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On July 16, 1994, at 1007 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172R, N1124V, operated by the Mad River Airport and piloted by Owen Damewood, was destroyed during impact and post crash fire while taking off from the Mad River Airport (I-54), Urbana, Ohio. The pilot and three parachute jumpers were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed for the flight operating under 14 CFR 91. On July 13, 1994, N1124V was delivered to I-54, to have an annual inspection completed. The airplane was then to be used on July 16, 1994, for a parachute jump. The annual maintenance inspection was completed on July 15, 1994, and a test flight of 5/10th's of an hour duration was conducted by the airport manager the same day. In an interview with Mr. Michael Rychnovsky, the airframe and powerplant (A&P) mechanic who performed the annual inspection, he stated that N1124V remained outside on the ramp of I-54 the evening of July 15, 1994.
On July 16, 1994, an air show and fly-in was being conducted at I-54. Mr. Rychnovsky moved N1124V that morning to another area, because the area in which it was parked was to be used for air show parking.
Mr. Rychnovsky stated that he did not preflight the airplane and did not drain the fuel tank sumps, but did check the oil level. Before starting the engine, he did note that the fuel gauges indicated between 1/2 and 3/4 full. The engine started on the first attempt, but he did not do an engine run up, nor did he check the flaps, the elevator, the rudder or ailerons. Mr. Rychnovsky then taxied the airplane to its new parking spot. He did not notice any dragging or sticking brakes during the taxi. He estimated the engine ran for a total of 2 to 4 minutes.
The airplane was scheduled to be used that morning to drop three parachute jumpers over the airport. The right side passenger door and seat, and the rear passenger bench seat, had been removed from the airplane. Mr. Thomas Printz, the I-54 Manager, arranged for Mr. Damewood to fly the parachute flight.
During an interview, Mr. Printz stated that as part of a briefing, he suggested to the pilot to make a soft field takeoff from I-54, and climb straight out after takeoff for a few miles before turning back to the airport. He told Mr. Damewood that the jumper-in- charge on the flight would brief him on what he wanted the pilot to do during the flight.
Several witnesses observed N1124V during its takeoff roll and initial climb. One witness on the south side of the runway parking airplanes stated, he observed N1124V taxi onto the runway and initiate a takeoff roll. He further stated:
"...The takeoff roll and rotation looked normal to me. As the plane approached me it was 6 to 7 feet AGL [above ground level]. The skydiver in the front was sitting on the edge of the door, leaning back against the rear of the door frame. His legs were straight out in front of him, his feet crossed and at the very outside edge of the plane. I looked at him then waved, he smiled, waved, then crossed his arms. As the plane passed by me it was climbing fine, the engine sounded smooth and was making power, the flaps were at about 10 degrees. At that time I parked the plane I was waiting for. I looked up to see N1124V pass the end of the runway at approximately 400 feet AGL. I then looked back up the runway...At that time I heard what sounded like a gunshot. As I turned back toward the end of runway 9...I thought ...[there were] people at the river shooting guns...when I looked up, N1124V was going into the trees, and the sound of limbs breaking could be heard...as the plane disappeared, black smoke appeared...."
A pilot who departed behind N1124V stated, he observed N1124V closely due to spacing of the airplanes. He further stated N1124V leveled off about 200 feet AGL, then descended about 50 feet and continued forward for a moment.
The right wing then went down severely and the airplane went straight down into some trees. The airplane was generally on the runway center line.
The airplane impacted trees about 1,200 feet beyond the departure end of the runway and was consumed by a post crash fire. The accident occurred during the hours of daylight at approximately 40 degrees, 01 minutes north latitude, and 83 degrees, 50 minutes west longitude.
The pilot Mr. Owen Damewood, held a Commercial Pilot Certificate with ratings for airplane single and multi-engine land, and instrument airplane.
His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Second Class Medical Certificate was issued on October 6, 1993.
Mr. Damewood's pilot log book indicated that he had a total of 2,610 hours of flight experience. During the previous 7 years he had logged about 689 hours of pilot-in-command (PIC) time, of which about 686 PIC hours were in his personally owned Cessna 210. His total PIC time in Cessna 172's during this period of time consisted of 1.8 hours in June 1994, of which .9 hours was in N1124V.
N1124V was flown into I-54 on July 13, 1994, by the owner Mr. Eric Shiffer. Mr. Shiffer filled the fuel tanks of N1124V, flew for about 2 hours, then returned the airplane to I-54 and left it to have the annual maintenance inspection performed. Mr. Shiffer stated in an interview that the airplane flew well and had no known problems.
