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On March 18, 1995, about 1635 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-22-150, N7545D, registered to Richard J. Pereira, operating as a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, crashed while maneuvering in the vicinity of Staley, North Carolina. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The airplane was destroyed and the commercial pilot was fatally injured. The flight originated from Piedmont Triad International Airport, Greensboro, North Carolina, about 16 minutes before the accident en route to Siler City, North Carolina.
A witness stated he was working in his garden, when he heard the sound of an airplane descending. He looked towards the northwest, and saw a red and white Piper airplane pull out of a dive, and climb to about 1,000 feet. The airplane was observed in a 45-degree bank, descends to about 200 feet above the trees heading southbound, and pulls up at a 45-degree angle. The airplane leveled off, turned to the east, flew over his house, climbed to about 1,000 feet, and turned to the north. An increase in engine noise was heard, the airplane turned to the west in about a 45-degree to 90-degree bank descending to the south. The airplane rolled out of the turn east bound at about 150 to 200 feet above the ground, pulls up at about a 45-degree to 50-degree angle, and performed the same maneuver two more times. The airplane disappeared from view below the tree line about 4 to 5 miles southwest of his house.
Another witness stated he was building a barn next to his house when he heard a change in engine noise from an airplane flying towards his location. He looked up and observed the airplane descending in a dive estimated to be about 45-degrees nose down. The airplane was observed to begin a right spiraling turn at treetop level, when the nose pitched down vertically, and the airplane disappeared from view below the tree line. Just before the airplane collided with the ground, the engine noise quit completely.
Review of the pilot's logbook revealed his last recorded flight was on August 10, 1994. Approximate total flight time time was obtained through the family from an aircraft insurance renewal questionnaire dated May 4, 1995.
Information pertaining to aircraft information is contained in NTSB Form 6120.4.
Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. (For additional information, see NTSB Form 6120.4).
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The wreckage of N7545D was located in the grass on the east side of Foust Road in the vicinity of Staley, North Carolina. Examination of the crash site revealed the airplane collided with the ground in a nose-down attitude, right wing low, nosed over, and came to rest inverted. The engine was buried about 2 to 3 feet below the ground. The propeller was attached to the propeller flange, and the spinner was crushed and torn. Both propeller blades were bent aft. Slight torsional twisting was present on one propeller blade tip. Both wings were displaced aft with compression damage extending along the leading edge of both wings. The fuselage was compressed aft to the elevators. The left and right fuel tanks were ruptured. The vegetation in the area adjacent to the airplane wreckage showed no evidence of damage consistent with fuel spillage. No odor of fuel was present at the crash scene.
Examination of the airframe, flight controls, propeller, engine assembly and accessories revealed no evidence of a precrash failure or malfunction. All components necessary for flight were present at the crash site. Continuity of the flight control system was confirmed for pitch, roll, and yaw.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
Post-mortem examination of the pilot, Richard J. Pereira, was conducted by Dr. Thomas A. Sporn, Assistant Chief Medical Examiner, State Medical Examiners Office, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on March 19, 1995. The cause of death was severe trauma. Post-mortem toxicology studies of specimens from the pilot were performed by the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington D.C. These studies were negative for basic, acidic, and neutral drugs.
TEST AND RESEARCH
All airports that the pilot was known to frequent were contacted. None reported establishing radio contact or selling aviation fuel to N7545D on the day of the accident. The last reported sale of aviation fuel was on March 11, 1995, in New Bern, North Carolina. The last reported radio contact within the air traffic control system was with Greensboro south departure radar position, when radar services was terminated about 20 miles southeast of Piedmont Triad International airport on the day of the accident.
The wreckage was released to Lieutenant Cecil E. Berry, Randolph County Sheriff's Department, Asheboro, North Carolina, on March 19, 1995. The engine was released to Mr. Kenneth J. Honstetter, Guilford Technical Community College Aviation Center, Greensboro, North Carolina, on March 20, 1995.