ATL95FA014
ATL95FA014

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On November 13, 1994, at 1032 eastern standard time, a Cessna 172H, N8200L, collided with trees while maneuvering near Louisville, Georgia. The private pilot and one passenger were fatally injured. The aircraft was destroyed. The aircraft was operated under 14 CFR Part 91 by the Jefferson County Flyers Club of Louisville. Visual meteorological conditions existed at the time, and no flight plan was filed for the local, personal flight. The flight originated about 1000.

A witness observed the aircraft descend over a farm field, then level off about 25 feet above the ground. The aircraft reached the end of the field, which was bordered by a stand of 70 to 80 foot tall pine trees. He saw the aircraft pull up, and collide with the tops of the trees at the edge of the field. The right wing dipped, and the aircraft continued into a right, turning descent, until he heard the airplane crash. He reported that the engine sounded normal until the crash occurred.

Another witness was hunting with his son, and observed the aircraft flying over his position, about 500 to 600 feet above the ground. He stated that the aircraft was white and blue, with red stripes. He thought that the aircraft was flying slow, and the engine was at low rpm. He did not see the accident, but heard the engine running, and heard the impact.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot's total logged flight time was 203 hours, including 13 hours in the Cessna 172. He had logged 1 hour in the 30 day period prior to the accident, and 4 hours in the 90 day period prior to the accident. Additional information on the pilot is included in the section titled "First Pilot Information."

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

Information on the aircraft is included in this report at the section titled "Aircraft Information."

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

Weather information for Augusta, Georgia (AGS) is included in this report at the section titled "Weather Information."

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The aircraft came to rest, inverted, in a shallow pond. The distance from the area of initial impact (trees) to the main wreckage was about 668 feet. The magnetic heading from the area of initial impact to the main wreckage was 30 degrees.

The initial impact area consisted of pine trees, located at the edge of a farm field. Several pieces of clear plexiglass were found on the ground adjacent to the trees, in addition to several freshly broken tree limbs.

The main wreckage was righted, and pulled to the shore of the pond prior to the arrival of the National Transportation Safety Board investigator. The wreckage was then pulled from the water, onto the shore, to facilitate inspection of the wreckage.

The left wing exhibited buckling, and aft crushing damage throughout its length. The left aileron and rudder remained attached to the wing, and flight control continuity was confirmed to the cockpit. The left wing lift strut remained attached to the wing and fuselage. The left fuel tank cap was in place.

The right wing also exhibited buckling, and aft crushing damage, and the extent of the damage was greater when compared to the left wing. The right aileron and flap remained attached to the wing. Flight control continuity was confirmed to the cockpit. A large section of lower wing skin was pulled aft, and away from the wing structure. The right lift strut remained attached at the wing and fuselage. The right fuel cap was in place, and the right fuel cell was split open at the weld seam.

The engine was pulled away from the firewall, but still attached by cables and wire. The engine mount was broken. The propeller was still attached to the engine. One propeller blade was bent aft about 30 degrees, the other about 20 degrees. Light, chordwise scratches were observed on the blade surfaces. The top spark plugs from each engine cylinder were removed and inspected. The electrodes were normal in color and wear when compared to a manufacturer's inspection chart. Internal engine continuity was confirmed, and valve action was normal. Compression was observed on all cylinders when the crankshaft was rotated by hand.

The forward, right seat attach brackets were broken on both front seats. The other brackets were intact, with the bracket clamps pulled apart. Both front seat belt assemblies were intact.

The tail cone was buckled about one foot aft of the rear fuselage bulkhead. There was leading edge crushing damage on both the left and right sides of the horizontal stabilizer. The elevator remained attached to the empennage, and the elevator trim actuator was found in the 5 degrees tab up position. The rudder remained attached to the vertical stabilizer, and there was an aft tear in the vertical stabilizer, at its root, which was reportedly made during the retrieval of the wreckage from the water.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was not performed on the pilot because of the wishes of the family. Blood samples were forwarded to the Civil Aeronautical Medical Institute, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, for toxicological testing. Tests for ethanol and drugs were negative.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The wreckage was released to:

Jimmie Rickerson (Insurance Representative) Aeronautic Investigations 1450 Rivershyre Parkway Lawrenceville, Georgia 30243.

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