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N9740Y accident description

Tennessee map... Tennessee list
Crash location 36.516670°N, 83.000000°W
Nearest city Rogersville, TN
36.407317°N, 83.005442°W
7.6 miles away
Tail number N9740Y
Accident date 16 Jan 2000
Aircraft type Beech 35(AF) Beech P-35(NTSB)
Additional details: Wreckage scattered

NTSB Factual Report

HISTORY OF FLIGHT On January 16, 2000, about 1630 eastern standard time, (all times are eastern standard time, based on the 24 hour clock) a Beech P-35, N9740Y, registered to a private owner, and operated as a Title 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, crashed into Clinch Mountain, about 6 miles north of Rogersville, Tennessee. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed in the area, and no flight plan was filed. The aircraft incurred substantial damage, and the private-rated pilot, the sole occupant, received fatal injuries. The flight originated from Louisville, Kentucky, the same day about 1532.

The flight was en route from Bowman Field, Louisville, Kentucky, to Tri-cities Regional Airport, and prior to departure, the pilot of N9740Y had informed Bowman Ground Control/Clearance Delivery that he was requesting radar service to Tri-cities (TRI) at 3,000 feet. At 1522, the pilot was given taxi instructions to runway 32, and issued radar service information. At 1532, the pilot was cleared for takeoff from runway 32 at Bowman Field, and at 1533 he was advised to contact Louisville Departure Control.

At 1534, the pilot contacted Louisville Departure Control on a radar service departure from Bowman Field, and was cleared to climb under visual flight rules (VFR) to his requested altitude of 3,500 feet. At 1535, the pilot was told to proceed on course to Tri-Cities. At 1537, the pilot received clearance to climb VFR to 5,500 feet, and at 1545, he was handed off to Lexington Approach Control.

At 1552, the pilot advised Lexington Approach Control that he needed to descend to maintain VFR, and he was cleared to descend to 4,500 feet, and told to maintain VFR by the controller. At 1556, the pilot again advised Lexington Approach Control that he needed a lower altitude, and was cleared to an altitude of 3,500 feet, and told to maintain VFR. He was also told that FAA Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) might not be able to maintain radar contact with his aircraft at that low an altitude. At 1559, the flight was handed off to Indianapolis ARTCC, and at 1600, another aircraft relayed instructions for the pilot of N9740Y to contact Indianapolis Center on a frequency of 121.32. The pilot made initial contact, as instructed, reporting that he was at 3,500 feet. The pilot was then notified of the London, Kentucky altimeter setting. At 1606 the pilot advised ARTCC that "it was bumpy," and he would like to climb to 7,500 feet. The controller approved the pilot's request, and told the pilot to maintain VFR. The controller also told the pilot that at 7,000 feet the flight should be "on top."

At 1619, the pilot advised ARTCC that he would be changing his destination to Hawkins County Airport (RVN), Rogersville, Tennessee, and that he was going to start his descent, and the controller acknowledged the pilot's communication, and told him to maintain VFR. At 1620 Indianapolis ARTCC initiated coordination with Atlanta ARTCC to facilitate the pilot's change in destination, and at 1621 communications with the pilot of N9740Y was passed from Indianapolis ARTCC to Atlanta ARTCC.

At 1622:39, the pilot reported to Atlanta ARTCC that he was descending out of five thousand three hundred feet. At 1622:44, the Atlanta ARTCC controller responded " nine seven four zero yankee atlanta center roger tri city altimeter three zero two six." At 1622:50, the pilot replied "three zero two six roger." At 1628:26, the controller said, "niner seven four zero yankee radar contact lost squawk one two zero zero cleared to advisory frequency good afternoon." The Atlanta ARTCC controller made one last transmission at 1628:35, saying "niner seven four zero yankee Atlanta." There were no further communications with the pilot of N9740Y. FAA ARTCC controller statements indicate that training was being conducted at the time communications were lost with N9740Y.

