NTSB Identification: ERA12FA412
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, June 25, 2012 in Gold Hill, NC
Aircraft: SOCATA TB21, registration: N2528N
Injuries: 1 Fatal.
This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
On June 25, 2012, at 0421 eastern daylight time, a Socata TB21, N2528N, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain shortly after takeoff from Gold Hill Airport (NC25), Gold Hill, North Carolina. The certificated private pilot was fatally injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan had been filed for the personal flight destined for Lancaster Airport (LNS), Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.
According to the pilot's wife, he intended to fly the airplane from his home airport (NC25), to Germany, where he had another residence. He planned to make several stops along the way for fueling. On the morning of the accident, she assisted him in pulling the airplane from the hangar and observed the pilot load the airplane and taxi toward the runway. She reported it was a "little foggy" when the pilot departed, but did not observe the airplane depart due to her viewpoint on the field.
A witness who was driving toward NC25 observed what he described as a "bright spotlight" which appeared to be on an airplane flying away from NC25. Shortly afterward, he observed white and gray smoke coming from the airplane, which turned to an orange color. He also observed the airplane's wings rocking back and forth, and the airplane veered to the right just prior to impacting the trees. The witness also reported fog in the area when he observed the airplane.
Preliminary air traffic control information provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that an IFR clearance was relayed through the Flight Service Station to the pilot, with a release void time of 0410. The pilot did not contact any air traffic facilities, and a subsequent search and rescue effort was initiated. At 0421, the Rowan County Sheriff's Department received a telephone call regarding a possible airplane accident in Gold Hill. Department personnel located the airplane in a field about 1/2 mile north of NC25 at 0557.
The initial impact point was at the top of an approximately 60-foot-tall tree, where a portion of the left wing was wrapped around the tree. At the base of the tree, the left flap was observed, separated into two sections. The wreckage path continued on a heading of about 270 degrees magnetic for approximately 150 feet to the main wreckage. Several pieces of 90-degree cut wood, with black paint transfer were located along the wreckage path.
The main wreckage was oriented on an approximate heading of 090 degrees magnetic and nearly completely consumed by fire. The flight control tubes were all accounted for at the accident site. The tubes to the tail section were separated in several sections and melted in the cockpit area. Both aileron tubes were separated from their respective wing sections. The trim and flap settings could not be determined to due impact and fire damage.
The engine came to rest separated from the firewall and resting nose-down against a tree. The propeller remained attached to the engine; one blade was relatively straight and one blade was bent forward about 10 degrees at mid-span. Located in the vicinity of the engine was a non-approved fuel line and valve. Additionally, about 15 feet from the engine, an aluminum can was observed, which was safety-wired to the outlet of the air-oil separator.
After removal from the accident site, the engine was further examined. It was rotated at the propeller flange, and valve train continuity was confirmed on all cylinders. Thumb compression was also confirmed on all cylinders, with the exception of the No. 2 cylinder, which displayed severe heat damage.
The weather recorded at 0355, at an airport located 13 miles to the northwest, included calm winds, and ½ mile visibility in fog, with an indefinite cloud ceiling at 500 feet. The temperature was 20 degrees C, the dew point was 18 degrees C, and the altimeter setting was 29.89 inches Hg.
The weather recorded at 0355, at an airport located 10 nm to the southeast, included calm winds, 10 miles visibility, overcast clouds at 900 feet, temperature 22 degrees C, dew point 21 degrees C, and altimeter setting of 29.93 inches Hg.
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