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N17AE accident description

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Crash location 36.130000°N, 86.653889°W
Nearest city Nashville, TN
36.165890°N, 86.784443°W
7.7 miles away
Tail number N17AE
Accident date 24 Jan 2001
Aircraft type Beech F90-42
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report


On January 24, 2001, at 1510 central standard time, a Beech BE-F90-42, N17AE, registered to Amprite Aviation, Inc., experienced a loss of engine power to the right engine and collided with trees and subsequently the ground shortly after takeoff from runway 2C at the Nashville International Airport in Nashville, Tennessee. The airplane was operated by the private pilot under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91 and instrument flight rules. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and an IFR flight plan was filed to Waukesha, Wisconsin. Three passengers sustained fatal injuries, the pilot sustained serious injuries and subsequently died eight days later, and the airplane was destroyed by impact and post-crash fire. The flight was originating from Nashville International Airport, Nashville, Tennessee at the time of the accident.

According to the Nashville tower controller, shortly after takeoff at approximately 200 feet above ground level (AGL), the pilot reported, "OK, Nashville tower, King Air one seven alpha echo, we're engine out, ah, and gonna need to return to the field." The tower controller cleared the pilot to land on any runway and notified airport crash fire rescue personnel. The controller saw the airplane in a right turn, descending, and observed the airplane level its wings just prior to impact with the tops of trees. A witness reported the airplane began to make a descending right turn. The airplane collided with terrain approximately 2,000 feet east of the approach end of runway 20L (the eastern-most runway at Nashville International Airport). A post-impact fire ensued and consumed a majority of the airplane.


The pilot held a private certificate. He had private pilot privileges for airplane single-engine land, multi-engine land, and instrument airplane. The pilot's logbook was not recovered. The pilot reported 1100 civilian flight hours in all aircraft on the application for his most recent third-class medical certificate, which was dated December 30, 1999.


The Beech, King Air, BE-F90-42, N17AE, was a seven seat, twin-engine airplane registered to Amprite Aviation Inc. On October 26, 2000, the airplane received a phase one inspection and had accumulated 33.6 hours since that inspection. The airplane had been modified by replacing the original PT6A-135 engines of 750 shaft horsepower with PT6A-42 engines of 850 shaft horsepower under FAA Supplemental Type Certificate No. SA8998SC issued to STC Engineering Company.


Nashville weather at 1545, was visibility 10 statute miles, temperature 48 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 45 degrees Fahrenheit, wind 300 degrees at 8 knots, altimeter 30.19 Hg. There were no restrictions to visibility reported, nor was there any precipitation.


The airplane was found resting upright on its belly on an approximate heading of 305 degrees. Its approach path to the accident site had been 230 degrees, as measured from the initial impact point to its final resting place. Examination of the airplane found the left wing with impact damage, distortion to the main spar, and with post-impact fire damage. The post-impact fire had mostly consumed it, but all of its control surfaces appeared to have remained attached. Aileron and flap control cable continuity was confirmed, and the left aileron trim tab had been found in a 7.5 degree tab-up deflection.

The right wing was damaged during the impact sequence. The outboard four feet of the right wing, from just outboard of the inboard edge of the aileron, had separated and was lodged in a tree approximately 25 feet above the ground at the initial contact point. The aileron had separated from this section and was found approximately 30 feet further along the debris zone at ground level, but lying in a bush. The wingtip had separated and approximately two feet of the tip, from the trailing edge forward, was found in the vicinity of the tree that held the outboard wing section. The wingtip navigational light assembly was found approximately 50 feet from the initial contact point along the debris path. The remainder of the wing remained attached to the airplane and was mostly consumed by the post-impact fire. Aileron and flap control cable continuity was confirmed, and the flaps were found in the up position.

The post-impact fire damaged the fuselage, and what remained was impact damaged in the form of compression wrinkles and wrinkling associated with a longitudinal twist to the fuselage. The nose section of the airplane was crushed aft and to the right, the aft fuselage was separated and the empennage was lying on the ground, and only the bottom of the fuselage from approximately window-level down remained. The empennage was intact with impact damage and post-impact fire damage. The leading edge of the left horizontal stabilizer had a circular dent approximately mid-span, and there were dents all along the leading edges of both horizontal stabilizers. The vertical stabilizer was wrinkled from heat damage and had impact damage to its leading edge. The control surfaces were intact, and the elevator trim tab was in a neutral position. The rudder trim information was not obtained. The cabin section also sustained fire damage. It was not determined if the occupants had been wearing their seat belts.

