On June 26, 1995, at 0937 central daylight time, a Cessna 152, N4963H, was destroyed while maneuvering near Ben Wheeler, Texas. The commercial pilot and his passenger were fatally injured. The aircraft was being operated by Tyler Aero Company of Texas, Inc., under Title 14 CFR Part 91. The flight originated from Tyler Pounds Field located near Tyler, Texas, at approximately 0800. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local aerial photographic flight and no flight plan was filed.

According to witnesses, the airplane was observed "flying much too low and slow just above the trees." The witnesses stated that "the plane sure did wobble" and it appeared to them that "the airplane was going too slow to stay up." Another witness observed the airplane's "motor was cutting out" and "then he hit the tree then the ground." Another witness observed the airplane go "straight down" and that "he did not clip a tree."


The manufacturer recommended maximum gross takeoff weight for this aircraft is 1,675 pounds. The weight of the occupants, fuel, equipment, and the aircraft at the time of takeoff was calculated to be 1,764.3 pounds (see enclosed weight and balance calculations). The fuel burn rate of the engine of this aircraft, which was provided by the owner, was estimated at 6 gallons per hour. With a flight time of 1 hour and 37 minutes, this calculated out to an airplane weight of 1,704.3 pounds at the time of the accident.


The airplane came to rest on the north edge of a group of trees 25 to 30 feet high in a nose down position on a measured magnetic heading of 350 degrees. The airplane's engine was found buried in a pond's hard earthen dam with a propeller blade visible. The leading edge of the wings were parallel to the ground and compressed aft. The accident site was located 200 yards north of County Road 4614 and a quarter mile west of Highway 279.

Continuity was established to the engine and flight controls. The fuel tanks had been compromised and the fuel selector was in the "on" position. The flap jack screw indicated that the flaps were down 7 degrees. Leaves and twigs were found in the left main gear wheel fairing which matched the leaves on the trees at the accident site. An examination of the engine revealed no indications of anomalies that could have affected it's performance.


An autopsy was performed by the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences at Dallas, Texas, on June 27, 1995. Toxicology findings were negative.


The airplane was released to the owner's representative.

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