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N3886B accident description

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Crash location Unknown
Nearest city Jackson, TN
35.614517°N, 88.813947°W

Tail number N3886B
Accident date 10 Sep 1993
Aircraft type Beech F35
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On September 10, 1993, about 1630 central daylight time(CDT), a Beech F35, N3886B, was substantially damaged following a collision with terrain during an attempted emergency landing near Jackson, Tennessee. The private pilot and his passenger were both fatally injured in the accident. The aircraft was being operated under 14 CFR Part 91 by the pilot. Visual meteorological conditions existed at the time, and no flight plan had been filed for the personal flight. The flight departed McMinnville, Tennessee, about 1530.

Approximately 0310 , the pilot of N3886B contacted the Leesburg Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS) to request a weather briefing, and file an instrument flight plan with a proposed departure time of 0500 from Manassas, Virginia, to Memphis, Tennessee.

The flight departed Manassas on an instrument flight plan at an undetermined time. At 0632, the controller at Dulles Approach Control contacted the Washington Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) and passed the flight off to the ARTCC. During the pass off conversation, the Dulles controller remarked that the flight had done nothing right, and that the pilot had reported that the aircraft Area Navigation Equipment (RNAV) was not working. The flight had been given a heading for a route direct to Memphis.

At 0710 , the pilot of N3886B contacted the ARTCC and reported that he had a mechanical problem and needed to land. The flight was cleared to land at the Charlottesville, Virginia, Airport. The flight landed at Charlottesville at 0724 without incident. The Charlottesville Airport is located less than 60 miles from the Manassas Airport. The pilot did not indicate what the mechanical problem was. The pilot purchased 11.1 gallons of 100 low lead fuel at the Charlottesville Airport.(See Fuel Receipt from Corporate Jets Airport in Charlottesville, Virginia, Attached to This Report.)

The flight then departed the Charlottesville Airport, without a flight plan having been filed, at an undetermined time.

The pilot of N3886B contacted the Nashville, Tennessee, AFSS by telephone, from an undisclosed location, at 1240 CDT and obtained a preflight weather briefing for flight under visual flight rules from Memphis, Tennessee, to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

The flight landed at McMinnville, Tennessee, at an undetermined time. The pilot purchased 30.8 gallons of 100 low lead fuel in McMinnville.(See Fuel Receipt From Phillips 66 in McMinnville, Tennessee, Attached to This Report.)

At 1604, the pilot of N3886B contacted the Jackson, Tennessee, AFSS and reported that he was unsure of his exact location, but that he thought that he was approximately 15 to 25 miles west of Jackson, Tennessee. He stated that he was at 3000 feet above mean sea level(MSL), and that the aircraft engine was running rough and had a partial loss of power.

The pilot of N3886B stated that the problem with the engine had started "a while back" after he had stopped for gas but "then it just got real rough all of a sudden". The pilot indicated that there were several places he could have executed an off airport landing, but he was now down to fifteen hundred feet MSL and did not have a lot of choices left.

At 1611, the pilot of N3886B stated that the highway he was flying over was too busy to land on. He stated that he was going to fly under some power lines, and execute an emergency landing.

The aircraft impacted the terrain in a small cotton field approximately 8 miles southeast of the Jackson Airport.


The pilot, Mr. Robert D. Bates, held a private pilot's certificate with airplane single engine and airplane instrument ratings. He had accumulated approximately 788 hours of total flight time, and approximately 200 hours in this make and model of aircraft.

There was no evidence that Mr. Bates had received a biennial flight review in the past 24 months.

Mr. Bates' medical certificate had expired. A letter from the Federal Aviation Administration Aeromedical Certification Division, dated August 18, 1993, was found in Mr. Bates possession. The letter was to inform Mr. Bates that, as a result of a history of numbness in his right arm and leg, issuance of his medical certificate was being withheld, pending determination of eligibility.(See Copy of Letter From Federal Aviation Administration Aeromedical Certification Division to Mr. Bates Attached to This Report.)

Additional pilot information may be obtained in this report under section titled First Pilot Information on page 3.


The aircraft had been modified in accordance with a Supplementary Type Certificate for the use of automotive fuel.

There were four plastic five gallon containers found on board the aircraft. The containers each had minute quantities of fluid remaining in them. The fluid contained in the containers had the odor of automotive gasoline. The fluid had no color, but was cloudy in appearance.

The last annual inspection for N3886B was conducted on February 1, 1992.

Additional aircraft information may be obtained in this report under section titled Aircraft Information on Page 2.


Visual meteorological conditions existed at the time of the accident.

Additional meteorological information may be obtained in this report under section titled Weather Information beginning on page 3.


