On May 20, 1995, at 1400 eastern daylight time, a Beech A23-24, N7984L, was destroyed while landing at Bader Field, Atlantic City, New Jersey. The pilot, Stephen Bender, was fatally injured, and the passenger received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed. The flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
In an interview, the surviving passenger reported that the flight originated at the Essex County Airport, Caldwell, New Jersey, with Bader Field, Atlantic City, New Jersey, as the destination. When the flight arrived in the Atlantic City area, the pilot circled Bader Field once, and made a radio call that was not answered. She said the pilot continued with the landing, and touched down on the runway, but they were fast. At the end of the runway, the pilot pulled up; however, the airplane struck an object, and came to rest in the water.
Witnesses saw the airplane land on runway 11 with a tailwind. They heard tires screeching, observed white smoke, saw the airplane accelerate, or heard power applied, and witnessed the airplane hit the bulkhead, after which it struck the water.
The surviving passenger added that the airplane immediately filled with water and sank beneath the surface. Both she and the pilot were conscious and able to move. She opened her seat belt and pushed against the cabin door open. The door was stuck initially, and then popped open. She exited the airplane and floated to the surface.
The pilot failed to exit the airplane. He was found still in the cabin and unrestrained.
Bader Field was an uncontrolled airport. The UNICOM was not manned continuously. A wind T and wind sock were co-located on the northwest side, of the approach end, of runway 22. Runway 11 was 2830 feet long, had an asphalt surface, and a dirt overrun of 200 feet. Skid marks were found on the last 449 feet of the runway, and continued into the dirt for an additional 14 feet.
On the overrun, the terrain sloped down to the water, which terminated in a bulkhead/seawall. It was constructed of wood and extended up 3 feet, 4 inches from the terrain.
Impact marks, along with both main landing gear, and the right horizontal stabilizer were found on the runway side of the bulkhead. Flat spots were found on both main landing gear tires.
No evidence of a mechanical failure or malfunction was found with the engine or airframe by the FAA. The aft fuselage was separated behind the cabin and attached with control cables. The bottom of the fuselage, in the vicinity of the break was pushed up. The right wing separated from the fuselage and was attached with control cables. A functional check of both seatbelts and shoulder harnesses revealed no problems.
Atlantic City Airport, which was 8 miles northwest of the accident site, reported winds from 340 degrees at 17 knots, with gusts to 27 knots.
The pilot's log book was not recovered. According to FAA records, on his last FAA Airman medical application, dated June 2, 1994, the pilot had a total time of 300 hours, with 25 hours in the preceding 6 months. He was estimated to have accumulated 50 hours in the preceding year for a total time of 350 hours.
The airplane maintenance records were not recovered. The date of last annual, airplane and engine total time, and time since last inspection, were not determined.
An autopsy was conducted by Lyla E. Perez, MD, Atlantic County, New Jersey, Medical Examiner, on May 21, 1995. Toxicological testing conducted by Atlantic County found no evidence of drugs or alcohol.