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On August 1, 1994, at 0745 central daylight time, a Piper PA-28- 181, N3693M, operated as a personal aircraft by Robert Schuchman of Kingman, Kansas, impacted level terrain 800 feet west of the approach end of runway 17 at Wellington Municipal Airport (EGT), Wellington, Kansas. The airplane was destroyed and the private pilot sustained fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions existed at the time of the accident and no flight plan was filed.
The flight operated under 14 CFR Part 91, and originated from Wellington Municipal Airport approximately 0645 hours.
The engine was recently overhauled by the pilot at his home base in New York state, and had just been ferried from Kobelt, New York (10N) to EGT. The itinerary of this flight was as follows:
Date From-To Hobbs Time 7/29/94 10N-IDI 1.8 hours 7/30/94 IDI-PKB 3.9 hours 7/30/94 PKB-SUS 3.6 hours 7/30/94 SUS-EGT 3.2 hours
A local mechanic, who holds an FAA Inspection Authorization (IA) reported that on July 30, 1994, the pilot and he saw oil in the breather tube for the engine. The pilot removed the spark plugs for inspection and found some evidence of oil on the plugs. On the day of the accident, it was reported that the plane did several touch and go landings prior to the accident. There were no records which would indicate that the airplane was refueled at EGT.
A witness who was jogging near the airport described the airplane as reversing direction and impacting straight down. No fire or engine noise was described.
The 47 year old private pilot was the sole occupant of the airplane. He held Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic certificate number 1873149, with an Inspection Authorization. He held a Repairman Certificate with Powerplant privileges, and was employed as a professional aircraft mechanic. According to his logbook, he had accrued a total of 241 hours of flight time as a pilot. Since 1988 he had accumulated 153 hours.
The last biennial flight review entry in the pilots logbook was November 2, 1991, in the accident airplane.
The airplane was a Piper PA-28-181, serial number 28-7890322, and had accumulated 2,009 hours of total flight time on the airframe at the time of the accident. The engine was a Lycoming O-360-A4M, serial number L-24375-36A, rated at 180 horsepower.
Records research revealed that the engine had undergone a major overhaul, which was logged on an FAA Form-337 as completed July 25, 1994, at a tach time of 1988.32 hours. The airplane trip log showed a flight on May 15, 1994, as a flight after engine overhaul. The overhaul was performed in Newburgh, New York, by the pilot. Seventeen (17) hours had been accumulated on the engine since the overhaul was completed. The flight from Newburgh to Wellington was the delivery flight to the owner, and had taken a total of 11.5 hours. Fuel records indicated that N3693M was last fueled at Spirit of St. Louis Airport (SUS), Chesterfield, Missouri, on July 30, 1994, prior to the last leg of this ferry. The pilot and airframe logbook both showed that this leg took 3.2 flight hours. The estimated flight time accumulated on August 1, 1994, prior to the accident was between 1 and 1.3 hours.
The total estimated time since the last refueling was between 4.2 and 4.5 hours. Useable fuel was 48 gallons. The expected cruise fuel consumption rate, according to the owner, was 9.5 gallons per hour. Fuel consumption at takeoff power, and during touch and go maneuvering is higher.
The asphalt runway was oriented 170-350 degrees, and was 3538 feet long and 50 feet wide. There were no obstructions within 1 mile to the north and west of the runway. The surrounding terrain was flat, open field.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The airplane came to rest 800 feet from the approach end of runway 17 on a magnetic heading of 275 degrees. The airplane was in a vertical position, with the left wingtip pointed 224 degrees magnetic, and the right wing pointed 036 degrees magnetic. No ground scars were evident surrounding the wreckage. A ground scar evident upon removal of the wreckage displayed green glass at one end and red glass at the other. These linear scars were 16 feet and 16 feet 10 inches long respectively on either side of the crater which contained the engine. The design wingspan is 35.0 feet. All major components remained with the wreckage. Numerous light pieces of glass were scattered north and west of the main wreckage.
The forward section of the cockpit and wings were crushed directly aft 2 feet.
The engine was buried in mud, and excavated from a depth of 5 feet. No indication of rotation was present on the propeller blades. Both blades were deformed aft around the engine case. No elongation of the propeller mounting bolts was noted.
Continuity existed to all control surfaces from the cockpit, and no pre-accident discrepancies were noted. The elevator and rudder trim tabs were neutral.
During excavation of the engine, several quarts of oil poured out of the engine crankcase.
Both fuel tanks were ruptured. No evidence of fuel was found, no smell of fuel existed at the accident site, and no fuel stains were observed on the ground. A local mechanic reported that he did not smell any fuel immediately after the accident at the crash site. All fuel system strainers and screens were inspected and found to be unobstructed. The fuel valve was in the left tank position. The fuel lines from both the electric and engine driven fuel pumps did not have fuel. Both pumps were internally functional. The line to the fuel pressure gauge did not exhibit fuel. The carburetor was broken from its mounts. No fuel was found in the carburetor bowl.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL
Toxicological test were negative for any tested substances. An autopsy was performed by E. K. Mitchell, M.D., of Topeka, Kansas, on August 2, 1994. The report stated that no anatomical contributing factors were noted.
TESTS AND RESEARCH
The engine was disassembled and inspected with no discrepancies noted. Both magnetos were removed and produced sparks. The propeller shaft was rotated, and resulted in the accessory drive gears at the opposite end of the engine rotating.
The wreckage was released to the owner on August 3, 1994. The engine was released to the owner on August 10, 1994.