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On April 27, 1999, about 2015 Eastern Daylight Time, a Cessna 150G, N8426J, was substantially damaged while landing at a private unlisted grass airstrip, at Watertown, New York. The certified flight instructor (CFI) was fatally injured, and the student pilot sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight that originated from Watertown International Airport (ART), Watertown, New York. No flight plan was filed for the instructional flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.
According to the student pilot, he and the CFI departed the private airstrip to complete a local training flight. They flew to ART, where the student performed takeoffs and landings. They then flew back to the private airstrip at approximately 1,000 feet above ground level. The student pilot stated that the CFI flew the approach to the grass runway. He further stated that they did not experience any difficulties with the airplane, and everything "looked normal." While they were on final approach, the airplane collided with utility wires, and the student pilot had no further recollection of the accident.
The accident occurred during the hours of daylight approximately 44 degrees, 4 minutes, 16 seconds north latitude, and 75 degrees, 53 minutes, 29 seconds west longitude.
The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land, airplane multiengine land, instrument airplane, and glider aero tow. He also held a certified flight instructor certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land, and instrument airplane. Additionally, he held a mechanic certificate with ratings for airframe and engine.
His most recent Federal Aviation Administration Second Class Medical Certificate was issued on May 8, 1998, with a limitation of "MUST WEAR CORRECTIVE LENSES FOR NEAR AND DISTANT VISION." The pilot's logbook was not recovered. However, on the most recent medical certificate application, the pilot reported 6,000 hours of flight experience.
Although the student pilot did not have a medical certificate or logbook, he stated that he had approximately 30 hours of flight experience.
The wreckage was examined at the accident site on April 28, 1999. The airplane was found intact, inverted, and oriented on an approximate 220 degree heading at the private airstrip. Ground scars were observed in front of the wreckage, approximately 7 feet 6 inches long, oriented to a 040 degree heading. A severed utility cable was observed on the ground, in the vicinity of the wreckage.
Examination of the wreckage revealed no pre-impact mechanical malfunctions. Fuel was present in both fuel tanks and the gasculator. The wing flaps were observed in the full extended position. The right wing sustained crushing damage approximately 1 foot 5 inches deep, extending 9 feet 4 inches from the wing root, to the wing tip. An approximate 4 foot section of the fuselage was buckled, about 4 feet forward of the horizontal stabilizer. Minor damage to the tip of the vertical stabilizer, and slight buckling on the upward side of the horizontal stabilizer was observed. There was no visible damage to the left wing. The engine and cowling sustained extensive crushing damage, and contained evidence of a post-crash fire. The nose gear was observed separated from the airplane. One propeller blade exhibited slight rearward bending, both blades contained chordwise scoring, and one blade contained gouging consistent with a wire strike.
The engine was removed from the airplane for further examination. The propeller was rotated freely by hand. Crankshaft continuity was confirmed, and thumb compression was attained on all four cylinders. The valve covers were removed, oil was observed, and valve train continuity was confirmed. When rotated by hand, both magnetos produced a spark at all four towers. When the oil filter was removed and inspected, it was absent of metallic contamination. The fuel screen was charred, but absent of contamination.
Examination of the cockpit area revealed that the seats were intact, lapbelts were present, and shoulder harnesses were not installed. The cockpit area contained occupiable space. The left handle of the right control yoke was severed. Flight control continuity was confirmed from all control surfaces to the cockpit area.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy was performed on the pilot, on April 28, 1999, by Dr. Virgilio Alon of the Jefferson County Medical Examiner's Office at Samaritan Hospital, Watertown, New York. The toxicological testing report from the FAA Toxicology Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, was negative for drugs and alcohol for the pilot.
The student pilot stated that the CFI was not wearing eyeglasses during the flight, because he only needed them for reading. A review of the CFI's FAA medical certificate report, issued March 10, 1997, revealed that the CFI tested 20/60 for distant vision in his left eye. A restriction for distant vision was added to his medical certificate. At that time, he had a restriction for near vision, and a waiver for color blindness.
According to a Cessna representative, shoulder harnesses were not standard equipment on the year, make, and model of the accident airplane. However, they were available for purchase and retrofitting.
The aircraft logbooks were not recovered at the accident site. A written request for the aircraft and pilot logbooks was sent to the pilot's family on April 30, 1999. As of July 10, 1999, no logbooks were provided.
The wreckage was released to the pilot's family on April 29, 1999.