NTSB Identification: CEN14FA185
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, April 05, 2014 in Albany, OH
Probable Cause Approval Date: 10/09/2014
Aircraft: BELLANCA 17-30A, registration: N8259R
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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.

The pilot was using flight following services from air traffic control during the return leg of the cross-country flight, and, about 12 miles from the destination, the pilot reported to the approach controller that he had the airport in sight. Two witnesses reported seeing the airplane traveling toward the airport and then “nose dive” to a nearby quarry’s property. One of the witnesses indicated that the back of the airplane hit a tree and that the airplane subsequently impacted the ground. The other witness said that the airplane engine was making a “buzzing” noise after the airplane crashed but that he did not hear anything before the crash. The main airplane wreckage came to rest inverted near a tree line about 2,300 feet northwest of the runway’s displaced threshold. Trees in the tree line exhibited broken and cut branches along about a 300-foot-long path, and the airplane was found fragmented and signs of a ground fire were observed along the path. The crankshaft propeller flange had separated from the crankshaft.
A family member who flew with the pilot during an earlier leg of the cross-country flight reported that the airplane’s engine seemed harder to start than usual and that, during cruise, a distinct engine vibration occurred when the fuel mixture was leaned. However, examinations revealed no preimpact airframe or engine anomalies that would have precluded normal operation. Further, during an engine test run conducted after engine items that had sustained impact damage were replaced and a centering pilot shaft and the propeller flange were welded to the engine’s crankshaft separation point, the engine ran normally, and no preimpact engine anomalies were detected. On the basis of the evidence, it is likely that the pilot lost control of the airplane during the approach to landing.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The pilot’s loss of airplane control during the approach to landing.

Full narrative available

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