According to the FAA Daily Record of Facility Operation, at 0040, January 17, 2000, the FAA was notified that N9740Y had not arrived at Hawkins County Airport, where the pilot's parents had been awaiting his arrival. At 0100, the Hawkins County Sheriff's Dispatch received notification that the airplane was missing in their area, and at 0800, a search was initiated. The wreckage was discovered about 1245, January 17, 2000. PERSONNEL INFORMATION

Records obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration showed that the pilot of N9740Y held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single engine land rating, last issued on August 30, 1989. The pilot did not possess an instrument rating. The pilot was administered an FAA third class medical examination on July 1, 1999. The medical had the limitation, that the holder shall wear correcting lenses while exercising the privileges of this airman certificate.

Records obtained from a family member of the pilot did not indicate the pilot's flight experience, however, information obtained from the American Bonanza Society's, Bonanza/Baron Proficiency Program, showed that the pilot had attended the Bonanza Initial Course from September 17 to 19, 1999. The pilot had listed his flight experience on the application for the Bonanza Initial Course, as 700 hours total flight experience, 400 hours in a Bonanza, and 400 hours of instrument flight experience. According to the flight instructor who flew with the pilot during the course, they completed two VFR flights together, and he gave the pilot an endorsement to satisfy the requirement for completing a Biennial Flight review, and for his participation in the FAA Wings Program. The instructor further stated that this endorsement was due to the pilot having attended the Bonanza Initial Course, and was also based on the pilot's "satisfactory" performance during the two VFR flights. The flight instructor also stated that he could not specifically remember, but the pilot either did not request instrument training, or he had stated that he was not instrument rated, and thus was not given instrument flight training during the Bonanza Initial Course.


The airplane was a 1963 model Beech P-35 Bonanza, serial number D7134, registered to the pilot. The aircraft was equipped with a 260 horsepower, Continental IO-470-N engine, serial number CS95834-11. The aircraft was equipped with a Flottorp F12A-3 constant speed propeller, serial number 264. The propeller was installed on the aircraft on March 29, 1995, after it had been overhauled.

At the time of the accident the recorded tachometer reading was 137.27 hours, or 68.03 hours after annual inspection. The aircraft logbook was later obtained from a member of the pilot's family, and it showed that the aircraft had an annual inspection on August 14, 1999, and the total time on the aircraft was 4449.29 hours. At the time of the annual inspection, the recorded tachometer reading was 69.24 hours.


Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed in the area at the time of the accident. The Tri-Cities Regional Airport 1553 surface weather observation was: ceiling 1,300 feet overcast, visibility 10 statute miles, wind from 260 degrees at 7 knots, temperature 46 degrees F, dew point 41 degrees F, altimeter setting 30.26 in. hg.

Witnesses at Hawkins County Airport, the pilot's amended destination, stated that on the day of the accident, the ceiling and visibility at Hawkins County Airport had been both low, and the airport had been closed due to the weather.


N9740Y collided with the terrain at latitude 36 degrees, 30.99 minutes north, longitude 082 degrees, 59.93 minutes west, on the northwest side of Clinch mountain ridge, about 6 nautical miles north of Rogersville, Tennessee, and 6.7 nautical miles from Hawkins County Airport. The aircraft impacted Clinch mountain, which runs southwest to northeast, about 50 feet below the 2,400-foot elevation.

The terrain where the wreckage lay was in a steep area, which had an average slope of about 35 degrees. The wreckage was dispersed on a ledge, with the main wreckage suspended by a few small to medium sized trees.