The Mad River Airport runway direction was 090 degrees and 270 degrees. The runway was 3,400 feet long, level, with a short cropped grass surface. A 15 foot dirt embankment existed at the departure end of runway 09, and approximately 30 foot trees were about 100 feet beyond the runway departure end.
The airplane wreckage was examined at the accident site on July 16 and 17, 1994. The examination revealed that all major components of the airplane were accounted for at the scene, and the airplane came to rest inverted on an approximate magnetic bearing of 215 degrees, at a ground elevation of about 940 feet above mean sea level (MSL).
The airplane impacted in a tree line which was approximately 90 feet deep (the direction of flight) and 2,000 feet wide. Along the airplane's flight path, between the departure airport and the tree line, was a level bean field 860 feet deep and about 2,500 feet wide. Initial tree impact scars were observed in trees about 59 feet from the main wreckage. The impact scars were progressively lower on the trees in the direction of the wreckage. The tree scars indicated a general magnetic bearing of 112 degrees to the wreckage. Several pieces of painted sheet metal, plexiglass, and fiberglass were found along the tree impact flight path.
A 3-inch diameter tree, about 31 feet from the initial tree scars, was cut off at a 55 degree angle 5 feet above the ground. The cut was clean and on the westerly side of the tree. The surface of the cut was curled-over in a easterly direction, toward the wreckage. Black paint marks, similar to the black paint used on the propeller blades, was observed on the cut.
The first ground scar was 37 feet from the initial tree impact scars. The descent angle measured between the initial tree scars and the first ground scar was approximately 60 degrees. The anti-collision light was separated from the top of the vertical stabilizer and found to the right of the wreckage path, about 40 feet from the main wreckage.
The main fuselage, left wing and the engine were extensively burned during the post crash fire. All nylon straps were burned.
This include the seat belts, shoulder harnesses and the parachute webbing. Examination of the cockpit area produced no useful information due to fire damage.
Control continuity was established to the ailerons, rudder, elevator and the elevator trim system. The flaps were measured to be extended about 6 degrees. The elevator trim was measured to be set at approximately 5 degrees nose up.
The left fuel tank was found to contain about 2 quarts of blue colored fuel. When tested with water finding paste, the fuel was found absent of water. Examination of the inside of the left fuel tank revealed clean shiny metal and no foreign objects.
The fuel screen at the tank outlet was free of obstructions. The reminder of the fuel system from the fuel tanks to the engine was destroyed by fire.
The engine remained attached to the fuselage and was removed for further examination.
The propeller hub and blades were located intact about 30 feet north of the engine wreckage. Both blades displayed chord wise twisting and scratches, with similar aft curving. The black paint on the propeller blades was scraped in the chord wise direction. The propeller was removed for further examination.
The nose strut and wheel, and the main landing gear were separated from the fuselage and found in the main wreckage.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy was performed on Mr. Owen Damewood, on July 17, 1994, by Dr. Dirk G. Wood, of the Clark County Coroners Office, Springfield, Ohio. The results indicated that Mr. Damewood died of, "massive blunt trauma."
The toxicological testing report, from the FAA Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, revealed negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, volatiles and drugs for Mr. Owen Damewood.
TESTS AND RESEARCH
The propeller was removed from the accident scene and driven to McCauley Accessory Division, Vandalia, Ohio, by the NTSB Investigator-In Charge (IIC). The propeller was examined on July 18, 1994, by the NTSB IIC, parties to the investigation and McCauley personnel. The propeller was further examined on July 20, 1994, by McCauley personnel and Ronald Fosnot of the FAA Manufacturing and Inspection District Office (MIDO). The examination revealed no indications of pre-impact failure.
The engine was removed from the accident scene and shipped to Teledyne Continental Motors, Mobile, Alabama. The engine was examined on August 15, 1994, by the NTSB IIC, and the parties to the investigation. The examination revealed the crankshaft propeller flange was separated at the face of the engine block and the shaft fracture had the appearance of torsional overload. The crankshaft could not be rotated by hand with the aide of tools due to the distorted crankshaft end.
The engine had been damaged extensively by fire. The main journals appeared to be well lubricated. All connecting rods and pistons were intact and free on their respective bearings. All of the piston rings were free in their piston ring grooves. The camshaft, push rods and valve assemblies were intact and operational.
All ignition leads were burned to the center conductor. Both magnetos were fire damaged and could not be tested.
