HISTORY OF FLIGHT Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
On October 31, 1994, at 0235 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-28-151, N7207C, collided with trees and terrain during a missed approach at the Horry County Airport, in Conway, South Carolina. The commercial pilot had serious injuries. A pilot- rated passenger was fatally injured, and a non-rated passenger had minor injuries. The aircraft was operated under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91 by Consolidated Aviation Services, Inc. Instrument meteorological conditions existed at the time, and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was in effect for the personal flight. The flight originated in Atlantic City, New Jersey, at 2200, on October 30, 1994.
The pilot-in-command was interviewed on the day following the accident. He reported that a VOR/DME approach was flown for the landing at the Horry County Airport. He was at the controls in the right seat, and the other pilot, who was seated in the left seat, was visually searching for the airport. As the aircraft reached the published missed approach point, and the runway was not in sight due to ground fog cover, a missed approach was executed. He added power, and flew on instruments through a 180 degree turn to the left, and had planned to turn back to a 096 degree heading to the Grand Strand VOR. Just before completing the 180 degree turn, the left seat pilot was still looking for the runway. The left seat pilot then called out "I can see something down there it must be the runway." The pilot recalled looking over his left shoulder, past the trailing edge of the left wing, for the runway. He did not recall any subsequent events until after the accident had occurred. He stated that the engine was performing normally, as were the navigation instruments and avionics, prior to his loss of recall. He reported no other mechanical problems with the aircraft during the accident flight.
The non-rated passenger, who was in the rear seat, recalled that there were no aircraft mechanical difficulties discussed at any time. She stated that the weather became worse and worse as the flight progressed. She also reported that just prior to impact, there was no attempt to "pitch the airplane up." She distinctly remembered that the engine was running up until the time of the collision. She could not see any ground references; the aircraft remained in the clouds.
Witnesses, who were outside at the time of the accident, reported that the sky was obscured at the airport, with low visibility and fog. One witness reported that the visibility was less than one mile, and the sky was obscured at the airport. He also reported that the engine sounded normal. Another witness reported that the ceiling was about 300 feet, with zero visibility. He recalled hearing the engine when the aircraft overflew the airport, with the last noise being "three loud bangs on the ground."
The pilot-in-command, Stig V. Nilssen, is enrolled at the North American Institute of Aviation. His course of instruction commenced on March 1, 1994. He received his private pilot certificate (single engine land) May 11, 1994. He received his commercial certificate (airplane single and multiengine land, instrument airplane) on September 29, 1994. He received his flight instructor certificate (airplane single engine) on October 26, 1994. He had logged 1.4 hours of actual instrument time prior to the accident; 43 hours of simulated instrument time was logged. He had logged 21 instrument approaches since September 1, 1994, but he had not logged an instrument approach in the 30 days prior to the accident. Additional information on the pilot is contained in this report at the section titled "First Pilot Information.
The pilot-rated passenger, Nicolas Knoett, had been previously enrolled at the North American Institute of Aviation, but was not enrolled there at the time of the accident. He received his private pilot certificate (single engine land) on September 17, 1994. He was not instrument rated. Additional information on the pilot is included in this report in "Supplement E," attached to this report.
Information on the aircraft is contained in this report at the section titled "Aircraft Information."
There are no weather reporting facilities at the Horry County Airport. Witness accounts of the weather at the time of the accident are located in the "History of Flight" section of this narrative. Weather for the airport at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (MYR) is included in this report at the section titled "Weather Information."
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The main wreckage of the aircraft came to rest in an open farm pasture, about 1/2 miles east of the parking ramp of the Horry County Airport. The wreckage path was oriented on a magnetic heading of 105 degrees, and was about 550 feet in length. The initial impact area was the top of a tree, which was about 70 to 80 feet high. The outboard half of the right wing was found on the ground, adjacent to this tree. There was aft, crushing signature at the leading edge, extending aft, which coincided with the area of separation. The outboard halves of the right and left stabilator were found about 100 and 200 feet, respectively, from the initial impact site, aligned with the wreckage path.
The main wreckage was examined at the site, with the following observations noted. The inboard half of the right wing remained partially attached to the fuselage, and there was aft crushing damage to the leading edge, about 12 inches inboard of the wing section separation. The left wing was with the main wreckage. There were aft crushing signatures along the length of the leading edge, with soil and vegetation imbedded in the damaged areas. The left and right trailing edge flaps were found in the retracted position. Flight control continuity was confirmed to from both ailerons to the cockpit area.
The fuselage was found on its left side. The cockpit area was opened, and exposed to the elements. The engine was separated from the firewall, and adjacent to the main wreckage. Aft crushing signatures were observed in the forward fuselage area, and buckling was observed on the tailcone. The leading edge of the vertical stabilator had aft crushing on the right side. The stabilator trim tab was found in the neutral position. There was continuity of all flight controls from the empennage to the cockpit.
The wing fuel tank lines on both tanks were compromised, and leaking fuel was observed from both lines. There was fuel in the fuel selector valve. The fuel inspected was clean and blue in color; no water was observed in the samples.
The propeller remained attached to the engine. The mounting flange was bent, and several attachment bolts were pulled through. One blade was straight; the other blade was curved in a forward direction, about 10 degrees. There was blade surface polishing, with chordwise, and 90-degree scratches on the blade surfaces.
The engine was transported to a local maintenance facility, where a more complete examination could be performed. Compression was observed on all cylinders, and internal engine continuity was confirmed. The right magneto turned properly, and was correctly timed. The left magneto was broken from its mount, and produced a blue spark when rotated by hand. The engine driven fuel and vacuum pumps operated when the engine was turned by hand. The carburetor was disassembled at the parting surfaces. The float chamber was clean. The throttle valve, mixture control, and float valve all operated. For more details of the engine examination, refer to the Federal Aviation Administration inspector's statement, attached to this report.
The aircraft wreckage was released to:
Timothy J. Dugan THG - Inflite Aviation Adjustment Group 5832 Farm Pond Lane, Suite 102 Charlotte, North Carolina 28212.