NTSB Identification: CEN13FA049
Nonscheduled 14 CFR Part 135: Air Taxi & Commuter
Accident occurred Tuesday, November 06, 2012 in Wichita, KS
Aircraft: Cessna 208B, registration: N793FE
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 November 6, 2012, about 0745 central standard time, a Cessna model 208B airplane, N793FE, was substantially damaged when it collided with a hedgerow during a forced landing following a loss of engine power near Wichita, Kansas. The loss of engine power occurred about 4-1/2 minutes after departing Wichita Mid-Continent Airport (KICT), Wichita, Kansas. The commercial pilot, who was the sole occupant, was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to the Federal Express Corporation and operated by Baron Aviation Services Incorporated, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 135 while on an instrument flight plan. Day visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the cargo flight that had the intended destination of Garden City Regional Airport (KGCK), Garden City, Kansas.

According to air traffic control transmissions, the pilot requested an instrument flight rules clearance from KICT to KGCK at 0734:35. Radar track data indicated that the airplane departed runway 19R approximately 0737:45. At 0738:18, the tower controller told the pilot to change to the departure control frequency. The departure controller cleared the flight to proceed direct to KGCK and to climb to 8,000 feet mean sea level (msl). The airplane continued to climb on a westerly heading until 0742:02, at which time the airplane began a left 180-degree turn back toward the departure airport. At 0742:13, the pilot transmitted that his airplane had experienced a loss of engine power and that he was attempting to return to the departure airport. At 0742:30, the pilot asked if there were any nearby airports because he was unable to reach KICT. The departure controller provided vectors toward an airstrip that was approximately 2.5 miles southeast of the airplane’s position. At 0743:46, the pilot advised that he could not see the airstrip because the airplane’s windshield was contaminated with oil. At 0744:57, the pilot transmitted that he was landing in a grass field. During the pilot’s last voice transmission, the airplane was located about 2.2 miles south of KICT at 1,600 feet msl, about 300 feet above ground level (agl). The radar data continued northeast another 1/2 mile before radar contact was lost at 0745:16.

A witness to the accident reported that he outside his residence when he observed the accident airplane overfly his position. He recalled that the airplane’s propeller was not rotating and that there was no engine noise. He stated that the airplane landed in a nearby agricultural field on a northeast heading. He reported that during the landing rollout the airplane impacted a hedgerow located at the northern edge of the field. The witness indicated that the pilot was unresponsive when he arrived at the accident site and that there was a small grass fire located 8 to 10 feet in front of the main wreckage.

The closest weather observing station was located at the departure airport, about 2 miles north of the accident site. At 0753, the KICT automated surface observing system reported the following weather conditions: wind 200 degrees magnetic at 5 knots, visibility 7 miles, few clouds at 6,500 feet above ground level (agl) and scattered clouds at 11,000 and 20,000 feet agl, temperature 04 degrees Celsius, dew point 02 degrees Celsius, altimeter setting 30.08 inches of mercury.

An on-scene investigation was completed by representatives with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Cessna Aircraft Company, Pratt & Whitney Canada, and the operator Baron Aviation Services Incorporated. The airplane landed in a recently planted field of winter wheat. The dry agricultural field contained depressions consistent with the tire width of the accident airplane. These tire tracks began about 518 feet from the hedgerow located on the field’s northern border. The airplane was found comingled with a large tree that was part of the hedgerow. The right side of the forward fuselage, including the cockpit, had collided with the trunk of the tree. Both wings were found partially separated from the fuselage. There was engine oil observed on the airframe, including the cockpit windshield, from the nose bowl aft to the empennage surfaces. The observed oil contamination was primarily located on the left side of the airframe. The pilot-side storm window was found open. The wing flaps were fully extended according to a measurement of the flap actuator jackscrew. Flight control cable continuity could not be established for the aileron cable circuit due to damage; however, all observed cable separations were consistent with overload or were cut to facilitate wreckage recovery. Flight control cable continuity was confirmed to the rudder and elevator cable circuits. The emergency engine power lever was found stowed, the propeller lever was in the feathered position, and the both fuel control valves were in the OFF position. The engine was removed from the airframe for a teardown examination. The engine examination revealed a failure of the engine gas generator initiating from a compressor turbine blade separation. The compressor turbine wheel, power turbine shaft housing, and oil-cooler/heat-exchanger were retained for additional metallurgical examination. The engine monitoring system device was retained for a non-volatile memory download.

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