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N72615 accident description

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Crash location 41.150833°N, 104.801944°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 Cheyenne, WY
41.139981°N, 104.820246°W
1.2 miles away

Tail number N72615
Accident date 10 Jul 2003
Aircraft type Casa 2.111
Additional details: None

NTSB description


On July 10, 2003, approximately 1310 mountain daylight time, N72615, a CASA 2.111, registered to and operated by the American Airpower Heritage Fly Museum, was destroyed when it collided with a building 2 miles southeast of the Cheyenne Municipal Airport, Cheyenne, Wyoming. The airline transport certificated pilot and copilot were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed for the cross-country flight being conducted under Title 14 CFR Part 91. The flight originated at Midland, Texas, approximately 1030, and was en route to Missoula, Montana, for an air show.

According to control tower personnel, the tower controller cleared the pilot to land on runway 26. The airplane was on a 3-mile straight-in final approach when controllers saw it turning left. When they asked the pilot what his intentions were, he replied: "We just lost our left engine." The pilot then reported that he wasn't going to make it to the airport. Several witnesses observed the airplane flying "low to the ground and under-speed for [a] good 4 minutes." The right propeller was turning, but the left propeller was not turning. They saw no smoke or fire coming from the left engine. One witness said the pilot was "obviously trying to pull up. The plane dipped hard left," then struck the ground with its left wing. It traveled through a chain link fence, struck a parked automobile, and slid into a school bus wash barn. The ensuing fire destroyed the airplane, parked car, and wash barn. One witness observed the "tail cartwheel above the roof [of the wash barn] and then shower[ed] debris into another building in [the] rear of [the] bus barn."


The pilot, 56, held an airline transport pilot certificate with an airplane multiengine land rating, type ratings in the Boeing 757 and 767, and commercial privileges for airplane single-engine land, rotorcraft-helicopter, and instrument-helicopter ratings. He held a flight instructor certificate with airplane single/multiengine ratings. He also held a ground instructor certificate with a basic rating. His first class airman medical certificate, dated February 21, 2003, contained the limitation, "Must have available glasses for near and intermediate vision." On February 20, 2003, he successfully completed an American Airpower Heritage Fly Museum proficiency check, and was designated pilot-in-command in the HE-111 on March 5, 2003. He was a captain with America West Airlines.

The copilot, 54, held an airline transport pilot certificate with an airplane multiengine land rating, type ratings in the Airbus A320, Boeing 737, and Sikorsky S70, and commercial privileges for airplane single-engine land, glider, rotorcraft-helicopter, and instrument-helicopter ratings. He held a flight instructor certificate with airplane single/multiengine, instrument-airplane, and rotorcraft-helicopter ratings. The pilot also held a mechanic certificate with airframe and powerplant ratings. His first class airman medical certificate, dated May 19, 2003, contained the limitation, "Must wear corrective lenses for near and distant vision." On October 4, 2001, he successfully completed an American Airpower Heritage Fly Museum proficiency check, and was designated copilot in the HE-111 on November 1, 2001. He was a captain with U.S. Air.


The Spanish manufacturer, CASA, manufactured the airplane, a model 2.111 (s/n T8-B-124), in 1952. The airplane was a replica of the Heinkel HE-111, a World War II German Air Force bomber. The airplane was powered by two Rolls-Royce Merlin 500 V-12, liquid-cooled engines (s/n 45-306915, left; 307205, right), each rated at 1,200 horsepower, driving two 3-bladed, hydraulically-controlled, constant speed, full-feathering propellers.

The airplane was maintained under an FAA-approved continuous inspection program. The last airframe and engine inspections were conducted on April 18, 2003, and August 20, 2001, respectively, when the airframe had accrued 1,895.1 and 1,834.6 hours, respectively. The last pitot-static system and transponder checks were done on March 14, 2003. .


At the time of the accident, the current METAR (routine meteorological report) for Cheyenne Municipal Airport was as follows: Wind, 010 degrees at 12 knots, gusting to 15 knots; visibility, 10 statute miles (or greater); sky condition, clear; temperature, 29 degrees Celsius; dew point, 1 degree Celsius; altimeter setting, 30.31 inches of mercury.


A ground scar in the dirt contained pieces of the left wing. The scar led up to a portion of a chain link fence that had been torn down. The airplane then struck a parked automobile and a school bus wash barn. The ensuing post-impact fire destroyed the automobile and heavily damaged the school bus wash barn. With the exception of the outboard portion of the right wing and both engines, fire consumed the airplane.


On July 11, 2003, the Laramie County Coroner's Office conducted an autopsies on the pilot-in-command and copilot. FAA's Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI) performed toxicological tests on specimens taken from the pilot and copilot. According to CAMI's reports (#200300208001 and #200300208002), all tests were negative.


The left engine was disassembled and examined on August 12, 2003. Before disassembly, however, engine rotation was accomplished. When viewed from the rear, the "A" magneto is on the left side and the "B" magneto is on the right side of the engine. The exhaust manifold, camshafts, and rockers; the "A" and "B" bank flame traps, pistons, and cylinder walls, and the crankshaft were unremarkable. The "A" bank spark plugs were oil-fouled, and the "B" bank spark plugs were clean. The oil filter contained normal amounts of metal deposits. Although the magnetos and fuel pump were burned, no discrepancies were noted.

The right engine was disassembled and examined on September 9, 2003. No discrepancies were noted.


The following are excerpts from the Airplane Flight Manual. The airplane has a fuel capacity of 930 gallons. Each engine consumes approximately 60 gallons per hour, giving the airplane a 7 hour, 45 minute endurance. The engines are equipped with float-type carburetors that are sensitive to deck angle (or pitch attitude) and high fuel pressures. The engines may lose power if the deck angle exceeds 15 degrees or if the fuel pressure exceeds 9 psi.

There is an engine-driven fuel pump on each engine, and there is an electric boost pump between each engine and the fuel tank valves. The boost pumps should be on "any time the aircraft is flown within 1,000 feet of the surface." The boost pumps provide adequate backup fuel pressure to prevent an engine power loss if an engine-driven fuel pump should fail.

Maximum power will probably be required to maintain flight if an engine should lose power. Maximum power at slow airspeed may cause a loss of directional control.

Other than the Federal Aviation Administration, there were no designated parties to this investigation.

The wreckage was released to the insurance company on August 13, 2003.

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