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On March 3, 1994, about 1916 eastern standard time, a Cessna 340, N512SK, piloted by Mr. Leon Elwart, and registered to Capital Associates Corp., collided with the terrain at the Suffolk County Airport, West Hampton, New York. The pilot and one company employee passenger were fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and an IFR flight plan had been filed. The flight was being conducted under 14 CFR 91.
Air Traffic Control (ATC) had cleared the airplane for the ILS approach to runway 24, circle to land on runway 06. The airplane broke off the approach to runway 24, and was observed at a low altitude, while on a left downwind for runway 06, flying in and out of the clouds. On the base leg, the airplane turned to the left, and the left wing made contact with the ground.
Several witnesses near the accident site saw and heard the airplane prior to impact. Mr. Paul Horwat, a lineman for Malloy Air East Inc., was in front of the hanger "C" at the time of the accident and wrote that he saw the airplane, "...a few hundred feet above the control tower [as the airplane] broke thru the fog." Mr. Horwat saw the airplane continue downwind then start a left turn towards runway 06. Mr. Horwat wrote:
...that's when the engines sounded like they were at full RPM. By following the lights that were on the aircraft, it appeared that the aircraft was in a nose dive and tilting to the left...the aircraft hit the ground. The engines stopped suddenly....
A Federal Technician, working at the Air Force National Guard (ANG), Base located on the southwest section of the airport wrote in his statement to the Southhampton, Police Department, "...I heard a twin...flying close to the building I was in." He looked out the window, and saw, "...an aircraft making a tight [left] bank...all of a sudden the plane went down nose first, as the left wing hit the ground first...."
Several pilots from the ANG, arrived at the crash site to help in any rescue attempts. Mr. Martin Ingram, one of the ANG pilots wrote in his statement:
...approximately 5 minutes after the plane crash I observed a significant amount of ice adhering to the surface of the wreckage, even at areas that were protected by the wind and rain which led me to believe that the ice was on the aircraft prior to impact. It appeared to be approximately 1/8" in thickness throughout the left and right wing surfaces and the rear empennage sections....
Another pilot from the ANG arrived at the crash site shortly after the accident, and wrote in his statement:
...the weather was approximately 500 ft ceiling, about 1 mile visibility or less in freezing rain and sleet. I estimated the wind to be 30-35 KTS. from the north. I felt the surface of the left wing...left and right empennage. The skin was covered with ice....
The accident occurred during the hours of darkness at approximately 40 degrees, 51 minutes north, and 72 degrees, 38 minutes west.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy was performed on Mr. Leon Elwart, on March 4, 1994, at the Medical Examiner's Office, in Riverhead, New York, by Dr. Gwen Harleman.
The toxicological tests were conducted at the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA), Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and revealed, "... no drugs or alcohol where found."
The West Hampton, 1919 weather observation was; ceiling 500 feet, overcast, visibility 1.5 miles, fog and rain, temperature 33 degrees F, dew point 30, wind 010 degrees, 10 knots, gusts 20, altimeter 29.33 inches Hg.
Witnesses at or near the accident site said that it was foggy at the time of the accident. Several witness saw the airplane flying in out of clouds. One witness said that within minutes of the crash the visibility was less then a mile, and there was "freezing rain and sleet."
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The wreckage was examined at the accident site on August 4-5, 1994. The airplane impacted the ground less then a half mile short of the arrival end of runway 06. There was a ground scar found approximately 500 feet southwest of the arrival threshold to runway 06, approximately 6 feet wide, 8 feet long, and 6 inches deep. Located within the confines of the ground were pieces of red lens, from the wing navigation light. The airplane continued in an easterly direction coming to rest approximately 130 feet east of the ground scar described above. The airplane came to rest with the nose heading approximately 035 degrees.
Examination of the wreckage revealed that the airplane was in the landing configuration at the time of impact. Control continuity was established to all the flight controls.
Examination of the engine revealed no discrepancies. Fuel was found in the fuel pumps and fuel lines of both engines.
All six propeller blades were examined, and revealed chordwise marks, curled tips, and bending.
Mr. Elwart was in position of a commercial pilot's license at the time of the accident, and according to company personnel, and his personal flight records, at the time of the accident he had approximately 6,828 hours of total flight time, of which 2,000 hours were in Cessna 340 airplanes, and had been employed by the company for about three and a half years.
The wreckage was released to the owner's insurance company representative, Mr. Kevin Olsen, on March 5, 1994.