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On August 18, 1994, at 1835 central daylight time, a Cessna 310, N5319A, was destroyed during landing near Pryor, Oklahoma. The commercial pilot and two passengers received fatal injuries. The third passenger was seriously injured. The airplane was chartered by Lone Star Industries, Pryor, Oklahoma, for a round trip to El Paso, Texas. Mid-America Aviation was the owner/operator of the airplane. The flight was conducted under an IFR flight plan for the business trip. Unless otherwise indicated, all times are central daylight time.
According to the enclosed statement from the operator, the pilot requested if Lone Star Industries, Inc. could rent the airplane for the pilot to fly three men to El Paso, Texas. The operator agreed to the rental. The operator reported to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector that the pilot was an independent pilot/flight instructor (not employed by Mid-America Aviation) whose office was at the operator's facility.
The flight stopped for fuel at Lubbock, Texas, where 20 gallons of fuel were added and the line service personnel noted the airplane lost an "estimated quart of oil." There was no oil added nor any maintenance performed before the flight departed for El Paso, Texas.
70.7 gallons of fuel were added at El Paso, Texas, and the flight departed at 1427:27 for the return flight to Pryor, Oklahoma. Pryor, Oklahoma, airport is 077 degrees at 22 nautical miles from the Tulsa VORTAC.
Personnel of Off Lease Export, Inc., of El Paso, Texas, reported (statement enclosed) that the passengers mentioned that "they were pretty scared when the plane lost power in one of the engines during flight." They further stated that the passengers also were "concerned about the engine leaking oil."
A multiengine student reported (enclosed statement) to the FAA inspector that he was supposed to train in the airplane; however, he was informed by the owner that the airplane "had an oil leak" and that it would be next month before he could start training.
Witnesses reported observing the airplane 2 miles south of the airport with the gear extended and the wings level, but one engine was "running rough." Another witness, closer to the airport, stated that he observed the airplane with the "left wing a lot lower down than the right wing."
During personnel interviews and on the enclosed statement the surviving passenger revealed the following information. None of the passengers had flown in this airplane before this trip. The pilot and the other two passengers had headsets with one passenger occupying the left front seat and the pilot flying from the right front seat. All passengers were briefed on the use of the seat belts and emergency exits. After the departure, oil was noted on the left wing and engine exhaust. On the return flight over Tulsa, one of the oil gauges dropped and the pilot was observed tapping on the glass and then slowing the left engine to idle. Subsequently, the airport was visible and the left engine propeller was not turning, as a descent was made toward the runway. While the airplane was over the runway, a climbing left turn was initiated. It was approximately 12 hours after the crash before help arrived.
A review of FAA records indicated the pilot obtained the multiengine instructor rating in N5319A on November 22, 1993. Relatives reported to a FAA inspector that the pilot had been flying the airplane on charters and as an instructor for a year. They further stated that the airplane had been leaking oil on other cross country trips.
A review of maintenance records revealed that on April 21, 1973, an overhauled engine, S/N 53946-73-M-R, was installed on Cessna 310, S/N 35519. The last 100 hour inspection was signed by the operator on June 3, 1994, with 1,285.6 hours time on the engine. An oil change was logged for June 17, 1994.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION:
The airplane came to rest on a measured magnetic heading of 292 degrees 432 feet west of runway 35. The fuselage was folded inverted over the empennage with both engines separated from the airframe. One right engine propeller blade and fragments of the green navigation lens were found in ground scars 382 feet west of the runway 35 centerline. See the enclosed wreckage diagram for additional details.
Flight control continuity was confirmed. Physical evidence of fuel was present at the site. The left engine propeller was attached with the blades secure and exhibiting diagonal and longitudinal scoring. Left engine continuity was established thru to the accessory drive pulley. The oil dip stick indicated between 3 and 4 quarts and oil was found in the engine accessory section, firewall, and engine nacelle.
A review of air traffic control data, transcripts (enclosed) and statements (enclosed) revealed the following summary information. All times are converted to central daylight time unless otherwise indicated.
1244:12 The pilot filed an IFR flight plan (copy enclosed), via telephone with Albuquerque FSS, from El Paso, Texas, to Pryor, Oklahoma. The proposed estimated time of departure (ETD) on the flight plan was 1330 with an en route time (ETE) of 4 hours and 15 minutes and a proposed time of arrival of 1745 OR 2245 Universal Time Coordinated (UTC).
1427:27 (1927:27 UTC) The flight actually departed El Paso, Texas. With the proposed flight plan time (ETE) of 4 hours and 15 minutes, the estimated arrival time would have been 1842.
1821:38 The airplane was cleared by Tulsa Approach Control to maintain 6,000 feet MSL and advise outbound off the Tulsa VOR.
1825:44 The pilot was cleared to descend and maintain 4,000 feet MSL and asked if he wanted the approach.
1825:45 The pilot advised that he had a visual on the Pryor airport.
1825:52 The pilot cancelled his IFR flight.
1829:52 The controller radar indicated the airplane was at 4,000 feet MSL with a groundspeed of 164 knots.
1830:04 The pilot was cleared to change to the airport advisory frequency with radar service terminated. No additional communications with the pilot were recorded.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION:
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner at Tulsa, Oklahoma, performed an autopsy on the pilot. During interviews, the passenger reported that he did not remember the impact; however, during the night he heard "mumbles which he believed to be from the other rear seat passenger."
