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On May 13, 1994, at 1944 central daylight time, a Bellanca 17-30A airplane, N4226B, was destroyed during an instrument approach to the Camdenton Memorial Airport, Camdenton, Missouri. The private pilot and three passengers received fatal injuries. The personal flight originated at 1836 at the St. Louis Downtown Parks Airport, Cahokia, Illinois, and was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. An IFR flight plan was filed.
The pilot telephoned the St. Louis Flight Service Station at 1523 central daylight time to obtain a preflight weather brief for a VFR flight from Cahokia, Illinois to Camdenton, Missouri. He was advised that VFR flight was not recommended. The pilot advised he could file IFR. At 1716 the pilot telephoned again and obtained a preflight weather brief and filed an IFR flight plan, proposing a departure time of 1850.
The pilot and three passengers departed the St. Louis Downtown Parks Airport about 1836. A friend of the pilot reported the purpose of the flight was to attend an annual family gathering. He said the pilot had flown the route several times before.
At 1837, the low west controller at St. Louis approach control established radar contact with N4226B. The controller received a low altitude alert for the airplane. He issued it to the pilot along with an altimeter setting of 29.91.
At 1927, the airplane was flying direct to the Camdenton Airport on an IFR clearance at 4000 feet MSL. The pilot was cleared to the Sunshine VOR to hold south on the 180 radial at 4200 feet MSL. Radar plots show the pilot continued on the same heading toward Camdenton for three and a half minutes, flying nearly six miles southwest of the Sunshine VOR, then turned northeast toward the VOR and entered holding.
At 1936, the pilot was cleared from his holding position to descend to 3000 feet MSL and cleared for the VOR-A approach into Camdenton. Radar plots show the pilot did not fly the procedure turn as published, but maneuvered to the final approach course with an abrupt right-hand turn. The pilot flew inbound and descended from 3000 feet as he passed the final approach fix. The last radar return was received at 1942, a few degrees west of the final approach course and nearly over the accident site. The altitude encoding transponder reported an altitude of 2300 feet MSL.
At 1955 the controller at the Kansas City ARTCC checked for a cancellation on N4226B. The facility accident notification record was initiated at 2020 central daylight time.
A local resident reported hearing an aircraft fly over her house with the engine running at a high pitch, then heard a loud thud that shook the ground. The wreckage was discovered about 1125 on May 14 by the Camden County Sheriff's Department about 200 yards north of the residence.
The pilot held a private pilot certificate with an instrument rating, issued June 22, 1992. The pilots log book was recovered from the wreckage. The last entry was dated May 10, 1994. Logged flying time included 4.1 hours of actual instrument time flown over the previous 23 months.
Weather information recorded at 1955 by the automated weather observation system (AWOS) at the Lee C. Fine Memorial Airport, eight miles northeast of the accident site in Kaiser, Missouri, indicated the ceiling was measured at 1000 feet overcast and visibility was seven miles.
A pilot who had flown the VOR-A approach to Camdenton in a Cessna 182 airplane immediately before the accident airplane estimated the cloud layer extended from 2800 feet AGL down to about 800 feet AGL. He said visibility was unrestricted above and below the cloud deck and he experienced no turbulence or adverse conditions.
The pilot of a Beech 58, who attempted to fly to Camdenton VFR below the clouds shortly after the accident, reported he experienced weather conditions "the same as those reported by the AWOS." He stated he had encountered more rain than he had anticipated en route to Camdenton and elected to land at the Lee C. Fine Memorial Airport.
AIDS TO NAVIGATION
The pilot of a Cessna 182 airplane, who flew the VOR-A approach into Camdenton immediately before the accident airplane, stated he experienced no unusual circumstances and the Sunshine VOR was operating normally. No evidence of navigational aid malfunction was discovered.
When the accident pilot telephoned his flight plan to the St. Louis Flight Service Station, he filed a special equipment code of "/A" which designates distance measuring equipment (DME) and a transponder with altitude encoding. Shortly after establishing radar contact with the airplane, the approach controller at St. Louis TRACON queried the pilot if he wanted to proceed direct Vichy VORTAC, as filed, or if he would like to proceed direct to "Camdenton." The pilot accepted a clearance to a heading of 270 degrees until receiving Camdenton, then direct to Camdenton. The pilot later reported he was flying direct Camdenton on a heading of 240 degrees. The Camdenton Memorial Airport (H21) has no co-located navigation facility.
During a telephone interview, one of the airplane owners stated the airplane was equipped with two VHF navigation radios and one DME but no IFR area navigation (RNAV) capability. He said a portable global positioning system was on board for VFR use only.
Radar plots show the airplane was proceeding direct to the Camdenton Memorial Airport prior to turning toward the Sunshine VOR.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The NTSB on scene investigation began about 0800 central daylight time on April 15. The location of the accident site was recorded at 037 degrees and 2.1 nautical miles from the Camdenton Memorial Airport. The wreckage was located on the edge of a ravine in a heavily wooded area about 200 yards north of Missouri Route V.
All major components were located in an area approximately the size of the airplane. The site was extremely wet and muddy from recent rain. Clothing and luggage were hanging from the trees and strewn for about 30 feet north of the main wreckage. Vegetation for ten feet above and north of the main wreckage was wilted and all fuel tanks were ruptured. No evidence of fire was present. Broken tree branches followed a near vertical line above the airplane which was oriented on a heading of 325 degrees. The engine was imbedded about five feet in the ground in a vertical, nose down, attitude. The accessory case was visible from above.
Both main wing spars were located symmetrically on either side of the engine and the left spar was broken over the left main landing gear which was positioned perpendicular to the spar. The right landing gear was also positioned perpendicular to the spar. The aft wing spars, flaps, and ailerons were laying along the main spars. Fragments of plywood ribs and wing skins were scattered in the vicinity of the spars.
The empennage was located on the north side of the main wreckage with the leading edges pointed downward. All surfaces were present and compressed in the forward direction. The fuselage structure forward of the empennage was destroyed. The structure was compressed in the longitudinal direction. Examination of flight control continuity revealed no anomalies. Fragmented portions of the autopilot servos and the emergency locator transmitter were located in the wreckage.
The cabin area and instrument panel were destroyed, however, the attitude indicator and altimeter were recovered. The attitude indicator was opened revealing rotational scoring on the drum. The altimeter was set to 29.84 and the indicator needles were missing. The fuel selector valve was set to the right tank feed position.
The engine was hoisted revealing severe impact damage to the front of the case and to all six cylinders. The crankshaft was fractured in two places and the camshaft was broken. Both magnetos and the vacuum pump were shattered. The throttle body was disassembled revealing the fuel screen was wet and about 10 percent congested with debris. Subsequent tear down of the engine, including the fuel pump, fuel manifold, oil pump, oil filter, and examination of four spark plugs revealed no evidence of mechanical anomalies. A large quantity of oil remained in the crater.
The propeller was recovered about five feet deep in the crater. All three blades were attached to the hub. Examination revealed "S" shaped bending, chordwise scoring, and severe gouges in the leading edges.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The condition of remains was not conducive to toxicological testing or an autopsy.
Parties to the investigation were the Federal Aviation Administration, Flight Standards District Office, Kansas City, Missouri, and Teledyne Continental Motors.
Following the on scene portion of the investigation, the engine and propeller were transported to the Camdenton Memorial Airport for subsequent investigation. Personal effects were recovered and retained by the Camden County Sheriff's Department. The wreckage was released to a representative of the Camdenton Memorial Airport.