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On February 28, 1995, at 1140 central standard time, a Beech 95-B55B, N207Q, was destroyed during the initial climb after takeoff near Midway, Arkansas. The non-certificated pilot was fatally injured. No flight plan was filed and instrument meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight.
Prior to departing Baxter County Regional Airport (BPK), the airplane was observed taxiing to runway 23 for what witnesses characterized as a "downwind takeoff". The witnesses described the airplane as "veering" and "swerving" from one side of the runway to the other during the takeoff roll. One witness estimated the airplane's airspeed to be 50 to 60 knots when it exited the left side of the runway, "pitched up violently" and became airborne.
The airplane "immediately" entered a left bank "barely" clearing trees east of the runway. One witness stated that the pilot "didn't seem to be in control of the aircraft at any time. He was gaining and losing altitude in an abrupt way. Both engines seemed to be making full power the whole time of the flight." Another witness stated that "the aircraft never got any higher than 200 to 300 feet" and that "after leveling out for a brief period of time" it descended into a wooded area. After losing sight of the airplane, several witnesses reported hearing an "explosion" and seeing a "cloud of black smoke."
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has no record of the pilot having either an airman or a medical certificate. According to the previous owner, the pilot purchased the airplane in March 1994. No witnesses were located who had knowledge of the pilot receiving any flight instruction in N207Q or any other aircraft.
During the post-impact fire, the engine logbooks were destroyed and the aircraft logbook was partially consumed. Examination of the surviving maintenance records revealed no discrepancies that would have affected the airworthiness of the airplane.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The wreckage was located approximately 1 mile northeast of the airport in a heavily wooded area. Parts of the airplane were scattered in a linear pattern on a magnetic heading of 030 degrees over a total distance of 263 feet from the initial tree scar to the final resting place of the fuselage and engines. Both wings and the empennage were separated from the fuselage. Due to the extent of the damage, only partial control cable continuity could be established. The landing gear was extended and the wing flaps were in the up position. All cockpit instrumentation was destroyed by the post-impact fire.
Examination of the engines did not disclose any pre-impact mechanical anomalies. The right propeller separated from the crankshaft. Both propeller blades were loose in the hub and one displayed evidence of rotational scoring. The left propeller remained attached to the crankshaft. One blade was in the feather position and the other was in a low pitch position.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The autopsy was performed by William Q. Sturner, M.D., Chief Medical Examiner at the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory in Little Rock, Arkansas. The Federal Aviation Administration Southwest Regional Flight Surgeon reviewed the toxicology findings and reported the following:
"According to Dr. Canfield, CAMI toxicology laboratory, the 0.690 (ug/ml, ug/g) Methamphetamine detected in blood is well above therapeutic level. In addition, he was found to have Tetrahydrocannabinol Carboxylic Acid (Marihuana) and Diazepam (Valium) and its metabolites. These drugs, both individually or combined, could certainly have caused significant impairment. The origin of the Diazepam is not clear (i.e. hospital administered or abused), but it is not uncommon for someone abusing amphetamines to take this sedative hypnotic to counteract the euphoria."
TESTS AND RESEARCH
The left propeller was shipped to the manufacturer for a teardown and inspection which took place on 04/24/95. Evidence of propeller rotation at impact was denoted by rubbing contact between the counterweights and the hub. Rub marks made by one of the counterweights on the top of the blade retention nut were found at locations corresponding to blade angles of 16.7 and 27.6 degrees. According to the manufacturer, the normal operating range of the propeller is about 20.0 to 30.0 degrees with a low pitch stop setting of 15 degrees.
The wreckage was released to Chief Deputy Sheriff Terry Johnson of Mountain Home, Arkansas.