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On February 19, 1994, at 1815 hours Pacific standard time, a Stinson 108-3, N6009M, collided with a power line and crashed about 3.75 miles west of Redlands Municipal Airport, Redlands, California. The pilot was conducting a local visual flight rules personal flight. The airplane, registered to and operated by the pilot, was destroyed by impact and the postimpact fire. The certificated private pilot, the sole occupant, sustained fatal injuries. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The flight originated at Redlands Airport about 1739 hours.
A witness reported that he observed the accident airplane flying from the west to the east at a very low altitude. About five seconds later, the airplane's right wheel struck the power line. After colliding with the power line, the airplane pitched upward and turned 180 degrees before it struck the ground.
The pilot held a private pilot certificate with an airplane, single-engine land rating which contained an endorsement prohibiting night flying. The pilot had not received any night flying experience when he applied for the private pilot certificate.
A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) designated medical examiner issued the pilot his last third-class medical certificate on May 11, 1993. The certificate contained a "must wear corrective lenses..." limitation endorsement. The pilot indicated in the medical application form that he was convicted of driving while under the influence on an unspecified date in June 1988.
The pilot's family provided the National Transportation Safety Board with the pilot's flight hours and the airplane's maintenance logbooks. Investigators examined the logbooks at Aero Retrieval, Compton Airport, Compton, California, on February 24, 1994.
The pilot's logbook showed that the pilot had accrued 388 total flight hours as of February 13, 1994, of which 344 were logged as pilot-in-command (PIC). The pilot logged 227 hours in the accident airplane, all of which were as PIC. During the preceding 90 days of the accident, the pilot logged 12 hours. According to the logbook, the pilot satisfactorily completed a biennial flight review on June 27, 1993.
The maintenance records showed that an airframe and powerplant rated mechanic with inspection authorization accomplished the last annual inspection on October 8, 1992. The airframe and engine had accrued 1,645.51 hours at the time of the inspection. At the time of the accident, the airplane and engine had accrued 1,757.17 hours. There were no unresolved maintenance discrepancies noted in the maintenance records.
Redlands Municipal Airport does not have a certified surface weather observation facility. Ontario Airport, located about 22 miles west of Redlands Municipal Airport, is the closest certified surface weather observation facility. The following is the Ontario Airport 1756 hours surface weather observation:
Scattered clouds - 14,000 feet; visibility - 50 miles; temperature - 58 degrees F; dew point - 38 degrees F; surface winds - 240 degrees at 8 knots.
Wreckage and Impact Information
Mr. Scott Burton, Aviation Safety Inspector, FAA, Riverside [California] Flight Standards District Office, conducted the on-scene investigation. Inspector Burton reported that the airplane struck the 45-foot high power line in a level attitude while flying in a southeasterly direction.
The airplane came to rest on its right side about 945 feet east of the high power line. The postcrash fire incinerated the entire fuselage.
Safety Board investigators examined the airplane at Aero Retrieval, Compton Airport, Compton, California, on February 24, 1994. Mr. Jerry Prince, Aero Retrieval, did the maintenance disassembly.
All of the aircraft's major components and flight control surfaces were found. Continuity of the flight control cables to the cockpit area was established. The left wing remained attached at its respective attach points. The postcrash fire incinerated the right wing assembly.
The left navigation light filament displayed downward bending and partial stretching; the right navigation light filament displayed upward bending and partial stretching. Both light bulbs were found intact.
Mr. Prince reported that the right wing tip was found about 150 feet east of the power lines. Portions of the right wing ribs were found directly beneath the power lines.
The empennage remained attached at its respective attach points. Several electrical arcing signatures were found on the underside of the right horizontal stabilizer and elevator.
Continuity of the engine gear and valve train assembly was established. Investigators noted thumb compression throughout the continuity check. The oil suction screen was found free of contaminates.
The numbers 1 and 5 lower spark plugs were found oil soaked; the remaining lower plugs displayed normal operating signatures with minimal ovaling of the center electrodes. The number 1 upper spark plug showed slight oil soaking; the remaining plugs displayed normal operating signatures.
Both magnetos sustained extensive postimpact fire damage and could not be tested.
The carburetor was found attached at its respective attach points. The throttle lever was found in the full power position. The mixture lever was missing. Residual fuel was found in the carburetor bowl. The carburetor inlet fuel screen was free of contaminates.
The propeller hub assembly remained attached to the crankshaft. One propeller blade separated from the hub; the remaining blade remained attached to the hub. The outboard 16 inches of the attached propeller blade was found bent toward the face side about 15 degrees; the blade exhibited extensive diagonal (toward the tip end) chordwise scratch marks.
Medical and Pathological Information
The San Bernardino County Coroner's Office conducted the post mortem examination on the pilot. According to Mr. Edward E. Harier, Supervising Deputy Coroner, the pathologist did not report any findings that the pilot suffered from any physical disease that would have affected his ability to fly an airplane. Toxicological examinations conducted by the San Bernardino Coroner's Office revealed a blood alcohol level of 0.160 mg/dL. The San Bernardino County Coroner's Office sent toxicological samples to the FAA, Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI), Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Mr. Dennis V. Canfield, Ph.D., Manager, Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory, reported that his office sent the samples to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP), Washington, D.C., for analysis.
Dr. Barry Levine, Chief, Forensic Toxicology Laboratory, AFIP, reported that the examined specimens were slightly putrefied. He also reported that the volatiles showed a concentration of 180 mg/dL of ethanol in the blood (0.18 percent) and 240 mg/dL (0.24 percent) in the bile.
Tests and Research
According to Deputy Rangel, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, the California vehicle code considers a person is driving under the influence with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 mg/dL (0.08 percent).
Title 14 CFR 91.17 states, in part:
(a) No person may act or attempt to act as a crewmember of a civil aircraft-
(1) Within 8 hours after the consumption of any alcoholic beverage;
(2) While under the influence of alcohol;
(4) While having 0.04 percent by weight or more alcohol in the blood.
The Safety Board did not assume custody of the wreckage or any records.