HISTORY OF THE FLIGHT Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
On April 8, 1995, about 0911 eastern daylight time, a PA-28-160, N5718W, registered to a private individual, crashed while on approach to Albert Whitted Airport, St. Petersburg, Florida, while on a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The airplane was destroyed, and the private-rated pilot and one passenger were fatally injured. The flight originated from Okeechobee, Florida, on April 8, 1995, about 0800.
A person identifying himself as the pilot of N5718W contacted a flight specialist at the FAA St. Petersburg Flight Service Station by radio at 0836, reporting over Sebring, Florida and requesting flight following to Albert Whitted Airport. The pilot was given a radio frequency for FAA Miami Center, but read back an incorrect frequency. The flight specialist was unable to make further contact with the pilot. The pilot did not contact FAA Miami Center.
A person identifying himself as the pilot of N5718W called the FAA Tampa Approach Control at 0854. The pilot did not receive a response from the controller. The pilot again called Tampa Approach at 0901 reporting that he was inbound to Albert Whitted Airport. The controller assigned the flight a transponder code and attempted several times to have the pilot "ident". At 0908, the controller located the aircraft 2 miles northeast of the Albert Whitted Airport, in the airport traffic area. At 0908:57, the controller told the pilot to contact the FAA Albert Whitted Tower.
The pilot made contact with controllers at the Albert Whitted Airport Control Tower at 0909:10. The pilot was told to enter downwind for runway 6. At 0910:38, the pilot was cleared by the controller to land on runway 6. At 0911:06, the pilot reported on base leg for runway 6. No further transmissions were received from the pilot.
A witness at MacDill Air Force Base, located across Tampa Bay, northeast of Albert Whitted Airport, reported seeing a single engine airplane fly over the base on the morning of April 8, 1995. He heard the engine noise decrease as if the pilot closed the throttle. The engine then increased in power and the aircraft flew off to the west-northwest.
Witnesses in the area of Albert Whitted Airport observed N5718W flying east to west near the airport. The aircraft turned to the north. The aircraft was at a low altitude, the engine was at low power and the aircraft appeared to be at a slow airspeed. The engine suddenly went to full power and the aircraft banked to the right. The nose of the aircraft dropped down and the aircraft descended in a near vertical descent until it crashed in a residential area.
Information on the pilot is contained in this report under pilot information.
Information on the airplane is contained in this report under aircraft information.
Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. Additional meteorological information is contained in this report under weather information.
The airplane crashed in a residential area 1 mile southwest of the approach end of runway 6 at the Albert Whitted Airport, St. Petersburg, Florida. Examination of the crash site indicated the airplane was in a nose down, near vertical, descent when the right wing collided with the roof of a house located at 645 15th Avenue South, St. Petersburg. The airplane's right fuel tank separated and came to rest in the kitchen of this house. The remainder of the airplane crashed into the ground nose first and came to rest between the houses located at 645 and 651 15th Avenue South.
Examination of the crash site indicated all components of the airplane necessary for flight were located on or about the main wreckage of the airplane. The main wreckage was laying upright on a 45-degree heading. The wing flaps were in the retracted position. Continuity of the aileron, rudder, elevator, and elevator trim control cables was established. The stabilator trim tab was found set to the 7.5 degrees tab down or nose up position.
The engine was rotated and continuity was established within the crankcase, valve train, and accessory drives. Each cylinder produced normal compression. The magnetos separated from the engine during the crash sequence. Each magneto produced spark when turned by hand. Each spark plug had deposits which were consistent with normal engine operation. The carburetor had sustained impact damage and was separated from the engine. Examination of the carburetor showed all jets and passages were unobstructed. The engine-driven fuel pump separated from the engine during the crash sequence. The engine-driven fuel pump operated normally after the accident. The propeller had damage consistent with rotation with power during ground impact.
Examination of the airframe fuel system showed all fuel lines were unobstructed. The fuel selector valve was on left tank. Clean 100 low lead aviation fuel was found in the lines. The electric airframe fuel boost pump operated normally after the accident. Additional wreckage and impact information is contained in supplements to this report.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
Post-mortem examination of the pilot and passenger was conducted by Edward R. Corcoran, M.D., Associate Medical Examiner, Largo, Florida. The pilot and passenger died as a result of injuries sustained in the accident. No findings that could be considered causal to the accident were reported.
Post-mortem toxicology tests on specimens obtained from the pilot and passenger were performed by Ronald R. Bell, Chief Toxicologist, Office of the Medical Examiner, Largo, Florida and by Dennis V. Canfield, Ph.D., Federal Aviation Administration, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The tests were negative for ethanol alcohol, carbon monoxide, basic, acidic, and neutral drugs.
For additional medical and pathological information see supplements K.
TESTS AND RESEARCH
Radio transmissions from the pilot of N5718W which were recorded by the FAA Albert Whitted Airport Control Tower were examined by the NTSB Office of Research and Engineering. The transmissions made at 0910:41 and 0911:06 contained a constant 79.8 Hz. tone. This could be associated with a propeller rotation speed of 2395 rpm based on the fundamental frequency or a propeller rotation speed of 1197 rpm based on the second harmonic frequency. (See the Specialist's Factual Report of Investigation, Air Traffic Control Recording.)
A review of recorded radar data from the FAA Tampa Approach Control showed N5718W was at an altitude of 500 feet and had a ground speed of 101 knots when a downwind leg for runway 6 was established at 0910:40. At 0911:08, when the pilot reported on base leg for runway 6, the aircraft was on a heading of 269 degrees, at 300 feet altitude, and at a ground speed 101 knots. The last recorded radar return from the aircraft was at 0911:22. The aircraft was on heading 330 degrees, at 200 feet altitude, and at ground speed 100 knots. See attached radar data.
The aircraft wreckage was released to the estate of the registered owner in custody of James W. Burns, on April 9, 1995.