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On Saturday, April 23, 1994, at 1404 eastern daylight time, a Beech 24R, N9353S, operated by the Fort Bragg Flying Activity Club of Fort Bragg, North Carolina, collided with a building after an aborted landing on runway 33 at the College Park Airport, College Park, Maryland. The certificated commercial pilot and the three passengers were fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed. The flight originated from the Fort Bragg Airport at 1215, with the pilot and one passenger on board. The flight stopped over at the Rocky Mount-Wilson Airport, Rocky Mount, North Carolina, and two additional passengers embarked the airplane. The flight was destined for the College Park Airport. An instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed for the personal cross-country flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.
An electronic technician working at the College Park Airport was located outside, next to runway 33 when he observed the accident airplane. He wrote the following:
The airplane touched down and bounced up...on the runway. It then bounced two more times. Each time it bounced the nose gear would hit first and fold back into the cowling, then the main gear would hit down. Each bounce (three of them) was followed by a bang. At the top of the third bounce, full power came on to the engine. It sounded O.K. to me all the way to impact...The plane after power was added slowly started to climb up. It started a very slow drift to the left and was very mushy and looked to be very stable though mushy in flight. The flaps and gear were down. The flaps were about half way down. It drifted left over the windsock...It flew over the metro and train tracks toward the trees. It then banked to the left, not sharply, and flew into a roof of a building. While in a left bank I saw it start a slide down to the left then start to hit the roof...At no time did I see the flaps or gear go up or hear the engine quit or sputter....
A lineman working at the airport located at the Operations Building at the time of the accident made the following observations:
...I remember seeing three bounces before the pilot attempted to recover the aircraft. After the third bounce I heard the engine increase RPM and began to climb. This took place about midfield of runway 33. The aircraft was not climbing well, and was turning slowly to the left. At approximately 100 yards before the railroad tracks, it became obvious that the aircraft was not going to clear the trees in front of it. At this point what had been a gradual left turn and climb became a steeper turn and the nose of the aircraft pitched up sharply. That is when I believe the wings stalled and the aircraft lost the 40 to 50 feet of altitude it had gained since leaving runway 33. It collided with the building about 2 seconds later.
A Safety Supervisor working at a construction site next to the building where the airplane impacted stated, "...I noticed the plane not gaining any altitude and veering off to the south. The plane's nose was up, the power was on and seem[ed to be] functioning O.K....It looked like he had a high angle of attack all through the incident."
The pilot held a commercial certificate with instrument, multiengine and single engine land ratings. He received his commercial certificate on March 26, 1994. According to the pilot's log book and the airplane's records, he had accrued a total of 422 flight hours, of which 374 were in single engine airplanes and 43 were in multiengine airplanes. Of the 374 hours logged in single engine airplanes, the pilot had nine hours total, four hours of which were accumulated on the day of the accident in the Beech 24R. On the morning of the accident, the pilot had received a familiarization, check out flight in the accident airplane.
The airplane's maintenance log books were reviewed with no discrepancies noted, except for a weight and balance document dated June 25, 1992. This document stated that the airplane's allowable gross weight was 2,758.0 pounds. According to a Beechcraft Accident Investigator, the maximum allowable gross weight of the airplane could not exceed 2,750 pounds.
The airplane had undergone an annual inspection on March 18, 1994, 44 flight hours prior to the accident.
The airplane's forward maximum center of gravity was 113.0 inches and its maximum aft center of gravity was 118.3 inches. The airplane's empty weight was 1,861.3 pounds.
After the accident, some of the airplane's cargo was weighed and totaled 82 pounds. Some of the cargo could not be weighed and therefor was not included in the calculated gross weight. The pilot and passengers weights were obtained from the Coroner and totaled 763 pounds. According to the operator's records, the flight started at a tachometer reading of 1070.2 hours. After the accident, the tachometer read 1073.32 hours. Operator records also showed that the airplane was "topped-off" prior to the first flight. According to Rocky Mount-Wilson Airport personnel, the airplane did not receive any fuel during its stopover. The usable amount of fuel in the airplane was 52 gallons.
According to performance figures in the Beechcraft Pilot Operating Handbook, the maximum fuel flow listed under any circumstance was 10.2 gallons per hour (see attached Performance Charts). In order to calculate a weight for the airplane at the time of the accident, a estimated fuel burn of 10.2 gallons per hour was used. At the time of the accident, the gross weight of the airplane was about 2,827.5, about 77.5 pounds over its allowable gross weight. The center of gravity was within the airplane's operating center of gravity envelope, about 116.36 inches aft.
The following procedure for a balked landing is listed in the Beechcraft, Sierra 200 B24R Operating Handbook: 1) Mixture - FULL RICH; 2) Propeller - FULL FORWARD; 3) Power - FULL THROTTLE; 4) Landing Gear - UP; 5) Airspeed - 74 knots until clear of obstacles, then trim to BEST RATE-OF-CLIMB; 6) Flaps - UP.
According to witnesses at the airport on the morning of the accident, the winds were "...extremely variable." One witness located at the airport stated that around 1230 eastern daylight time, he observed the four windsocks at the airport indicating three different wind directions. He also stated that he landed his Cessna 182 on runway 33 about 1030 on the morning of the accident and had trouble stopping it within the runway parameters due to the varying winds.
At 1400 eastern daylight time, the Baltimore Weather Observation Facility recorded the following:
Cloud condition - clear; Visibility - 20 miles; Altimeter - 30.17 hg; Temperature - 61 degrees F; Dew Point - 33 degrees F; Wind Direction - 080 degrees; Wind Speed - 6 knots.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The airplane wreckage was examined at the accident site on April 23, 1994. The examination revealed the airplane impacted the side of a building and came to rest with the tail section resting on a lower building's roof. The engine compartment and cockpit area were crushed rearward into the wing roots. The engine and right wing aileron were separated from the airplane and found forward of the airplane on the roof of the impacted building.
Examination of the flaps and surrounding fuselage area revealed the flaps were fully retracted. The elevator trim tab was one degree down. The landing gear were extended. The nose wheel steering mechanism, nose gear retraction mechanism, engine control cables, rudder pedals, and torque tubes, were destroyed. The area where the aileron, elevator, and rudder control cables are routed near the firewall, was destroyed. Continuity for the aileron, elevator, elevator trim tab, and rudder control cables, was established.
The side of the impacted building revealed a large hole where the airplane came to rest, about 30 feet above the ground. A portion of the roof was also missing. An imprint in the side of the building left of the hole, similar in size and shape to the wing and main landing gear, was 25 degrees down from a level horizontal plane.
The engine and propeller were examined with no anomalies noted. (See attached Lycoming and Hartzell reports).
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The autopsy was performed on April 24, 1994, by Dr. Wright at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, 111 Penn Street, Baltimore, Maryland, 21201.
The toxicology was performed by Dr. Canfield at the Civil Aeromedical Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Negative results were reported for all screened drugs and volatiles.
The airplane wreckage was released to Mark Thompson, Claims Representative, USAIG, on April 26, 1994.