NTSB Identification: ERA13FA082
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, December 08, 2012 in Lake Worth, FL
Aircraft: CESSNA 421C, registration: N297DB
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 December 8, 2012, at 1334 eastern standard time, a Cessna 421C, N297DB, was destroyed when it collided with trees and terrain following a loss of control after takeoff from North Palm Beach County Airpark (LNA), Lantana, Florida. The certificated commercial pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight, which was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.
The pilot took delivery of the airplane from a maintenance facility that had just completed an annual inspection and repainting of the airplane. According to the owner of the facility, a certificated pilot and an airframe and powerplant mechanic, the pilot completed the preflight inspection and the airplane was towed outside. The pilot started the airplane, but then shutdown to resolve an alternator charging light. Afterwards, the pilot stated that he planned to fly to Okeechobee, Florida, complete a few landings, and then continue to Miami.
According to the mechanic, the pilot performed a ground run of the airplane for several minutes before taxiing to the approach end of Runway 3 for takeoff. The airplane lifted off about halfway down the runway and climbed at a “normal” rate. The mechanic then observed the airplane suddenly yaw to the left “for a second or two” and the airplane’s nose continued to pitch up before rolling left and descending vertically, nose-down, until it disappeared from view.
Several witnesses provided similar accounts to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the local sheriff’s department. One witness, a certificated flight instructor said, “The airplane just kept pitching up, and then it looked like a VMC roll.”
The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land and sea, multiengine land and instrument airplane. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued on February 27, 2008. An examination of the pilot’s logbook revealed that he had logged 1,217 total hours of flight experience, of which 175 hours were in multiengine airplanes.
According to FAA records, the airplane was manufactured in 1980. Its most recent annual inspection was completed December 3, 2012, at 7,039.9 aircraft hours. The airplane had accrued 2.2 hours of flight time after the inspection.
The wreckage was examined at the accident site on December 9, 2012, and all major components were accounted for at the scene. The airplane was consumed by post-impact fire back to the aft pressure bulkhead. The wing spars were intact, and control cable continuity was established from the cockpit to the flight control surfaces. Examination of the main landing gear actuators revealed positions consistent with a down-and-locked configuration.
Both engines were significantly damaged by post-crash fire. All three propeller blades of the left engine were attached at the hub, and in the “feathered” position. The right engine’s propeller blades were destroyed by impact and fire. One blade was separated and not recovered. The remaining blade hubs showed positions consistent with low pitch.
Preliminary external and borescope examinations of both engines revealed continuity throughout and no mechanical anomalies. The engines were retained for detailed examination at a later date.
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