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On February 5, 1999, about 2156 eastern standard time, a Cessna 210J, N6174F, registered to Aero Jet Service Center Inc., operating as a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, crashed into the Gulf of Mexico, while on approach for landing at the Naples Municipal Airport, Naples, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The airplane was destroyed. The private pilot was fatally injured. The flight originated from Everglades Airpark, Everglades City, Florida, about 16 minutes before the accident.
According to ATC personnel at Naples tower, the pilot initially reported 10 miles south of the airport for landing at 0250:51 UTC (2150 EST). The pilot was instructed to report 2 miles south of the airport on a right base for runway 5. At 0253:52, N6174F was instructed to follow a seminole on a midfield right downwind at his 1 o'clock position. N6174F replied that he would be looking for him and asked if the traffic was out over the coast. The controller informed him that the traffic was midfield, right downwind, just passing the tower, in his 1 o'clock position, 2 miles. N6174F acknowledged the call and asked if he should take a left turn now. The controller informed told him to turn to the left and stated the traffic crossing in front of him from right to left at about a mile. At 0254:34, N6174F was instructed to turn base and asked if he had the traffic. N6174F stated he saw something below and asked if there was any helicopter traffic. N6174F was informed, "not that I'm aware of I don't think so just ah seminole on a right base right now in your two o'clock position I believe." At 0255:22, N6174F stated, "uh, negative I don't see him I need to uh turn right if I could pretty quick." The controller stated, "go ahead and turn right the seminole is on a one mile straight in final right now he's two miles off your right side no factor no more." At 0255:42, the controller stated, "six one seven four foxtrot cleared to land." N6174F replied, "ah can you repeat that please." At 0255:58, the controller stated, "seven four foxtrot you appear to be extremely low do you have the aircraft in sight." There was no other recorded conversation with N7164F.
A witness was walking with two friends in the vicinity of Naples pier when he observed two lights out over the water, one red and one white, that he assumed were on an aircraft. He stated the lights were descending toward the water at about a 45 degree angle. He thought the lights were a considerable distance from him and does not think the lights were rotating, spinning or curving but because of the angle he felt there was something wrong. This surprised him as he told his friends to look at the lights, but they did not see the lights before the lights extinguished on the horizon. He and his friends immediately went to a nearby police cruiser and alerted them. Emergency vehicles were at the beach within 15 minutes and a helicopter was over the sight of impact.
The 47-year-old pilot held a private pilot certificate with airplane single engine land rating issued on July 22, 1999. The pilot indicated on his application for a third class medical certificate issued on June 17, 1998, that he had accumulated 90 total flight hours. Attempts to locate the pilot's logbook were uneventful.
The pilot completed a Member's Registration Form at Wolf Aero Flying Club, Naples, Florida, on July 24, 1998. He indicated on the application that he had accumulated 100 total hours in single engine land airplanes with 5 hours instrument time. No night flight time was recorded on the registration form. Review of billing records on file at Wolf Aero Flying Club revealed the pilot flew eight times for a total of 13 hours. The first recorded flight was on July 25, 1998, and the last recorded flight was on November 14, 1998.
The pilot completed an application for aircraft rental with Ambassador Airways on November 27, 1998. The pilot wanted to rent N6174F, since he had rented the airplane through Wolf Aero Flying Club. The pilot was initially checked out in the airplane by Wolf Aero on November 27, 1998. The checkout was for 1.3 hours. The pilot flew the airplane on November 28, 1998, for 5.4 hours. The pilot was informed that he could not rent the airplane from Ambassador Airways since he did not meet the insurance requirements. The pilot asked if he obtained insurance if he could rent the airplane. His request was approved and the pilot provided Ambassador Airways with a copy of a non-owned aircraft binder confirmation issued by Avemco Insurance company on December 29, 1998. The pilot was checked out in N6174F by Ambassador Airways on December 30, 1998, and was signed off by the certified flight instructor for day-VFR use. He flew the airplane on January 2, 1999, January 8, 1999, and on the day of the accident for a total of 6.7 hours. The pilot's last recorded night flight before the accident was on January 2, 1999.
Review of aircraft maintenance records revealed that the altimeter instrument, static pressure system tests and inspections, automatic pressure altitude reporting system tests and inspections, and transponder tests and inspections were completed on May 15, 1997.
Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. For additional weather information see page 3 of this report.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The wreckage of N6174F was located by the Collier County Sheriff's Office Marine Patrol Unit in the Gulf of Mexico on February 7, 1999. The crash site is about 2.1 nautical miles from shore in about 25 to 30 feet of water, and about 4.3 nautical miles southwest of the Naples Municipal Airport, Naples, Florida. Aircraft instruments and some miscellaneous items were recovered by the Marine Patrol Unit on February 11, 1999, and placed in evidence awaiting examination by the NTSB.
The registered owner contracted a private salvage company to retrieve the aircraft wreckage on February 7, 1999. The salvage company was unable to relocate the wreckage and the salvage operation was terminated at about 1800 hours due to time and financial limits. The engine was located and salvaged by Del Ray Marine Management Inc., Naples, Florida, in the Gulf of Mexico on February 16, 1999, at coordinates N 26 06' W 81 49'. The engine was impounded by the Collier County Sheriff's Department on February 18, 1999, for further examination by the NTSB. The fuselage was not recovered or examined by the NTSB.
Examination of the engine assembly and accessories revealed no evidence of a precrash mechanical failure or malfunction. The propeller assembly was not recovered, and had separated at the propeller flange.
Examination of the Airborne vacuum pump revealed the drive would rotate freely by hand. Disassembly revealed the rotor and vanes were not damaged.
Examination of the pressure altimeter revealed no evidence of a precrash mechanical failure or malfunction. No factory seal was installed. The back plate and barometric knob was missing. The barometric adjusted shaft on which the barometric knob was mounted on was sheared off. Disassembly revealed the sector pivots and screw pivots were broken. No tension was present on the hair spring to the sector and sector pointer. The three piece diaphragm had separated from each other. End play was present on the top of the bridge plate; however, there was no scarring on the top plate gears. The 10,000 and 1,000-foot pointer remained attached to the hand staff. The 100-foot pointer separated from the hand staff and was stuck to the front on the glass plate.
Examination of the vertical speed indicator revealed no evidence of a precrash mechanical failure or malfunction. The diffuser was in place on the back of the case. The zero adjustment was inoperative. Disassembly revealed the sector gear was mated with the hand staff. There was no damage to the sector pivots and the diaphragm was not damaged.
Examination of the attitude gyro revealed no evidence of a precrash mechanical failure or malfunction. The gyro assembly was intact and had separated from the case assembly. The rotor assembly was intact and attached to the gimbal. There was no evidence of rotational scarring on the rotor or gyro housing.
Examination of the directional gyro revealed no evidence of a precrash mechanical failure or malfunction. The directional gyro sustained impact damage. Disassembly revealed one sector pivot was broken and had separated from the rotor housing. The gimbal ring was broken at the pivot support point. The bearing and bearing holder was attached to the gimbal. No scarring was present on the rotor or gyro housing.
Examination of the turn and slip coordinator revealed no evidence of a precrash mechanical failure or malfunction. The case sustained impact damage. A dent was located on the right side of the case. The pointer was stuck to the right on the dog house. Disassembly revealed the rotor was attached to the gimbal. The rotor bearing rotated freely. Rotational scarring was present on the rotor. No rotational scarring was present on the gyro.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
Postmortem examination of the pilot was conducted by Dr. Marta U. Coburn, District Medical Examiner, District 20, Naples, Florida, on February 6, 1999. The cause of death was blunt force injuries. Postmortem toxicology of specimens from the pilot was performed by the Forensic Toxicology Research Section, Federal aviation Administration, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. These studies were negative for neutral, acidic, and basic drugs.
TEST AND RESEARCH
N6174F was not issued a discrete transponder code for radar identification. The airplane approached Naples Municipal Airport from the south in VFR conditions without the assistance of any radar. The air traffic control facility located at Fort Myers, Florida, was not recording the Naples traffic at the time of the accident.
The Naples Police Department released miscellaneous items retrieved from the Gulf of Mexico to Mr. Rex L. Gasteiger, Aerojet Aviation Inc., on February 6, 1999. The engine assembly was released to Mr. Mark Cherney, Chief Pilot, Collier County Sheriff's Department on February 23, 1999. Partial aircraft wreckage that was retrieved from the Gulf of Mexico was released to Mr. Rudi Dekkers, President, Ambassador Airways (Aerojet Aviation Inc.) on February 23, 1999. Mr. Dekkers, signed a notarized statement on NTSB Form 6120.15 stating that aircraft instruments retained for further analysis by the NTSB could be disposed of after the examination was completed on February 23, 1999.