FTW95FA080
FTW95FA080

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On January 3, 1995, approximately 1817 central standard time, a Beech 65-90, N101GA, was destroyed during approach to the Hot Springs, Arkansas, Memorial Airport. The airline transport pilot-in-command and commercial pilot-rated passenger were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed.

The pilot obtained a weather briefing and filed an IFR flight plan to Pueblo, Colorado, at 1442. An IFR clearance was issued at 1810 and the airplane took off from Hot Springs at 1814. One minute later, the pilot advised Memphis Air Route Traffic Control Center he had to return to Hot Springs. He was instructed to maintain 3,000 feet. "We ain't got a problem, we just need to come back in and land," the pilot said. The pilot then asked for permission to switch over to the unicom frequency.

According to the pilot's father, operator of Airborne Flying Service, his son called him on the radio and said the airplane's cabin heater was not working. The father suggested that he return. He said the mechanics were still at the airport, they would fix the heater, and he could resume his flight without too much delay. At about this time, he heard his son say, "Oh, shoot!" This was the last radio contact with the airplane. Two witnesses listening on monitor radios confirmed the conversation. One witness said that whereas the pilot did not sound panicky, his voice was one of concern.

Two witnesses who reported seeing the airplane go down were asked to submit written statements. None were received. One of these witnesses, located 5 miles south of the accident site, was interviewed by telephone. He said he saw a "glow in the clouds" that "spread out." Seconds later, he heard the engines "screaming," saw a "trail of fire," then heard the noise of a "prolonged impact."

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

A maintenance records review disclosed that in October 1993, the airplane's janitrol heater (p/n A10D40, s/n 5771618) was removed because it failed the "heater decay test." After being overhauled and pressure checked, the unit was reinstalled in December 1993. No other complaints about the heater were recorded.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

Examination of the accident site revealed a 400-foot swath cut through the tops of trees on a magnetic heading of 125 degrees. At the 80-foot mark were portions of the right horizontal stabilizer and elevator. At the 170 and 200-foot marks were portions of the right wing and left horizontal stabilizer and elevator. Also beginning at this point were burned and sooted trees and vegetation. At the 275-foot mark was the lower portion of the rudder with attached trim tab. The first ground marks were noted at the 400-foot mark. At the 650-foot mark was the left main landing gear. The left propeller, engine power turbine disk, and reduction gearbox were 50 feet left of centerline. At the 700-foot mark was the aft portion of the cabin, and 90 feet left of centerline was the nose landing gear.

The cockpit area was located at the 720-foot mark, and the inboard portion of the right wing with attached landing gear was 30 feet right of centerline. At the 820-foot mark was the right engine gas generator assembly. The right propeller was located at the 940-foot mark.

No evidence was found indicative of an inflight fire. Only the cockpit area was gutted. The remaining wreckage was sooted that was easily rubbed off.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

Autopsies were performed on both occupants (ME-8-95 and ME-9-95) by the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory in Little Rock. Only one trachea was recovered and examined. According to the pathologist, there was no soot or carbonaceous material in the trachea.

Toxicological screens were conducted by the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology. These tests were negative for drugs. Tests for the presence of carbon monoxide and cyanide could not be performed.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The wreckage was released to the owner's representative on January 6, 1995.

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