HISTORY OF FLIGHT Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
On March 13, 1994, at 2027 mountain standard time, a Bellanca 14- 19-3A, N8885R, collided with the terrain one mile south of the Wendover Airport, Wendover, Utah. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed. The airplane was destroyed and the commercial pilot, a private pilot rated passenger and two other passengers were fatally injured. The flight was destined for Salt Lake City, Utah, as a pleasure flight.
A friend and co-worker to both pilots reported that he met the flight at the airport when they arrived. This person took the group to town for dinner and gambling. Afterward, this person then took the group back to the airport. This person stated that he overheard both pilots talking about who was going to act as pilot-in-command. The individual stated that both pilots decided that the commercial pilot would act as pilot-in-command.
Witnesses at the airport reported that the airplane was observed taxiing on the ramp to runway 12. One witness reported that the pilot performed the engine run-up and magneto check at the run-up area, then reduced the engine to idle power. The airplane stayed in the run-up area for 5 to 10 minutes, then was taxied to runway 21. One witness saw the airplane on the takeoff ground roll on runway 21. This witness reported that the engine sounded normal as the airplane took off.
Family members reported the airplane overdue to Cedar City Flight Service Station on the evening of March 14, 1994. The airplane was located on March 15, 1994, at 0920 by the Civil Air Patrol.
Airport personnel reported that airport services close at 1700. The airplane did not land prior to 1700 and no services were provided to the flight on the night of the accident.
The pilot-in-command held a flight instructor certificate for single and multi engine airplanes and an instrument rating. The pilot's flight logbook indicates a total flight time of 1,503 hours, with 97 hours in the Bellanca. The last entry logged for night flight was on December 8, 1992. The last three pages of the pilot's logbook had several lines skipped between entries. It is unknown as to the purpose of these skipped lines. The last entry in the logbook was a biennial flight review for the private pilot rated passenger, dated March 8, 1994.
The private pilot rated passenger had accumulated a total flight time of 500 hours as reported on his last medical record dated January 27, 1994.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The wreckage was located approximately one mile off the end of runway 21. The terrain south of the airport is a level sandy dry lake bed that extends for several miles. Obstructions no higher than twenty feet were located several hundred feet north of the accident site. The property is owned by the U.S. Government and was used as a bombing range. There is no lighting or ground references beyond the airport and the town of Wendover. Airport personnel term the area, south of the airport, as a "black hole" during dark night conditions.
The wreckage was distributed along a magnetic bearing of 70 degrees. The first indication of ground disturbance was from impact with the left wing tip. The tip of the wing with the red anti-collision light was imbedded in the soft sandy soil approximately two feet deep. The ground was disturbed for another 25 feet where an eight foot long and three foot deep crater was located. In this crater were small pieces of wood and metal fragments identified from the engine compartment. The outboard two feet of one propeller blade was found at 46 feet into the distribution path. The section was bent with the tip displaying a deep gouge two inches inboard from the end. Chord wise scratches were noted along the blade back.
At 61 feet into the path, the inboard aft section of the right wing was located. The right wing aileron had separated from the wing at the hinges, 68 feet into the path. At 86 feet, the empennage was found laying in an inverted position. The horizontal stabilizer was in place with the elevators attached. The vertical stabilizer was in place with the rudder attached. Control cables to the rudder and elevators remained attached at the aft connection. The opposite end of the cables had been pulled apart. The ends of each cable were frayed.
At 83 feet into the path, the second propeller blade and the inboard 17 inches of the first propeller blade were located attached to the propeller hub. The second propeller blade was bent forward and displayed chord wise scratches along the blade back and leading edge indentations were noted. The propeller separated from the engine at the attaching bolts. A section of the flange remained with the hub.
At 95 feet, the left aileron was located. The aileron separated from the wing at the hinges. At 100 feet, pieces of the left wing wood spar were scattered over a large area. The remainder of the wing structure had disintegrated into several small pieces.
At 119 feet into the path, evidence of ground disturbance was noted that led up to the fuselage located at 157 feet. Along this section of the path, pieces of the interior fuselage, cockpit instruments, fuel tanks and pieces of the engine were located.
At 175 feet into the path, the outboard 13 feet of the right wing was located with the flap that had separated at the hinges. Twenty-five feet further, the right wing spar was found.
The engine was located entangled in the severely deformed fuselage. The cockpit area was destroyed with several of the cockpit instruments strewn around the immediate area.
During the engine inspection it was found that the crankshaft rotated and compression was developed in each cylinder. Rocker arm, valve train and accessory gear continuity was established. All spark plugs displayed normal operating signatures, and both magnetos sparked with hand rotation.
The oil stainer was inspected and fine flakes of metal were noted in the strainer and the oil. The engine was completely torn down and inspected. During the inspection, there was no evidence found to indicate a mechanical failure or malfunction.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The autopsy examination was performed by Doctor Maureen J. Frikke, Office of the Medical Examiner, Salt Lake City, Utah.
A toxicological examination detected Diphenhydramine, an antihistamine in the pilot-in-command. The pilot rated passenger tested negative.
Two Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELT) were located in the wreckage. The first unit was found in the off position and displayed a battery expiration date of December 1993. Impact damage was noted near the switch. The unit was turned on and the unit emitted a signal. The unit was then switched to the armed position and the unit emitted a signal without a g force applied.
The second unit was the battery pack only. The circuit board had been removed. The battery pack displayed an expiration date that was several years old.