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On November 29, 1994, at 1705 eastern standard time, an American Aviation AA-1A, N9260L, right outboard wing panel struck the roof of an apartment complex, after the pilot lost control of the airplane, in Gastonia, North Carolina. The personal flight operated under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91 with no flight plan filed. Visual weather conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The airplane was destroyed by impact forces, and the pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The flight originated in Lakeway, Texas, with the last refueling stop in Anniston, Alabama. The flight departed Anniston, at 1300 central standard time (CST).
A series of navigational logs and flight plans were recovered from the aircraft wreckage at the accident site. A review of flight plan data from the aircraft wreckage revealed that the pilot had completed a flight to Lakeway, and was on the homeward portion of the trip when the accident occurred. A search of Federal Aviation Administration records disclosed that on November 29, 1994, the pilot received a weather briefing from Greenwood Flight Service Station, prior to departing Vicksburg, Mississippi. At 1240 cst, the flight landed at the Anniston Metropolitan Airport, Anniston, Alabama. According to a Flight Service Station (FSS) employee, the pilot refueled the airplane with 18.5 gallons of aviation fuel, and departed Anniston twenty minutes later without establishing additional radio contact with the FSS.
At 1700, N9260L was seen by witnesses in the vicinity of the accident site. According to an eyewitness, the aircraft engine cut out several times and finally quit. Another witness saw the aircraft's wings rocking several times, before the airplane entered a spiral like maneuver, and collided with the multi- family dwelling.
Information on the pilot is included in this report at the data field labeled "First Pilot Information". On May 12, 1995, the pilot received his private airman certificate.
Information on the airplane is included on the airplane at the data field labeled "Aircraft Information". N9260L was equipped with a 24 gallon fuel system. The review of the pilot's flight plan also disclosed that the pilot had flight planned for four hours of fuel endurance at five gallons per hour, and at 2400 engine rpm.
Visual weather conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. However, the pilot encountered rain showers as he approached his destination airport. Weather information is contained in this report at the data field labeled "Weather information". According to FAA records, the pilot received a weather briefing from Greenwood Flight Service Station.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION.
Examination of the accident site disclosed that the aircraft wreckage was scattered over an area 75 feet long and 40 feet wide. There was additional debris from the multi-family building. The fuselage section of the aircraft rested in an upright attitude. Both wing assemblies separated from the airframe and were adjacent to the damaged apartment building. The empennage section also remained attached to the airframe. All airframe components and flight control components were recovered and examined. The examinations failed to reveal a mechanical problem or a malfunction of any of the aircraft system.
The accident site examination disclosed that the aircraft right wing struck the roof of the apartment building as the airplane descended in a nose low attitude. Structural debris from the building was embedded into the leading edge of the right wing.
The engine and propeller assemblies were torn from the airframe and were located on the ground between the two wing assemblies. Further examination of the engine assembly revealed that the carburetor was broken from its normally installed position. The propeller assembly remained attached to the engine, and both blades sustained scrapping damage. There were also black smears from the roofing materials on the surface of each blade. Both propeller blades remained relatively straight without chordwise damage.
Examination of the carburetor assembly revealed that the mixture control was in the rich position and the throttle body was open. During the internal examination of the carburetor, approximately a teaspoon of fuel was recovered from the bowl. Only a few ounces of fuel were recovered from the entire fuel system. Examination of the remainder of the engine and propeller assemblies failed to disclose a component failure or system malfunction.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The postmortem examination on the pilot was performed by Dr. Robert L. Thompson on November 30, 1994, at the Office Of The North Carolina Chief Medical Examiner in Chapel Hill. The cause of death was reported as multiple trauma secondary to the aircraft accident. The toxicological examinations were negative for drugs and alcohol.
The following is a brief summary of the pilot fuel consumption for both legs of the flight:
Mr. Norris purchased 18.5 gallons of fuel at Anniston, Alabama, which is 360 miles south of Gastonia, North Carolina. His previous flight planning revealed that he had computed his true airspeed at 98 mph. Also in his flight planning to Texas, his paperwork indicated a planned fuel burn of 5 gph. During a leg of 292 miles, between Vicksburg, Mississippi and Palestine, Texas he flight planned 3+00 hours enroute with a 14 gallon fuel burn. His refueling bill revealed a fuel usage of 20 gallons, which was a higher than planned fuel consumption rate. Since the pilot did not complete the navigational logs for the return flight to Gastonia, the return altitude was not determined. Also, fuel conservation measures employed by the pilot for this flight were not determined.
The wreckage was released to:
Mr. Harry Brooks (Insurance Adjustor) P.O. Box 888525 Atlanta, Georgia 30356