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On May 31, 1995, at an unknown time,after 2108 central daylight time, N4207B, a Bellanca 17-30A, registered to and operated by the pilot, crashed in Corinth, Mississippi, while on a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight. Instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed. The airplane was totally destroyed and the pilot, the sole occupant, received fatal injuries. The flight had just originated at the time of the accident.
A person who identified himself as the pilot of N4702B telephoned the FAA Flight Service Station in McAlester, Oklahoma about 1044 the same day and requested a weather briefing for a VFR flight proposed at 1430, to Muscle Shoals, Alabama. At 1349 the same individual called again at 1349 and received another briefing for the same proposed flight. During both briefings the pilot was told that VFR flight was not recommended. At 1520, the pilot of N4207B called by radio to personnel on duty at McAlester FSS and again was told the VFR flight was not recommended.
At 1554, the pilot contacted briefer on duty at Jonesboro AFSS and stated he was 40 miles east of Harrison, Arkansas, and was at 8,000 feet msl. At 1655, the pilot of N4207B contacted briefer on duty at Memphis flight watch and stated that he was in deteriorating weather conditions and had descended to 2,000 feet msl. He requested a weather update for his destination, and again was told that VFR flight was not recommended. At 1746, the pilot telephoned the briefer on duty at the Jackson, Mississippi FSS and stated he was on the ground at Bolivar, Tennessee, and requested a weather briefing. He was again given a briefing and was advised the VFR flight was not recommended. Witnesses in the air and on the ground in Corinth, Mississippi, stated the pilot landed at Corinth about 1830, purchased 51 gallons of fuel and used the airport courtesy vehicle to drive to town for food.
At 2108, the pilot telephoned the briefer on duty at Anniston, Alabama, for a weather briefing for a flight to his destination leaving immediately. Again he was advised that VFR flight was not recommended and more fog was forming along his intended route of flight. While the pilot was receiving his briefing on the ground an airport FBO employee recommended a good hotel in the area and again offered the pilot the use of the courtesy vehicle for the night. The pilot declined the offer.
When the pilot did not arrive at his destination family members notified the authorities and a search was initiated. The wreckage was located about 1 mile north of runway 35, of the Corinth Airport. in a wooded area about 1405, June 2, 1995.
The pilot was the holder of a private pilot's certificate with ratings for single, and multi-engine land airplanes The pilot did not have an instrument rating. A search of records available at the FAA Records Center located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, revealed the last medical certificate issued to the pilot was a Class II issued on October 9, 1990. The pilot's logbooks were not located.
N4207B was a Bellanca 17-30A registered to the pilot Steven J. Clark. Available records indicated that airplane had a annual inspection conducted on March 1, 1995, and had 2,261 total hours at that time. Due to total destruction of instruments of the airplane no determination of the total time at the time of the accident could be determined. Additional aircraft information is attached to and included in this report.
The closest weather reporting station to the accident site was in Tupelo, Mississippi, about 50 miles to the south, and was reporting VFR conditions. Witnesses in the air and on the ground at the Corinth Airport reported ceilings of 1,000 feet and visibility of 3 miles, with the visibility decreasing.
A review of satellite imagery was conducted by the NTSB Operational Factors Division. The results of the data indicate cloud cover over the Corinth, Mississippi, area at the time of the accident.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
Examination of the wreckage path indicated the airplane entered the trees in about a 90- degree right bank with the right wing tip and shattered wing debris, at the beginning of the narrow wreckage path aligned on a 360- degree magnetic heading. The fuselage area was found about 35 feet further along the path. The engine was found separated from the airplane engine mounts. The propeller was found partially buried in the soil. About 40 feet further along the path was the shattered left wing. The wreckage was removed from the site and transported to the airport for further examination. Numerous trees along the wreckage path exhibited slashing marks consistent with propeller blade cuts.
The propeller exhibited leading edge damage, chordwise scratching, and "S" shaped bending to all three blades. All control cables and aerodynamic control surface attachments were found attached or exhibiting failures consistent with overload forces.
The engine was crated and shipped to Mobile, Alabama, for examination. Local FAA employees assisted in the engine examination on August 22, 1995. The engine exhibited no preimpact failures or malfunctions that would have precluded normal operation. Additional engine examination details are attached to this report.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
Due to the massive destruction, and time between the accident and the location of the wreckage no post-mortem examination was conducted. The local coroner obtained tissue samples, and examination of the tissues by the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology revealed no basic or acetic drugs. Due to the condition of the samples no test was conducted for alcohol or carbon monoxide.
The wreckage of the airplane was released to Mary Joe Tennis representing the insurance carrier for the airplane on June 6, 1995.