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On October 7, 1994, at 2010 central daylight time a Beech 58, N258CH, departed Fargo, North Dakota, with the intended destination of Walker, Minnesota. The airplane went missing and was discovered on October 14, 1994, at approximately 1400. The wreckage was located 10 miles southwest of the intended destination near the crest of a hill, in a wooded area. The accident is presumed to have occurred at approximately 2050 on October 7, 1994. The airplane was destroyed on impact with trees. The instrument rated commercial pilot and one pilot rated passenger sustained fatal injuries. Weather in the area was reported as instrument meteorological conditions prevailing. Witnesses reported low ceilings, rain and wind gusting from the northwest near the presumed time of the accident.
Trees and foliage were damaged during the impact.
The pilot-in-command was born August 24, 1949. He was the holder of a commercial certificate with instrument privileges for airplanes, and multi and single engine land ratings. His most recent biennial flight review was on August 4, 1994. He had accumulated a total of 6,138 hours with 1,950 hours in this type of airplane at the time of the accident.
The passenger held a commercial pilot's certificate; however, his medical certificate was expired. Federal Aviation Administration inspectors stated that to their knowledge he had not been acting as pilot-in-command for over one year prior to this flight.
The airplane was a Beech 58, serial number TH-541, N258CH. The airplane had accumulated 7,451 hours time in service at the time of the accident. The left engine had 1,234 hours and the right engine 610 hours since overhaul. The most recent inspection was conducted on September 26, 1994, fourteen hours prior to the accident.
The nearest reporting station was Bemidji, Minnesota, located 24 nautical miles to the northwest of the accident site. At the approximate time of the accident this station was reporting IFR conditions with an 800 foot ceiling. The elevation of the Bemidji Airport is 1,390 feet mean sea level (MSL). A pilot interviewed at the Park Rapids, Wisconsin, airport stated that he conducted an ILS approach to that airport about 1900 and at that time the ceiling was 400 to 450 feel overcast with about 4 miles visibility in drizzle and fog. He stated that the wind was 310 degrees at 19 knots with gusts to 26 knots. Park Rapids Airport is located about 18 nautical miles southwest of the accident site. The elevation of the airport is 1,443 MSL.
The last known communications from the accident airplane was with the Fargo (ND) Air Traffic Control Tower at 2021, when radar showed the airplane to be twenty miles east of Fargo, North Dakota, when radar service was terminated.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The wreckage was on a hill approximately 10 miles southwest of the intended destination of Walker, Minnesota. The elevation of the hill was listed in Minnesota records as 1,611 feet mean sea level. Trees at the top of the hill averaged 65 feet in height and ranged from six to 12 inches in diameter at the base. The initial broken tree tops indicate that the airplane entered the trees in a near wings level attitude on a heading of 060 degrees (magnetic), on the uphill side of the ridge (measured as a 7 degree up slope), continued northeast across the peak of the hill and settled through the trees on the down slope for a distance of about 200 yards from the initial point of impact. The airplane was shredded as it travelled through the trees. Small pieces of the wings and cabin were located at the beginning of the wreckage scatter. Fragments of both wings exhibited crushing along their entire chord line. There was no detectable ground impact in the form of ground scars from the airframe. The shredded parts of the airplane either remained in the trees or fell to the ground below the trees it impacted. The engines continued forward beyond the airframe through the woods on the down slope of the hill.
In a post accident examination, both engines turned by way of the crankshaft and continuity was established thru all pistons and accessory section. The propellers were separated at the crankshaft attach flanges and found along the impact path in the direction of travel. Both propellers showed evidence of leading and trailing edge damage in form of gouges, scratching, bending and twisting. Trailing edges of propellers showed bending in a wavy manner. The cockpit was destroyed with the engine controls separated from their respective engines. The flight and engine controls were separated and definitive pre-accident position and condition was not discernable. Both flaps and landing gear were retracted. Both vacuum pumps were intact and appeared undamaged. No pre-existing anomalies were noted during the post accident examination of the engine, propellers and airframe.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
A post mortem examination of the pilot was conducted on October 15, 1995, at St. Joseph's Medical Center, Brainerd, Minnesota. During the examination no pre-existing pathology was reported which may have contributed to the accident. Toxicological specimens from the pilot were ordered, but not performed due to the extended time between his demise and the time of the collection of specimens.
Parties to the investigation were the Federal Aviation Administration, Flight Standards District Office, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Beech Aircraft, Wichita, Kansas; and Continental Motors, Mobile, Alabama.
The aircraft wreckage was released to an insurance representative of the owner on November 9, 1994.