HISTORY OF THE FLIGHT Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
On April 21, 1995, about 1700 eastern daylight time, a North American AT-6D, N319DR, registered to Todd Eberhard, crashed following loss of engine power near Sebastian, 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 airline-transport pilot and one passenger were fatally injured. The flight originated from Waycross, Georgia, on April 21, 1995, about 1500.
Witnesses observed the aircraft flying south at about 300 feet, 200 yards from shore. The engine was heard to sputter and lose power. The aircraft turned toward shore. As the aircraft reached shore, it was observed to begin a left turn. The aircraft's nose dropped, and the aircraft descended nose down until it impacted on the beach. A postcrash fire erupted and consumed the cockpit and inboard wing areas of the aircraft.
Logbook records for the pilot were not located after the accident. The pilot's total flight time in the North American AT-6D was not determined. Additional information on the pilot is located in this report under pilot information.
Logbook records for the aircraft were started on November 1, 1988. The aircraft was estimated to have 5,000 total flight hours at that time. On November 4, 1988, an FAA airworthiness certificate was issued for the aircraft. The aircraft is estimated to have flown 620 flight hours since that time.
Engine logbook records showed the engine was installed on the aircraft on November 1, 1988. At that time the engine was reported to have 366 flight hours since overhaul. The total time on the engine is not known.
Additional aircraft information is included in this report under aircraft information and in attachments.
Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. Additional meteorological information is included under weather information.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The aircraft crashed on the beach adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean, 1 mile north of the Sebastian Inlet, Sebastian, Florida. Examination of the crash site showed the aircraft impacted in about a 45-degree nose down attitude. After impact a fire erupted and consumed the cockpit and inboard wing areas.
Examination of the wreckage showed all components of the aircraft which are necessary for flight were located on or around the main wreckage. Continuity of all flight control cables was established.
Examination of the engine showed the engine would rotate about one half turn and then lock. The Nos. 1, 4, 5, and 6 pistons had over traveled and contacted the heads of the cylinders. Teardown examination showed the No. 5 master rod had separated near the crankshaft and was found in several pieces. The No. 1 connecting rod had separated near the point it attaches to the piston pin and remained attached to the crankshaft. The Nos. 4 and 6 connecting rods separated near the crankshaft and remained attached to the pistons. Each of the separated rods was bent in the opposite direction of normal engine rotation.
Each of the cylinder barrels had damage from the disconnected rods striking them as the engine rotated. All fracture surfaces of the separated connecting rods had sustained damage and could not be metallurgically examined. All components of the engine were oiled and none of the bearings showed oil starvation damage. The crankshaft, camshaft, and cam lobes were normal. All engine counter weights were properly installed. All spark plugs showed color consistent with normal operation. Both magnetos had been consumed by the postcrash fire. Examination of the carburetor showed all passages were unobstructed.
Examination of the propeller showed that neither blade had damage consistent with rotation under power at ground impact. One blade was straight and one blade had been bent aft. The straight blade was found in the high pitch position. The bent blade was found to have been driven to the low pitch position during impact. The dome piston had been driven to the low pitch position during impact. The propeller is designed to go the high blade angle after loss of engine oil pressure.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
Post-mortem examination of the pilot and passenger was performed by D.J. Wickham, M.D., District Medical Examiner, Brevard County, Florida. The cause of death for each was attributed to multiple blunt force injuries. No findings which could be considered causal to the accident were identified.
Post-mortem toxicology tests on specimens obtained from the pilot were performed by Dr. D.J. Wickham, and John W. Soper, Ph.D., Scientific Director, FAA Toxicology Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The tests were negative for ethanol alcohol, carbon monoxide, cyanide, and drugs. The tests were positive for 52.70 ug/ml salicylate.
Post-mortem toxicology tests on specimens obtained from the passenger were also performed by Dr. D.J. Wickham, and Dr. John W. Sopher. The test were positive for 6.7 percent carbon monoxide. The tests were negative for cyanide, ethanol alcohol, and drugs.
The aircraft wreckage was released to the registered owner on April 24, 1995. Components retained by NTSB for examination were released on May 17-18, 1995.