A review of air traffic control data, transcripts (enclosed), and statements (enclosed) revealed the following summary information. The time of last communication and radar contact with the pilot until the location of the wreckage was approximately 12 hours. Unless otherwise indicated, all times are converted to central daylight time.
2054:43 The wife of the pilot called McAlester Automated Flight Service Station (MCL AFSS) to check on a flight plan for the airplane. She was advised that they would not be able to look it up without the "N" number.
2107:55 The wife called MCL AFSS and told them the number was "5319A."
2121: MCL AFSS sent messages of inquiry to Albuquerque (ABQ), Fort Worth (FTW) and San Angelo (SJT) Automated Flight Service Stations.
2124: ABQ AFSS sent a message to MCL AFSS with an ETA of 0415 UTC.
2127: MCL AFSS sent an inquiry to ABQ AFSS if 0415 UTC was an ETA or ETE?
2129: (0229 UTC) ABQ AFSS answered to MCL AFSS with a flight plan ETA 2245 UTC (1745 central daylight time). On the enclosed statement Southwest Region ATC personnel report that this information was not disseminated at the MCL facility.
2208:44 At the request of the pilot's wife, the Pryor, Oklahoma, airport manager and fixed base operator called MCL AFSS and stated they were looking for an aircraft about 4 hours overdue and with the "N" number "5319A."
2209:22 (0309:22 UTC) MCL AFSS supervisor informed the fixed base operator that N5319A had an IFR flight plan with an estimated time of arrival (ETA) of 0415 UTC (2315 CDT) which was about 1 hour and 15 minutes away.
The flight plan had an estimated time en route of 4 hours and 15 minutes; and with an actual departure time of 1427:27 that placed the actual ETA at 1842:27 local time.
0058:24 MCL AFSS initiated a series of calls to ATC Facilities and local authorities who started to search ATC data and airports. Approach controllers stated they did not have a record of working the aircraft. Approach control had a shift change at 2230 and the new shift did not have, and were not required to keep, records available from flights not currently being worked by the controllers.
0158:00 MCL AFSS issued an ALNOT.
0402:34 The wife called MCL AFSS and inquired about conflicting times. She was informed by a supervisor that the times had been sorted out and the flight should have gotten to Pryor about 1830.
0501:15 Airborne Express Flight 180 reported to Tulsa ATCT receiving ELT signal strong at the Pryor airport.
0617:29 Delta Airlines Flight 1604 reported to Memphis ARTCC receiving ELT signal 30 miles east of Tulsa.
0628:43 Oklahoma Highway Patrol Aircraft N110HP located the airplane at the Pryor airport.
The airplane operator, who also managed the Pryor, Oklahoma, airport, reported on the enclosed statement the following search information. The operator called McAlester AFSS at 2200 reporting that N5319P was 4 hours overdue. FSS advised the operator that the airplane ETA was 2300. The operator went to the airport to await the arrival. At 0100 the following morning, the operator called the FSS and was informed that the airplane had been handed off to Oklahoma City Approach and the airports around that area were being checked. At 0200 the operator departed the airport. Between 0330 and 0430 the operator was informed that Tulsa Approach had the airplane descending to the airport after 1800 Thursday evening. The operator was notified by the pilot's wife that the Mayes County Sheriff Office helicopter was going to be used in the search at sunrise.
The Mayes County Sheriff reported on the enclosed statement that he was called by a passenger's wife at 0200 and the pilot's wife at 0403. The sheriff sent out a statewide teletype at 0435. At 0507 the sheriff was advised that a DC-9 airplane had received an emergency message around the Pryor area. Units were contacted to search for the airplane and the sheriff report states the airplane was located at "0631" by an Oklahoma Highway Patrol aircraft.
The Pryor Fire Department (enclosed report) states they were notified at 0530 of a downed aircraft with a distress signal reported in the area west of the airport. Darkness and high weeds hampered the search.
The enclosed radio log for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol indicates they were notified at 0142 of the late arrival of the airplane. At 0420 they were advised that the airplane was descending east of Tulsa at 1815 and airports in the area were being checked. At 0517 they were advised that a DC-9 had picked up an ELT signal. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol dispatch log shows the Cessna located at 0634 at the Pryor airport.
TEST AND RESEARCH:
On October 12, 1994, the engines (enclosed report) and propellers (enclosed report) were examined at Mobile, Alabama. The left engine S/N 53946-73-M-R oil system was pressurized with 110 PSI and a crack was found in the right crankcase. The engine was run on a test cell for 25 minutes and oil leakage was observed forward of the number 5 cylinder. An engine teardown with examination by a Teledyne Continental Motors metallurgists revealed the crankcase fracture in front of the number 5 cylinder was in fatigue and progressive both upwards and downward within 1/16 inch of the lower oil galley. The engine also exhibited physical evidence of oil consumption. Teardown of the right engine S/N 51546-6-M did not reveal any anomalies that would have contributed to a loss of power.
Examination of the left engine propellers revealed that blade L2 counterweight had punctured the dome in the feather range position and the pitch change mechanism position was feather. Pilot tube fracture surfaces matching blade L1 placed the blade in the feather position.
Examination of the right engine propeller revealed the R2 counterweight puncture mark was located in the blade low pitch position. The R1 blade was bent rearward and twisted. Matching the fracture surfaces of the pilot tube in the blade and in the hub yielded a blade angle equivalent of about 18 degrees at the 30 inch reference station.
The airplane was released to the owner's representative.