The fuel pump was fire damaged, but the drive was intact. The fuel manifold valve was disassembled and the diaphragm was partially burned from fire; however the internal components were intact and appeared to be functional.
The exhaust pipes and muffler were examined and some crushing and impact damage was noted. No blockages within the exhaust pipes or muffler was observed.
Weight and Balance
According to FAA Advisory Circular AC-195-2C, titled Sport Parachute Jumping, it stated:
"Installation and removal of equipment must be handled in accordance with the applicable sections of FAR Part 43. The original alteration to the jump configuration is required to be performed by an appropriately certificated person and recorded in the aircraft records. The equipment list and weight and balance data are required to be revised to show both the jump configuration and the standard configuration."
According to Mr. Printz, all non-essential equipment was removed from N1124V prior to the jump flight. This equipment was examined in a nearby hanger. The passenger door, and the front and rear seats were examined and weighed. Also examined were records, logs, charts, papers and miscellaneous items. The most recent weight and balance form was dated February 22, 1992. No computations indicating a parachute jump configuration were found. Calculations for the removal of the passenger door, and the front and rear seats, adjusted the weight and balance as follows:
February 1992 empty weight 1632 pounds (lbs) minus front passenger seat 23 lbs at C.G. station 37 minus front door 24 lbs at C.G. station 37 minus rear seat 22 lbs at C.G. station 73
The revised airplane empty weight would be 1,563 lbs, with a revised moment of 56973.
The maximum allowable takeoff weight for N1124V was 2,550 pounds (lbs). Using 27 lbs for each jumper's parachute and a 15 lbs parachute for the pilot, the weight and balance computed as follows:
Empty Weight 1563 lbs Pilot (228+15) 243 Jumper (180+27) 207 Jumper (175+27) 202 Jumper (200+27) 227 Fuel 5/8 full=30.6 gallons 184 ======== Total Takeoff Weight 2626
According to the Pilot's Operating Handbook for N1124V, the aft center of gravity (C.G.)limit, at it's maximum allowable gross weight, was 47.3 inches aft of the Datum. Two C.G. ranges were computed for N1124V at takeoff. Both utilized the two forward seats for the pilot and one jumper. The best C.G. scenario places both of the other jumpers in the vicinity of the rear passenger seat. The worst scenario places one jumper in the vicinity of the rear seat and the other in the vicinity of the child seat area. The best C.G. computed to 45.3 inches, and the worst C.G. computed to 47.2 inches.
FAA Waiver and Operating Limits with door removed.
The Cessna 172 is listed on a chart in the FAA Advisory Circular AC-105-2C, that states, "Aircraft that may be operated with one cabin door removed." A FSDO that issues a waiver uses this chart to determine if the airplane is eligible for the blanket waiver. Several of the airplanes listed on the chart cite an applicable supplemental type certificate number required to be applied to the airplane. There are also footnotes that indicate if there is a procedure in the aircraft flight manual supplement or the aircraft pilot operating handbook. The Cessna 172 listing has none of these. According to Martha Lunken, an FAA Inspector at the Cincinnati Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), a waiver was issued to the Mad River Airport on July 7, 1993, to operate N1124V with the door removed; however, the FSDO was unable to locate their copy.
The waiver is a form with blank spaces for the make and model of airplane, and the purpose of the flight. The form has pre-printed limits that are then applied to the stated airplane.
Operation of the 172 with the door removed is not discussed in the Cessna Pilot's Operating Handbook. According to the Cessna Aircraft Company, there are no records of any tests relating to the operation of the R172K with the cabin door removed.
AC-105-2C was initiated by the FAA office of Flight Standards Service (AFS-340), Washington, D.C. AFS-340 was contacted to obtain information relative to the testing, or certification of the Cessna 172 for operation with one door removed. Mr. Ralph Carr of AFS-340 stated, they had no documents on file in their office relative to the approval of the Cessna 172.
Additional FAA offices contacted included Airworthiness Certification Service AIR-230 in Washington, D.C., Aircraft Certification Office ACE-115A in Atlanta, Georgia, and ACE-115W in Wichita, Kansas. None of the offices had any information relative to the Cessna 172 listing as certified for operation with one door removed.
The airplane wreckage minus the engine and propeller was released on July 17, 1994, to Mr. Thomas Printz, the manager of the Mad River Airport, and operator of the airplane. The propeller was released on August 18, 1994, and the engine was released on August 15, 1994, to Mr. Thomas Printz.