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N449CT accident description

Tennessee map... Tennessee list
Crash location 35.950000°N, 85.854444°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 Knoxville, TN
35.960638°N, 83.920739°W
108.2 miles away
Tail number N449CT
Accident date 07 Oct 2015
Aircraft type Beech S35
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report

On October 7, 2015 about 0530 eastern daylight time, a Beech S35, N449CT, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain during initial climb near Knoxville, Tennessee. The pilot and passenger were seriously injured. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight conducted under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91, which departed Knoxville Downtown Island Airport (DKX), Knoxville, Tennessee, destined for Moore-Murrell Airport (MOR), Morristown, Tennessee.

According to the pilot, he arrived at DKX around 0505 to preflight. About 0530, the pilot and his passenger boarded the airplane and fastened their seatbelts. The pilot then "gave my briefing to my passenger."

The pilot started the airplane and inserted his updated data cards. He then taxied to the run-up area for runway 8. While taxiing he listened to DKX's automated weather observation system (AWOS). He advised that he thought that the AWOS was transmitting that the ceiling was at 200 feet, "or something to that effect," which he "found to be untrue" since he could "look up at the sky and see stars." This was also not compatible with his weather briefings from the night before or earlier the morning of the accident.

Upon reaching the run-up area he performed a run-up, checked the magnetos, and performed the propeller checks. The flight controls were free and correct. Once the engine oil temperature was acceptable, he transmitted over the common traffic advisory frequency that he was departing runway 8 and then taxied to the runway. After lining up on the runway he advanced power till "all was green," went to full power and then took off. Once the airplane was airborne, and when the entire usable runway was behind him, he raised the landing gear, and checked his climb attitude and trim. This was all the pilot could remember about the accident flight.

Around 0630 the Morristown, Tennessee 911 communications center received a telephone call from the pilot reporting that he had crashed sometime after departure from DKX. After determining that the air traffic control tower at Mc Ghee Tyson Airport (TYS) Knoxville, Tennessee was not in contact with the airplane, the pilot was asked to hang up and dial 911. The pilot did so, and the call was received by the Knox County, Tennessee 911 communications center. The communications personnel at the center were then able to ping the pilot's cellular telephone, and determine the location of the call. First responders were then able locate the accident site and provide medical assistance to the pilot and his passenger who were seriously injured.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, after departure the airplane had impacted trees and vegetation at an altitude of approximately 10 feet above ground level about 600 feet from the departure end of the runway. The airplane then impacted in an open field in a level attitude with the landing gear in the up position, and slid on its belly for another 500 feet before coming to rest.

Examination of the accident site and wreckage indicated that the impact with the ground was at high speed with the engine at takeoff power. The wings, empennage, engine, and propeller were substantially damaged. Further examination also revealed that the airplane was equipped with shoulder harnesses though neither the pilot nor passenger had used them.

The recorded weather at TYS located approximately 11 nautical miles southwest of the accident site, at 0502, approximately 28 minutes before the accident, included: calm winds, 10 miles visibility, patches of fog, few clouds at 100 feet, temperature 15 degrees C, dew point 14 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.03 inches of mercury.

The recorded weather at TYS, at 0553, approximately 23 minutes after the accident, also included, calm winds, 10 miles visibility, patches of fog, few clouds at 100 feet, temperature 15 degrees C, dew point 14 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.03 inches of mercury.

United States Naval Observatory data indicated that Moonrise occurred at 0245, and was a Waning Crescent with 24 percent of the Moon's visible disk illuminated. Civil twilight began at 0710, with sunrise occurring 26 minutes later at 0736.

The pilot held an FAA private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land, and instrument airplane. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued on October 23, 2014. He reported that he had accrued approximately 300 total flight hours, 190 of which were in the accident airplane make and model.

According to FAA and airplane maintenance records, the accident airplane was manufactured in 1965. The airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on May 14, 2015. At the time of the inspection, the airplane had accrued approximately 4563.3 total hours of operation.

The wreckage was retained by the NTSB for further examination.

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