occasional mountain obscurement; occasional moderate rime or mixed icing; and some ceilings below a thousand feet and visibility below three miles. The position specialist told the pilot "...VFR (visual flight rules) flight not recommended in the mountain obscurement area."

The pilot also asked the FSS position specialist what the weather would be if he changed his route of flight to "...just a little bit to the west of Salt Lake City." The FSS position specialist told the pilot the forecast for Utah included thundershowers; rain showers; flight precautions for turbulence; and flight precautions for occasional moderate rime or mixed icing.

According to the FAA provided transcript, the conversation between the pilot and the FSS position ended at 0408 hours.

According to documents provided by the FAA, the pilot and his three passengers departed McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas, at 0507 hours.

A search of communications conducted by the FAA did not reveal any communications between the pilot and air traffic controllers after the pilot departed the Las Vegas area.

When the airplane and its occupants did not arrive in Pasco, family members contacted authorities. The FAA issued an alert notice (ALNOT) and the Civil Air Patrol began a search.

A search for radar data was conducted by the FAA. A radar plot indicating the flight path of the airplane was found at the FAA Oakland Center. The flight path showed a mode c track and altitude for an airplane that ended about 30 miles northeast of Lovelock. A ground search crew from the Pershing County, Nevada, Sheriff's Office searched the area where the radar ended. Members of the Sheriff's department located the wreckage and its occupants June 8, 1993, about 1714 hours. The Sheriff's department personnel reported the airplane had collided with mountainous terrain near Star Peak in the Humbolt County Mountain Range and there were no survivors.

Personnel who were located at a mining company about 3 miles north of the accident site and at the base of the mountain range reported the mountains were obscured and a ceiling of about 400 feet above ground level existed about the time of the accident.

The accident site is located about north 40 degrees and 33 minutes latitude and west 118 degrees and 11 minutes longitude.


The pilot's logbook detailing his aeronautical experience was recovered at the accident site. The last entry made in the logbook was on May 23, 1993. As of that date, the pilot had a total of 866 flight hours. Logbook entries made by the pilot showed a total of 58 hours of simulated instrument experience and no actual instrument time logged. The pilot did not possess an instrument rating.


Portions of the airplane's airframe and engine logbooks were recovered at the accident site. An examination of the logbooks did not reveal any unresolved discrepancies prior to departure the day of the accident.


The nearest weather reporting station to the accident site is located at Derby Field in Lovelock, about 33 nautical miles southwest of the accident site. The observation taken at 0750 hours the morning of the accident was, in part: "800 feet scattered clouds; 3,000 feet overcast; 25 statute miles visibility; temperature 52 degrees fahrenheit; dew point 48 degrees fahrenheit; wind from 170 degrees magnetic at 5 nautical miles per hour; and altimeter setting of 29.84 inches of mercury."

Witnesses located about three miles north of the accident site at the base of the mountain reported the mountain range, including the accident site, was obscured by clouds about the time of the accident. They also reported a ceiling of about 400 feet above ground level at the time of the accident.


The accident site is located about 30 miles northeast of the city of Lovelock in mountainous terrain about 8,000 feet mean sea level. The site is characterized by rocky terrain and slopes of up to about 90 degrees.

Due to the nature of the terrain, an on site examination by the NTSB was not conducted. An aerial examination of the site was conducted.

The aerial examination showed the airplane impacted against the western side of the mountain on rocks with about an 80 degree slope. The main wreckage, consisting of a portion of the fuselage, the empennage, and an inboard portion of the right wing,was located at an elevation of about 7,800 feet. The engine was located downslope and to the west of the main wreckage. The left wing was located downslope of the main wreckage.

The airplane wreckage was removed from the site to an area at the base of the mountain where it was examined.

The cabin and cockpit were fragmented and exhibited aft crushing.

The cockpit and cabin roof remained attached to the empennage. The remaining portions of cockpit and cabin were broken off from this portion at the top of the airplane's windows. All the cockpit controls and instrumentation was destroyed. Empennage flight control continuity was established from the cockpit area to the respective flight control surfaces. The elevator trim tab actuator extension was 1 1/4 inches, which, according to Beech aircraft engineering documents, is consistent with about a 10 degree up trim tab setting.

The right wing was fragmented and was broken away from the fuselage. The right wing leading edge had chordwise crushing. The right flap actuator extension was 1 1/16 inches, which is consistent with a fully retracted flap position. The right main landing gear and aileron were separated from the wing.

The left wing was fragmented and separated from the fuselage. The wing portions were crushed aft. The flap, aileron, and main landing gear were separated from the left wing.

The engine exhibited impact damage and was fragmented. The upper portions of the crank case halves were broken open. The crankshaft was intact with a small piece of the propeller hub bolted on to the crankshaft propeller mounting flange. The forward half of the camshaft was broken away and missing. Most engine accessories were broken away from the engine and were destroyed. The fuel screen in the fuel injection control unit did not contain any debris. The throttle body was separated from the engine and was noted as being in the full open position.

All three propeller blades were separated from the propeller hub.

All three propeller blades were missing their respective tips. All three had chordwise scratches and two of the propeller blades had leading edge gouges.


An autopsy was performed on the pilot by Dr. Frederick Laubsher, M. D., Pathologist for Washoe County, Nevada, on June 11, 1993, in Reno, Nevada. The cause of death listed on the autopsy was "Traumatic Injuries, Extreme." No pre-existing conditions were noted on the report of autopsy.

A toxicological examination was conducted on specimens from the pilot by the FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute. On their report dated September 8, 1993, negative results were reported for all screened drugs. Positive results were reported for ethanols. The following note was on the toxicological report: "NOTE: The ethanol found in this case may be the result of postmortem ethanol production." Specimens for the toxicological examination were taken on June 11, 1993, 7 days after the accident.

A medical examination was conducted on the three passengers by Dr. Terrence Young, M. D., Pathologist for Washoe County on June 12, 1993, in Reno. The cause of death was listed as "Traumatic Injuries, Extreme."


The aircraft wreckage was released to Mr. Matt Dorman, Loss Management Services, Incorporated, representing the owner, on October 12, 1993.

(c) 2009-2018 Lee C. Baker / Crosswind Software, LLC. For informational purposes only.