The wreckage was located in a cotton field which was approximately 400 yards in length, and 200 yards in width. There was a ground scar of approximately 50 feet on a magnetic heading of 190 degrees leading to the main wreckage. A propeller blade was lying just to the east and approximately midway of the ground scar. The fuselage structure was broken and torn just aft of the wings, with the aft fuselage and empennage assembly folded sideways to the left. Both wings were attached to the fuselage.

The cockpit area and cabin area exhibited substantial impact damage. The instrument panel was crushed forward. The control wheel and control arm assembly were broken away from the control column. The control arm engaging sprocket was bent to the left. Flight control continuity was established from the cockpit area to the respective control surfaces. The throttle was seized at mid travel. The mixture control was in the full rich position. The propeller control was in the "auto" position. The carburetor heat control was in the "cold" position. The fuel selector valve handle exhibited a position between the left tank and left auxiliary tank positions. The emergency fuel hand pump handle on the fuel unit assembly was in the extended and horizontal position with the handle extension bent downward. The landing gear and landing gear actuator exhibited a fully retracted position.

The empennage was intact. Both elevator trim tabs exhibited a neutral position. The elevator trim tab actuator extension was one inch, which, according to the manufacturer, corresponds with a neutral trim tab deflection.

The left wing was twisted and torn apart outboard of the flap. The left wing leading edge exhibited substantial distortion along its entire span and chordwise crushing to the portion of the wing that was twisted. The left flap actuator extension was one and five eighths inches, which, according to the manufacturer corresponds with fully retracted flap position.

The right wing exhibited minor distortion and leading edge damage. The right flap actuator extension was one and five eighths inches, which, according to the manufacturer, corresponds with a fully retracted flap position.

The engine was separated from the airframe and was lying on its right side just forward of the engine firewall. The carburetor and induction system were broken away from the engine assembly. The mixture and throttle control linkages were attached to the carburetor. The throttle linkage exhibited a loose nut with a missing cotter pin. There was a section of green garden hose attached to the crank case oil vent.

The propeller hub was attached to the engine crankshaft. The propeller had one blade attached to the hub. The attached blade exhibited a fine pitch position, and was bent towards its uncambered side with the leading edge of its tip exhibiting leading edge polishing. The separated blade exhibited twisting towards low pitch, leading edge polishing on the tip, and chordwise scratching.

An examination of the aircraft fuel system was conducted at the accident site. The main fuel strainer was installed properly and exhibited no blockage. A few drops of fluid were drained from the main fuel strainer bowl and had an odor of automotive fuel. The carburetor inlet fuel screen exhibited no blockage.


An autopsy of Mr. Bates was performed by Dr. Violette S. Hnilica, M.D., of The University of Tennessee, 1060 Madison Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee, 38163.

Toxicological reports were negative for the use of ethanol and drugs. The report stated that Quinine was detected in the urine.


An examination of the aircraft engine was performed on February 28, 1994.

External examination of the engine revealed that all four engine mount legs were fractured. The breather separator required in the Automotive Fuel Supplemental Type Certificate was hanging on the breather line at the right front side of the engine. The left side induction and exhaust runners were ripped off the cylinders. The nose crossover hose fitting was broken out of the left crankcase gallery hole. The oil manifold on the engine belly was broken off the lower crankcase and lower accessory case. The induction and exhaust runners on the right side of the engine were crimped and bent. The left rear mounted oil tank/cooler was damaged and the outboard seam was ripped open.

The interior of the engine was coated with black deposit's. The oil and scavenge pumps exhibited some hard particle passage damaging the pump cavities. The engine was equipped with a full flow oil filter. All cylinders exhibited normal polishing pattern in their bores. The combustion deposits were dark in color, but normal for content. All valves were seated properly in the cylinder heads. The intake valves exhibited a heavy build up of carbon on their underside.

All overhead valve components were intact and functional. The pistons were dark in color on their skirts. All piston rings were free in the piston ring grooves. Crown deposits were dark in color.

The crankcase main bearings exhibited normal polishing. No fretting or bearing movement was observed. The crankcase was fractured in the front portion of the case.

Lifters and camshaft exhibited normal polishing signatures. No lifter face spalling or cam lobe wear was observed.

The crankshaft main bearing journals exhibited normal polishing signatures. No signs of lubrication distress were observed. The crankcase counterweights movement was free and unrestricted.


Approximately two and one half pints of fuel were recovered from the aircraft fuel tanks and fuel system. The fuel had no color but was cloudy in appearance. There was not a greasy feel to the fuel, and the fuel had the odor of automotive fuel. The fuel had the look and odor of fuel that had been stored for an extended period of time.

There was an insufficient quantity of fuel available for an octane test. Test of the fuel samples, using water finding paste, were negative for water in the fuel.

The aircraft wreckage was released to Sergeant David L. Woolfork of the Madison County, Tennessee Sheriffs Department on September 12, 1993.

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