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On June 10, 1995, at 0950 eastern daylight time, N10913, a Cessna 150L, and N2808L, a Cessna 172H, operated by Champlain Valley Aviation Inc., of Swanton, Vermont, collided in the traffic pattern at Franklin County State Airport, Highgate, Vermont. The student pilot in the Cessna 150L was not injured, while the certificated private pilot and the two passengers in the Cessna 172 were fatally injured. The Cessna 150L was substantially damaged, and the Cessna 172H was destroyed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and there were no flight plans on file for either flights. Both aircraft were being operated under 14 CFR 91.
The pilot of the Cessna 150L stated that he received his instructor's endorsement for solo flight on June 9. On the day of the accident he had completed one touch and go landing before leaving the traffic pattern to practice S turns and other maneuvers. He stated that there was a fly-in breakfast at one of the nearby airports, and there was a lot of traffic in the area. He stated that when he returned to the Franklin County State Airport, he reported his position and was told of a Cessna 150L in the pattern and another airplane taxiing.
He stated that the airplane was at 1200 feet Mean Sea Level (MSL), and he was about to turn downwind when he saw an airplane coming towards him. He stated that he was hoping that the airplane would turn, but it continued towards him, so he made a hard left, climbing turn. He stated that the Cessna 150L collided with the tail section of the Cessna 172H, and he saw the Cessna 172H descend to the ground.
The Cessna 150L was entering the traffic pattern at the turning point from crosswind to downwind when it collided with the Cessna 172H. The Cessna 150L was coming from the northwest with the sun directly in front of him. The Cessna 172H had just taken off from runway 1 and was turning from crosswind to downwind. The two aircraft collided about 1 mile west of the airport at pattern altitude of 1200 feet MSL. The Cessna 150L made a forced landing at the airport. The wreckage of the Cessna 172H descended into a wooded area.
The accident occurred during the hours of daylight at approximately 44 degrees, 57.47 minutes North; and 73 degrees, 07.03 minutes West.
The pilot of the Cessna 150L held a student pilot certificate, No EE0434766 with solo endorsement. According to available recorded flight time information obtained during the investigation, he had accumulated approximately 14 hours of flight time.
The pilot of the Cessna 172H held a private pilot certificate, No. 116443009, with single engine land rating. He was issued a first class Airman Medical Certificate on April 7, 1994, with no limitations. According to available recorded flight time information obtained during the investigation, he had accumulated over 77 hours of flight time.
The 1974 year model Cessna 150L, serial No. 15075128, was equipped with a Continental O-200-A engine, serial No. 250869-A- 48. The aircraft had over 5,569 hours of flight time, and had accumulated over 42 hours of flight time since the last 100 hour inspection that was completed on May 17, 1995.
The 1967 year model Cessna 172H, serial No. 17256008, was equipped with a Continental O-300-D engine, serial No. 35529-D-7- D. The aircraft had over 3,551 hours of total flight time, and had accumulated over 41 hours of flight time since the last 100 hour inspection that was completed on April 5, 1995.
The wreckage of the Cessna 172H was examined at the accident site. The airplane impacted nose first in a bog approximately one mile west of the airport. Examination of the impact crater revealed the engine was partially buried and parts of the engine cowling and forward section of the fuselage were found embedded in the ground. The engine was located in a crater about 3 feet deep in the ground. Removal of the engine from the ground revealed evidence of chordwise scratch marks along the face of both propeller blades.
The main wreckage consisted of the fuselage, the engine, propeller, left wing and right wing. The damage to the fuselage precluded a conclusive determination of flight control continuity. The flap actuator was in the retracted position and the elevator trim measured 1.4 inches. According to a Cessna Aircraft representative, this corresponded to flaps up and 5 degrees tab up.
The examination of the empennage revealed that a portion of the fuselage separated with the empennage. The empennage exhibited evidence of red paint and black rubber scuff marks. These marks were measured across the surface of the right elevator, with a resultant angle of 39 degrees.
The Cessna 150L impacted about 100 feet northeast of the runway separating the nosewheel and nosed over during the forced landing. The wreckage remained within the dimensions of the airplane and was oriented on a magnetic heading of 235 degrees. The elevator trim measured 1.6 inches. According to a Cessna Aircraft representative, this corresponded to 3 degrees tab up. The flaps were retracted and control continuity was confirmed to the ailerons, rudder and elevator from the control wheel.
Examination of the Cessna 150L engine revealed evidence of chordwise scratch marks along the face of both blades. One propeller blade tip was bent forward, and the second blade was bent rearward with the tip curled. The spinner was crushed.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
A Medical Examination was done on the pilot of the Cessna 172H by Dr Paul Morrow, Office of the Medical Examiner of Burlington, Vermont, on June 12, 1995. Toxicological tests were done by the Federal Aviation Administration in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The tests revealed the following:
Chlorpheniramine was detected in the liver by Immunoassay and chromatography. The liver contained 0.042 (ug/ml, ug/g)
Acetaminophen was detected in Kidney Fluid by Immunoassay and chromatography. The kidney fluid contained 18.800 (ug/ml, ug/g).
According to the Federal Aviation Administration the above drugs are not approved drugs for flying as they could affect the pilot's flying abilities.
A Recorded Radar Data Study was done by an Engineering Technician of the National Transportation Safety Board's Office of Research and Engineering. The report stated in part:
"...the data reveals an aircraft entering from the northwest into the downwind leg for runway 01. This aircraft, assumed to be the Cessna 150H, is shown at an altitude of 1500 feet MSL at 1340:17 and descending to at least 1200 feet MSL. Further, possibly after the collision, the aircraft attempts a forced landing and is last recorded at about 300 feet MSL near the northern portion of the runway. In the same time frame, a return presumed to be the Cessna 172H, is taking off runway 01 at 1340:41. After apparently turning crosswind, at 1341:53, the two returns are heading towards each other. It is in the area of the wreckage site that the midair collision probably occurred."
The wreckage of the Cessna 150L was released to Allen A. Ryan, the insurance company representative on June 11, 1995.
The wreckage of the Cessna 172H was released to Allen A. Ryan, the insurance company representative on June 11, 1995.