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On November 16, 1994, at 0240 Pacific standard time, a Beech C- 99, N63995, was destroyed following an a descent into terrain near Avenal, California. The aircraft was operated by Ameriflight, Inc., of Burbank, California, as an on-demand all cargo flight under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 135 of the Federal Aviation Regulations. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the accident. The pilot, the sole occupant of the aircraft, sustained fatal injuries. The flight originated at Burbank at 0151 as a nonstop flight to Oakland, California.
A review was made of the recorded communications between the accident airplane and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) facilities. The accident pilot acknowledged an air traffic control hand-off from Los Angeles Center to Oakland Center about 14 minutes before data was lost from the radar screen.
Also reviewed was the FAA air-to-ground communications tapes and recorded radar data from the Los Angeles and Oakland Air Route Traffic Control Centers (ARTCC). The review disclosed that the aircraft was level at its assigned cruise altitude of 10,000 feet mean sea level (msl) when the flight was handed off from the Los Angeles to the Oakland ARTCC. Approximately 11 minutes after the hand-off, the aircraft climbed 500 feet in 36 seconds, then entered a left descending turn. The Mode C information ceased at the start of the turn.
The pilot held an airline transport pilot certificate. He reported a total pilot time of 5,450 hours on his first class physical dated September 1, 1994, with 400 hours flown in the past 6 months.
The morning of the accident was the pilot's second trip to Oakland from Burbank. The flight was being conducted as a single pilot operation. The first flight to Oakland had been with a copilot who deplaned at Oakland.
Unsuccessful attempts were made through family members to find a family physician or someone knowledgeable about the pilot's everyday health.
The airplane was maintained in accordance with an FAA Approved Airplane Inspection Program (AAIP), and had accrued about 20,052 flight hours.
The airplane did not have an autopilot installed. It was configured for cargo with no seats aft of the cockpit.
A review of the airplane's cargo manifest was made in conjunction with operator-supplied loading distribution records. The operator reported that the airplane was loaded in compliance with weight and balance limitations.
Enhanced radar data from the National Track Analysis Program (NTAP), and the TRACK SORT were obtained from the FAA Oakland ARTCC for the aircraft. This radar data provided the latitude, longitude, and altitude of the airplane down to 5,600 feet msl.
The nearest official weather reporting facility was at NAS Lemoore (NLC). At 0255 hours Pacific standard time, NLC was reporting: estimated ceiling 4,000 feet broken; visibility 4 miles in fog; temperature 45 degrees Fahrenheit; dewpoint 40 degrees Fahrenheit; wind 340 degrees at 9 knots; and altimeter 30.02 inches of mercury with lower visibility was reported to the west.
Based on his recollection of the weather conditions, a company pilot flying the same route near the time of the accident reported the accident pilot was probably flying in visual flight rules (VFR) conditions.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The aircraft structure, components, and systems were accounted for at the accident site. The control continuity was not established due to the high degree of fragmentation of the airframe.
The airplane contacted the ground with the left wing tip. The wreckage path was along a 160-degree magnetic bearing from the initial point of impact. The fragmented wreckage was found scattered over a distance of about 996 feet in a southern direction fanning outward to a width of about 475 feet.
Both engines were found separated from the wing structure and buried in separate in-line craters.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
On November 17, 1994, the Kings County Medical Examiner performed an autopsy on the pilot. The cause of death was attributed to multiple blunt force trauma.
During the course of the autopsy examination, limited samples (skeletal muscle) were obtained for toxicological analysis by the FAA Aeromedical Institute in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The analysis was contracted to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington, D.C. The results of the limited analysis was negative for all volatiles and drugs.
TESTS AND RESEARCH
On June 13-14, 1995, both engines were examined and disassembled under the supervision of the Canadian Safety Board at the Pratt & Whitney Canada Service Investigation Facilities at St. Hubert, Quebec, Canada. According to their report, both the left and right-hand engines displayed rotational signatures to the engine's internal components. This is characteristic of the engines developing power at impact, likely in a high power range. There were no indications of any anomalies or distress to any of the engine components that would have precluded normal operation prior to impact.
On June 13, 1995, the propellers were examined and disassembled by a Hartzell Propeller Company representative at Bakersfield, California. According to the Hartzell report, the damage and impact signatures indicate that both propellers were in the governing range and had power at the time of the accident.
The airplane wreckage was released to the operator's insurance company representative on August 23, 1995.