LAX95LA344
LAX95LA344

On September 29, 1995, at 1520 hours mountain standard time, a Cessna 172H, N8034L, crashed shortly after departing runway 21 at St. Johns Industrial Airpark, St. Johns, Arizona. The pilot was conducting a visual flight rules (VFR) personal flight to Ryan Field, Tucson, Arizona. The pilot filed and activated a VFR flight plan. The airplane, registered to a private individual and operated by Tyconic, Inc., Ryan Field, was destroyed. The certificated private pilot occupying the left front seat and his passenger, also a certificated private pilot, sustained fatal injuries. The left seat pilot died on September 30, 1995. Both occupants were German nationals. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The flight originated at Redbird Airport, Dallas, Texas, at 0537 hours.

The operator reported that the left seat pilot rented and received a check-out in the airplane before departing on the accident flight. He said the pilot and passenger were touring the United States.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Western-Pacific Region quality assurance person reported that the airplane landed at Franklin Memorial Airport, Luvington, New Mexico, at 0950 hours for fuel. The flight departed at 1015 hours and landed at St. Johns Industrial Airpark at 1500 hours.

The airport manager reported that the pilot fueled the airplane before departing on the accident flight. The airplane received 31.3 gallons of fuel which topped-off the airplane's wing tanks. The manager said that the pilot appeared to do a run-up before departing. During the takeoff, the airplane appeared to accelerate normally, but then lifted off prematurely in a nose- high attitude. The airplane began to settle and then appeared to climb momentarily.

When the airplane reached the departure end of the runway, it was still maintaining a nose high attitude and appeared to stall. The airplane right wing dropped and its nose rotated to a near vertical nose-down attitude and crashed.

The manager said that the engine sounded normal throughout the accident sequence of events. The surface winds were from 260 degrees at 21 knots, gusting to 37 knots.

An FAA inspector from the Scottsdale [Arizona] Flight Standards District Office conducted the on-site investigation. The inspector reported that he found pilot's seat ". . .jammed in the full rearward position. . .." He said that he found the seat adjustment pin in the retracted position. The adjustment pin secures the seat from moving in the seat track. There is no evidence that Cessna Service Letter SEB89-2, dated April 14, 1989, relating to a seat secondary locking device, had been accomplished.

Airworthiness Directive (AD)87-20-03, concerning inspection of the seat rail tracks was complied with about 160 hours before the accident. This AD requires that the seat rail tracks be inspected every 100 hours for aircraft used for hire; all other aircraft seat rail tracks must be inspected during every annual inspection.

Examination of the wreckage photographs showed that the airplane struck the ground in a near vertical nose-down attitude. Both wings leading edges were found symmetrically crushed rearward.

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