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N2351Z accident description

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Crash location 38.252222°N, 77.091944°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 King George, VA
38.268184°N, 77.184422°W
5.1 miles away

Tail number N2351Z
Accident date 19 May 2002
Aircraft type Beech 23
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On May 19, 2002, about 1020 eastern daylight time, a Beech 23, N2351Z, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain while maneuvering near King George, Virginia. The certificated private pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

The flight departed Shannon Airport (EZF), Fredericksburg, Virginia, about 1000. According to a witness who was a friend of the pilot, the pilot occasionally performed a "fly around" over the witness's residence. About 1020, the witness was in his garage and heard an airplane fly overhead. The witness waved his arms and the pilot then "waggled" the wings. The airplane circled the residence twice, and during the second circuit, it quickly banked left. The airplane rolled out on a southerly heading, and approached the house again. It then began to lose altitude, and the witness heard the engine rev to what he assumed was full throttle. However, the airplane continued to lose altitude and the pilot raised the nose approximately 10 degrees. The airplane cleared the witness's house by 25-30 feet, struck a tree at 50-60 mph, and came to rest in the front yard.

A neighbor had recorded a portion of the accident flight with his video camera. Review of the recording revealed that the airplane had traveled behind trees, and the attitude prior to impact could not be determined. However, prior to the sound of impact, the engine revved to a high power setting.

The accident occurred during hours of daylight; and was located about 38 degrees 15.13 minutes north latitude, 77 degrees 05.51 minutes west longitude.


The pilot held a private pilot certificate, with a rating for airplane single engine land. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third class medical certificate was issued on August 1, 2000.

According to the pilot's logbook, he had a total flight experience of approximately 398 hours; of which, about 320 hours were in the accident airplane. The pilot had flown the accident airplane about 7 hours within the 30 days preceding the accident.


The airplane's most recent annual inspection was performed on May 11, 2002. At the time of the inspection, the airplane had accumulated about 3,134 hours of total flight time. From the time of inspection until the accident, the airplane had accumulated about 1 hour of flight time.

According to a representative from a fixed based operator at EZF, the pilot had purchased 14 gallons of fuel about 2 weeks prior to the accident flight. The representative added that the pilot usually fueled the airplane "to the tabs."

The airplane was manufactured in 1962, and was not equipped with shoulder harnesses.


The reported wind at EZF, at 1025, was from 350 degrees at 5 knots. The witness estimated a 5-15 mph tailwind during the accident sequence.


The wreckage was examined at the accident site on May 20, 2002. The airplane was found intact, inverted, and oriented about a 240-degree heading. It was located on an approximate 150-degree bearing, about 15 feet from the damaged tree. Impact marks were observed on the tree, reaching a height of about 30 feet. According to witnesses, a strong odor of fuel was present after the crash, and some nearby vegetation was discolored. All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the scene.

Examination of the wreckage revealed no pre-impact mechanical malfunctions. Flight control continuity was confirmed from all control surfaces to the control column. The right wing fuel tank was compromised and the left wing fuel tank was destroyed. The flaps were observed in the retracted position, the right aileron was deflected upward, and the left aileron was deflected downward. Both wings exhibited impact damage at the leading edge, but the damage to the right wing was more severe.

The fuel selector was found between the "LEFT" and "RIGHT" positions. The throttle was in the full forward position, and the mixture was found in the rich position. The cockpit area was crushed, and the fuselage was partially separated aft of the rear seats. The empennage was twisted and canted to the left, but there was little damage to the vertical stabilizer or horizontal stabilator. The stabilator and rudder were found in an approximate neutral position. The elevator trim was found beyond the nose down limit, consistent with impact damage.

The engine remained partially attached to the cockpit, and was resting in a crater, about 14 inches deep. The engine was removed from the airplane for examination. The propeller remained attached to the engine. One blade exhibited s-bending and the other was bent slightly aft. The spark plugs and valve covers were removed from the engine. The spark plug electrodes were intact and light gray in color, except for the number one top and bottom plugs which were coated with oil film. The propeller was rotated freely by hand. Crankshaft, camshaft, and valve train continuity were confirmed, and thumb compression was attained on all four cylinders. When both magnetos were removed and rotated with a power drill, they produced spark at all towers. The oil filter was removed and inspected, and it was absent of contamination.

Fuel was found in the engine driven fuel pump, and it was consistent in smell to 100LL avgas. An unidentified liquid was also found throughout the engine. However, witnesses stated that emergency personnel sprayed the engine with an "Anti-HAZMAT" liquid after the accident.


An autopsy was performed on the pilot by personnel from the Virginia State Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Richmond, Virginia.

Toxicological testing was conducted on the pilot at the FAA Toxicology Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.


Although emergency personnel had cut the front lap belts, the rear seat passenger's lap belt brackets had separated. The lap belt brackets were forwarded to the Safety Board's Materials Laboratory for further examination. According to a Safety Board Metallurgist, the fractures in both brackets were consistent with overstress.


Review of Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) 91.119 revealed:

"Except when necessary for takeoff or landing, no person may operate an aircraft below the following altitudes:

(a) Anywhere. An altitude allowing, if a power unit fails, an emergency landing without undue hazard to persons or property on the surface.

(b) Over congested areas. Over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open air assembly of persons, an altitude of 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within a horizontal radius of 2,000 feet of the aircraft.

(c) Over other than congested areas. An altitude of 500 feet above the surface, except over open water or sparsely populated areas. In those cases, the aircraft may not be operated closer than 500 feet to any person, vessel, vehicle, or structure."

The wreckage was released to a representative of the owner's insurance company on August 28, 2001.

(c) 2009-2018 Lee C. Baker / Crosswind Software, LLC. For informational purposes only.