On July 3, 1994, about 0810 hours Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 195A, N9300A, was destroyed after an in-flight breakup at Santa Paula, California. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at Santa Paula Airport at the time of departure, and no flight plan was filed for the personal cross-country flight. The private pilot and his passenger were fatally injured.

The flight originated about 0805 hours and was destined for Crystal Airport at Llano, California, about 72 miles northeast of Santa Paula. The pilot had an 0930 appointment for dual instruction at the Crystal Air Soaring School. Review of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) facility records revealed no record of a preflight weather briefing for the pilot.

Witnesses reported hearing the airplane make unusual sounds, and, then they saw the airplane spiraling out of the overcast with a wing missing and several other parts falling to the ground. The accident site was located about 2 miles southwest of the Santa Paula airport in the Santa Clara River bed.


The pilot's logbook was not recovered. On the pilot's last two third-class flight physicals, dated April 10, 1992 and May 2, 1994, he reported a total flight time of 800 hours. At the last physical, he reported 10 hours in the past 6 months.


The coowner of the airplane reported that the last annual inspection was performed in May of 1994. The records, according to the coowner, were kept in the airplane. The airplane was destroyed in a postcrash fire. The person who signed the annual inspection was contacted for details of the inspection; however, he stated that he kept no records.


The accident site is located about 2 miles southwest of the Santa Paula Airport, near the Santa Clara River. The area is covered with trees and brush, and is adjacent to local oil fields. The main wreckage is located about 30 feet south of some oil field pipelines.

A postcrash fire had consumed the cabin, firewall, center section, and most of the wing panels.

The right wing structure from about midspan outboard was found in the vicinity of the main wreckage along with the aileron. Both revealed evidence of a tree strike with severing of the wing section. The right aileron was found near the wing structure and had evidence of tree impact damage. Neither the wing outboard structure nor the aileron were fire damaged.

The left outboard wing panel, without the aileron, was found about 1,110 feet north-northeast of the main wreckage in a lemon grove along with various wing and rib parts. The panel measured about 5 foot 7 inches long. The panel had separated at about the middle of the aileron span and still had the outboard hinge fittings attached to the rear wing spar. The wing panel exhibited positive or upwards bending of the wing structure. The inboard aileron hinge and actuator assembly were found with the burnt left wing structure. The left aileron was subsequently found by grove workers and returned to the wreckage retriever. Examination of the aileron revealed preexisting cracks in the structure of the aileron, and some of these cracks were stop drilled. A repair was noted on the top outboard end of the aileron. Both aileron hinge fittings were found to be pulled from the aileron spar.


The closest weather reporting facility is located at Camarillo, California. At 0750 hours, they were reporting measured 600 foot overcast, 2 miles fog and haze, temperature 62 degrees Fahrenheit, dewpoint 57 degrees Fahrenheit, wind calm and the altimeter was 29.92 inches of mercury.

A pilot examiner witness at Santa Paula reported the weather conditions to be sky obscured, 600 feet overcast with 1/2 mile visibility in fog. The witness said this observation was based on a known geographical point on a hill used for weather observations. Another witness stated that it was misting enough that he had to use his windshield wipers while driving in the area at the time of the accident.

The Ventura County deputy coroner was on the accident scene about 0925 hours. He stated in his report that the weather was cool with no wind, low cloud cover, and limited visibility.


On July 4, 1994, the Ventura County medical examiner performed an autopsy on the pilot. According to the report, the cause of death was attributed to blunt injuries.

During the autopsy, samples were obtained for toxicological analysis by the FAA Aeromedical Institute in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The toxicological analysis was negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, and drugs. The report was positive for volatiles. 15.000 (mg/dl) of ethanol and 2.000 (mg/dl) of acetaldehyde were detected in the blood; also, 1.000 (mg/dl) of acetaldehyde was detected in the bile.


Components of the left inboard aileron hinge assembly, push-pull rod assembly, and a portion of the aft bracket of the aileron outboard hinge of the left wing were recovered and sent to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Metallurgical Laboratory in Washington D.C.

According to the metallurgist factual report, fatigue cracks originated on the aft side of the lower rear spar cap in an area where the lower legs of the forward bracket for the inboard hinge assembly attaches to the wing aft spar.


The uninsured airplane wreckage was released back to the coowner on July 12, 1994.

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