Examination of the engines on-scene found them attached to the airplane. The right engine was fire damage, while the left engine appeared to be undamaged. The left propeller had one propeller blade that had separated approximately 10 inches inboard of the tip. Other blades exhibited compression wrinkles to the trailing edges of their blades. One blade in particular had various compression wrinkles along its entire trailing edge span. The right propeller did not exhibit any compression wrinkles to its blades, nor any significant damage other than aft bending around the nacelle from the spinner outboard.

The engine examinations were performed on April 3, 4, and 5, 2001, at the Pratt & Whitney Canada Service Investigation Facilities at St. Hubert, Quebec, Canada. The left engine was a PT6A-42, S/N 93066 and had accumulated 3196.1 hours since new, and 327.8 hours since its last overhaul. The last recorded maintenance was the installation of a serviceable fuel control unit/assembly removed from the airplane's right engine, conducted immediately prior to the accident flight. The propeller governor was replaced with a serviceable unit from the airplane's right engine for troubleshooting on January 11, 2001, at 327.8 hours since overhaul. The engine overhaul was conducted by Dallas Airmotive on March 17, 1999. Examination of the left engine revealed light impact damage and minimal post-impact fire damage. The compressor turbine disc, the interstage baffle, the first stage power turbine vane ring, the first power turbine, the second stage power turbine vane ring, and the second stage power turbine displayed circumferential rubbing due to axial contact with their adjacent components under impact loads. Circumferential rubbing was displayed by the first and second stage power turbine shrouds due to radial contact with their adjacent blade tip. The propeller shaft was fractured in torsion.

The right engine a PT6A-42, S/N 93179 and had accumulated 3632.5 hours since new, and 512.5, hours since overhaul. The last recorded maintenance was replacement of the propeller governor with a serviceable unit removed from the airplane's left engine for troubleshooting on January 11, 2001. The fuel control unit was replaced with an overhauled unit on November 17, 2001. The engine was repaired for a static propeller strike by Dallas Airmotive on July 27, 1999. Examination of the right engine revealed minimal impact damage and moderate post-impact fire damage. Circumferential rubbing was displayed by the compressor turbine shroud, and the first an second stage power turbine shrouds due to radial contact with their adjacent blade tips.

According to Pratt & Whitney Canada, both the left and right engines displayed contact signatures to their internal components characteristic of the engine being powered, with the propellers out of feather at the time of impact and in a low power range. The lack of impact deformation to the engine housing limits the severity of the contact signatures and precludes a definitive assessment of the level of power being produced. Both the left and right engines displayed no pre-impact anomalies or distress that would have precluded normal engine operation prior to impact.

The propeller examination was performed on April 3, 2001, at Hartzell Propeller, Inc. The propellers were 4-bladed, single acting, hydraulically operated, constant speed models with full auto-feathering and reversing capabilities. Oil pressure from the propeller governor is used to move the blades to the low pitch direction. Blade mounted counterweights and feathering springs actuate the blades towards the high pitch direction in the absence of governor oil pressure. The blades are of aluminum construction. The hub and blade clamps are steel, and propeller rotation is clockwise as viewed from the rear. Examination of the auto-feathering system found it destroyed by impact and subsequent post crash fire.

The right propeller beta ring had been removed and was missing, nuts on the beta rods had been re-positioned. The spinner dome had been removed. The aft end of the piston was 1-7/8 inches from the guide collar with the piston jammed against a blade counterweight. A blade counterweight position was measured to be 52 degrees with respect to the plane of rotation.

The left propeller spinner dome and outer portion of one blade was missing. The aft end of the piston was 1-7/8 inches from the guide collar with the piston jammed against a blade counterweight.

The examination of the left propeller blades showed more damage ("S" bending, twisting, tearing) than the blades from the right propeller. Both propellers were rotating with considerable rotational energy. The left propeller had more power than the right. There was no propeller discrepancies noted that could have precluded normal operation. All damage noted was consistent with impact damage. A review of the emergency procedures checklist ENGINE FAILURE AFTER TAKEOFF calls for the affected engine's propeller to be feathered.


A post-mortem examination of the pilot was conducted by Bruce P. Levy, MD, at the Tennessee Department of Health and Environment, Office of the Medical Examiner, Nashville, Tennessee, on February 1, 2001. The reported cause of death was listed as pneumonia and endocarditic complicating thermal burns and blunt force injury of the head. The FAA's Toxicology Research Laboratory, due to the pilot's hospitalization prior to his death, did not conduct a toxicology examination of the pilot.


The wreckage was released to Mr. Deane Rowedder, an insurance adjuster, the owner's representative, Amprite Aviation Inc., in Nashville, Tennessee.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's failure to follow loss of engine power emergency procedures by not feathering the propeller following the loss of engine power for undetermined reasons, resulting in a descent and collision with trees and the ground.

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