The wreckage debris field covered an area of about 350 feet, oriented generally along the direction of flight. After initially impacting several trees on the northwest slope, initial ground scars, consistent of terrain impact, were observed about 200 feet upslope, from the impacted trees. Ground scars then extended an additional 50 feet upslope, and the aircraft came to rest upslope from the ground scarred areas, with the empennage and tail sections of the fuselage, elevated, and holding the airplane in place on the slope, suspended by a few small to medium sized trees. The fuselage was perpendicular to the slope, and essentially inverted. Access to the aircraft cabin was hazardous, and could only be gained from down-slope in the vicinity of the cockpit area, which had opened due to the impact.

Freshly cut trees, consistent with the aircraft's in-flight position, immediately down slope of the impact area, exhibited an even cut on all impacted trees, consistent with a wings level flight attitude. A compass bearing, taken from center of the area of impacted trees, toward the initial point of impact, projected through the center of the accident aircraft, showed that the direction of flight was about 150 degrees magnetic. The magnetic bearing from the initial impact point to the Hawkins County Airport was 128 degrees magnetic.

Examination of N9740Y showed that all components necessary for flight were located on or around the main wreckage of the aircraft. Control continuity was not verified, due to the danger associated with how the wreckage was suspended on the slope.

The left wing was found separated from the fuselage, and the outboard section of the right wing had separated from the inboard section at about a mid-span location. The inboard section of the left wing, with flap attached was folded under the fuselage. The flaps were visibly in the retracted position, and the flap actuator measured 1.75 inches, which corresponds to the "flaps up" position. The landing gear had been retracted into the wings. The right ruddervator had separated from the fuselage, and the left ruddervator had been detached from the fuselage, but remained dangling by the trim cables.

The fuselage forward of the rear carry-through had crushed, and exhibited an accordion pattern, in a rearward direction. The instrument panel was largely intact, with several gages readable, but damaged. The Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) mount was empty, and the ELT was never found.

According to the Sheriff's Department, the pilot was found strapped in his seat, about 30 feet in front of the airplane. Examination of the left seat belt showed that the belt had been cut, as a result of extrication efforts. Examination of the airplane's left seat track showed that the seventh hole on the track had been burred.

Examination of the engine showed that it had sustained heavy impact damage, and had become separated from the nose section of the fuselage, with all four of its engine mounts broken. After the impact, the engine had only remained connected to the fuselage by the control cables and wiring harness. The front of the oil sump was severely indented, and wood chips were found indented in the cooling fins, forward of number 6 cylinder. The propeller governor, the right magneto, the oil cooler, and the starter, as well as the alternator, had all been detached from their mounted positions. The throttle body unit had also separated from the engine, with the fuel control unit and mixture control attached. The thumb screen was removed from the fuel control unit, and was observed to be clean and clear of obstructions. The throttle plate was in the full open position, and the mixture control arm was in the full rich position.

The propeller flange and propeller separated from the crankshaft and the separation point was consistent with overstress. The propeller hub with one blade attached, was found upslope, about 40 feet to the left of the main wreckage on top of a ridge, along the general direction of flight. The blade had twisted toward a low pitch position, and its tip had been curled chordwise, in the forward direction. The blade also exhibited heavy scratching, and "S" bending. The other propeller blade separated from the propeller, and was not located. MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

Postmortem examination of the pilot was performed by Gretel C. Harlan M.D., Forensic Pathologist, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee. The cause of death was attributed to multiple traumatic injuries. No findings, which could be considered causal to the accident, were reported. Toxicological studies on specimens, obtained from the pilot, were performed by East Tennessee State University, as well as the FAA Toxicology Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The tests were negative for carbon monoxide, ethanol, and cyanide. The East Tennessee University State University toxicology report was positive for caffeine. The FAA toxicology report was positive for quinine, which was detected in urine.


On November 15, 2000, the aircraft wreckage was released by the NTSB to Mr. Royce Bosselman, a Claims Adjuster for AIG Aviation. No components were retained by the NTSB for any further testing.

NTSB Probable Cause

the pilot's improper in-flight planning/decision and continued visual flight into instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) that resulted in an in-flight collision with terrain and subsequent damage to the aircraft.

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