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N501B accident description

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Crash location 35.886111°N, 83.977222°W
Nearest city Knoxville, TN
35.960638°N, 83.920739°W
6.0 miles away
Tail number N501B
Accident date 08 Jan 2005
Aircraft type Beech 35
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report


On January 8, 2005 at 2202 eastern standard time a Beech 35, N501B, registered to and operated by a private owner, collided with trees during an approach to land on the north runway at Sky Ranch Airport, Knoxville, Tennessee. The personal flight operated under provision of Title 14 CFR Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident and no flight plan was filed. The airplane was substantially damaged. The pilot received fatal injuries, and the passenger received serious injuries. The flight departed Sky Ranch Airport in Knoxville, Tennessee, on January 8, 2005 at 2132.

According to a witness, he heard the airplane engine running followed by a loud "thump". The airplane collided with trees approximately 2/3 mile from the approach end of the north runway. The airplane came to rest in the trees, 40 to 50 feet above the ground in an upright but nose low attitude.


Review of information on file with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airman's Certification Division, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, revealed the pilot was issued a private pilot certificate on March 28, 2001 with ratings for airplane single engine land and instrument airplane. Review of FAA aeromedical records show that the pilot held a second class medical certificate issued on October 1, 2003, with the restriction "must wear corrective lenses." The pilot's log book revealed that he reported having 537 flight hours.


The airplane is a four seat, single engine, fixed wing 1948 Beech A35. Review of maintenance records revealed that the last recorded annual inspection was conducted on June 8, 2004 at a tachometer time of 3891 hours. The tachometer time at the time of the accident was 3962 hours.


The nearest weather reporting facility at the time of the accident was McGhee Tyson Airport, Knoxville, Tennessee. The 2153 surface weather observation was clouds scattered at 20,000, visibility 10 miles, temperature 39-degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 37-degrees Fahrenheit, wind 40-degrees at 5 knots and altimeter 30.34" inches of mercury.


Examination of the accident site disclosed that debris was scattered over an area 300 feet long on a heading of 40-degrees. The airplane came to rest in the trees, 40 to 50 feet above the ground in an upright and nose low attitude. Examination of the airplane revealed that nose section of the airframe and the engine assembly were separated from the airplane and located on the ground. Both wings had crush damage and approximately five feet of the left outboard wing assembly was detached. Also, one of the two propeller blades was sheared off from the propeller hub assembly.

The engine firewall was buckled, the right wing tip detached, the right fuel tank was breached, the left fuel tank was empty, the left wing aileron and flap was separated from the airframe, and the main landing gear was extended and locked. An undetermined amount of fuel was recovered from the airplane.

The engine was recovered from the accident site and further examination revealed that both magnetos produced ignition sparks, all six cylinders produced compression, and the propeller, crankshaft and associated gear train rotated freely.

The post-accident examination of the airframe and engine failed to disclose any mechanical problems or component failures.


The University of Tennessee Medical Center at Knoxville, Tennessee conducted the postmortem examination of the pilot on January 10, 2005. The cause of death was blunt force trauma. The FAA's Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma completed the final forensic toxicology fatal accident report. There was no carbon monoxide, cyanide or ethanol detected. There was 0.515 (ug/ml, ug/g) butalbital detected in blood and 1.444 (ug/ml. ug/g) butalbital detected in liver, cyclobenzaprine detected in blood and urine and atropine detected in blood and liver.


Attempts to obtain additional information from the passenger were unsuccessful.

Efforts to obtain additional information from the passenger were unsuccessful.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's failure to maintain adequate obstacle clearance, which resulted in the in-flight collision with trees. A factor was dark night.

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