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On Sunday, October 23, 1994, about 2159 eastern daylight time, a Cessna T337G, N807J, collided into the Lewis Bay during takeoff climb from runway 15 at the Barnstable Municipal Airport in Hyannis, Massachusetts. The pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and location of the accident. During the climb to cruise, the pilot was in the process of activating an Instrument Flight Rules Flight Plan. The flight departed the Barnstable Municipal Airport about 2157 and was destined for the Farmingdale Airport in Farmingdale, New York. The flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.
According to the Boston Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) radio transcripts, the pilot of N807J first contacted a Boston ARTCC controller at 2157:06. The pilot reported, "Boston center skymaster eight zero seven juliett off hyannis heading of two one zero." The controller acknowledged the transmission and the pilot responded at 2157:17, "Zero seven juliett boston we're at six hundred feet." One minute later, at 2158:17, the pilot of N807J stated, "We got a major problem boston we're we're losing ah I can't (unintelligible) boston zero seven juliett." The pilot did not state the nature of the problem. At 2158:32, the pilot stated again "...we got a major problem...." This was the pilot's last recorded transmission. (See attached Boston ARTCC transcript for details).
Radar data obtained from the Boston ARTCC revealed the airplane departed the Barnstable Municipal Airport about 2156:56. The airplane maintained a southeasterly heading and reached an altitude of 1,100 feet mean sea level at 2158:08. At 2158:20 the radar data indicated that the airplane was in a left climbing turn. At 2158:32, at an altitude of 1,300 feet msl, radar contact was lost. (See attached Airplane Performance Data Using Recorded Data study for radar data).
Witnesses stated that they heard an airplane fly over their homes and impact the water. They stated the airplane was flying in a southeasterly direction prior to the impact. One witness stated, "...I was in my yard [and] heard noise of plane overhead but was unable to see it because of fog. I then saw a red light descending beyond houses to the south east of my position. It appeared that the engine was running up until the crash." Witnesses stated that it was "...poring down rain..." at the time of the accident.
The accident occurred during night hours at 41 degrees 38 minutes and 33 seconds north latitude and 70 degrees 16 minutes and 28 seconds west longitude.
The pilot held a private pilot certificate with instrument single and multiengine land ratings. The multiengine land rating was limited to "Center Thrust." The pilot's log book was not recovered. According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, at the time of the pilot's last application for an FAA medical certificate, dated January 8, 1993, he had accumulated a total of 2,500 flight hours.
The airplane received an annual inspection on June 22, 1994, about 18 flight hours prior to the accident.
According to fueling records at the Barnstable Municipal Airport, N807J received 97.7 gallons of AVGAS 100LL about 1700 on the evening of the accident.
According to the Bridgeport, Connecticut, Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS) records, at 1712 the pilot of N807J received a weather briefing for an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight from Hyannis, Massachusetts, to Farmingdale, New York, and filed an IFR flight plan. At 2103 the pilot called the Bridgeport AFSS and stated that the IFR flight had been delayed. The pilot did not state a reason for the flight's delay. The pilot received an update on the weather conditions and refiled an IFR flight plan.
At 2212, the Hyannis Weather Observing Facility recorded the following special weather observation:
Estimated 700 broken; 1000 overcast; 2 miles visibility with rain and fog; temperature 61 degrees F; wind 030 at 5 knots; altimeter 29.78 inches of mercury.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
Examination of the accident site revealed the airplane crashed in about 4 to 5-feet-deep water in the Lewis Bay. The main wreckage came to rest in a mud crater in the Bay floor. The front engine was buried in the crater, and the remaining wreckage debris was scattered in a southerly direction. The wreckage was retrieved from the Lewis Bay and transported to a storage facility for examination.
The fuselage, cabin area, and instrument panel were destroyed. The directional gyro was dismantled and scoring was noted about 270 degrees around its internal sidewall casing. The attitude indicator was not recovered. Both fuel selector valves were recovered but the valve positions were unreliable due to the damaged incurred.
The left wing leading edge skin was flattened, dimpled, and wrinkled, indicative of hydrofoiling. The left wing fuel tank was destroyed. The flap and aileron were found in pieces. The flap actuator indicated the flap was extended about 9 degrees. The left wing strut, containing the two Pitot Ports, was destroyed.
The right wing's leading edge was crushed aft. Its fuel tank was destroyed. The flap actuator indicated the flap was extended about 9 degrees. The aileron was recovered in pieces.
The tail booms, elevator, and elevator trim tab were attached to the fuselage by wires and debris.
All control cables were recovered in pieces. All ends of the broken cable were examined and showed features typical of overstress.
The engines were examined in Hyannis and then transported to Teledyne Continental Motors in Mobile, Alabama, for further examinations. No engine anomalies were noted. (See attached Teledyne Continental Motors Analytical Inspection Report for further details).
Both engine propeller assemblies were transported to McCauley in Vandalia, Ohio, for examination. The front engine propeller hub was fractured longitudinally into two equal halves along its fore and aft centerline midway between the blade bosses. The hub fracture faces were examined by Safety Board metallurgists. The metallurgists examination revealed that the hub fracture surfaces exhibited features typical of "single event overstress." Each Hub piece contained a blade. One blade exhibited forward bending and the other propeller blade was curled at its tip. The front engine governor was damaged. Impact signature markings found on the components of the front propeller were inconclusive in determining blade angle setting at impact. Some of the pitch change components, including the piston rod, were not recovered.
The aft engine propeller assembly was found intact. Its piston rod was damaged and markings on the rod indicated a blade angle of 24.5 degrees at impact. Additionally, the pitch change mechanism was at the feather stop indicating that the propeller was governing at a blade angle higher than latch position (15.5 degrees) at impact. The rear governor was intact and functioned. (See attached McCauley Memorandum for details of propeller examinations).
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The autopsy was performed by Dr. Weiner at the Barnstable County Hospital, Hyannis, Massachusetts.
The toxicology was performed by Dr. Barry Levine at the Armed Forces Institute in Washington, D.C. Negative results were reported for all screened drugs and volatiles.
Air Traffic Control Recording Study
According to the Boston ARTCC radio transcripts, there were eight transmissions made by the pilot from 2157:06 until the time of the accident. The transmissions were examined on an audio spectrum analyzer to see if they contained any background sound signatures that could be associated with either the engines or the propellers. During six of the recorded transmissions, two separate harmonic sounds were identified. Assuming the measured sound is a harmonic of the rotating propellers, a propeller speed was calculated for each. During the six transmissions made by the pilot, propeller speeds ranged from 2,554 revolutions per minute (RPM) to 2,790 revolutions per minute. No determination could be made as to the number of propellers or which engine was contributing to the sound signatures. (See attached Specialist's Factual Report of Investigation, Air Traffic Control Recording).
The airplane wreckage was released to Sharon E. Simmons, on June 6, 1995.