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On September 15, 1995, about 1520 eastern daylight time, N1543X a Piper PA-34-200T, registered to Flagship Carpets Inc., crashed in Dalton, Georgia, while on a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the flight. The pilot and the passenger were fatally injured and the airplane was destroyed. There was an extensive postcrash fire. The flight had originated about 20 minutes earlier.
The pilot contacted controllers on duty at Chattanooga Approach Control for flight following about 1511 and stated the flight was climbing to 7,500 feet. The flight progresses normally until about 1513 when the pilot radioed that she was returning to Dalton due to problems with the airplane's left engine. The controller issued a radar heading to the pilot. Radar and radio contact with the flight was then lost. Witnesses on the ground observed and heard the sound of both engines loss of power. The airplane then nosed down and crashed into trees and the ground. The witnesses then observed fire and smoke. The airplane continued to burn for about 3 hours until local workers on the ground hiked to the scene, and attempted to extinguish the small remaining ground fires.
The pilot was the holder of a private pilot's certificate with ratings for airplane single and multi engine land airplanes. Additional pilot information is included in, this report under First Pilot Information on page 3.
Additional airplane information is included in, this report under Aircraft Information on page 2.
Visual meteorological conditions were reported by the Dalton, Georgia Airport Automated Weather Observation Station (AWOS), and witnesses in the area of the accident scene. For more information see the AWOS report.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The main wreckage of N1543X was located inverted in a heavily wooded area about 5 miles Southwest of the Dalton Airport. The wreckage was extensively burned. Control continuity was established for all aerodynamic flight controls from the cockpit to all control surface fittings. Both engines were still attached to their respective engine mounts and the left propeller had separated from the driveshaft at the engine front bearing area. The left propeller was subsequently examined and found to be in the feathered position. The right propeller was removed and examined and was found to be in the high rpm position. The engines were removed and transported to a local shop for examination. The No. 6 cylinder of the left engine was found to have the piston dome hammered and the dome failed. The No. 6 exhaust and intake valve was missing from its keeper, and fragments of the valve were located in the cylinder. The valve rocker arm was examined and found to be extensively worn. The airplane fuel selectors and valves were removed from the accident scene and laid out on a table for examination. A test using 80 psi shop air was conducted and the left engine fuel selector was found in the on position and the right engine fuel selector was in the off position.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
A post-mortem examination of the pilot was conducted by Dr. Floyd James at the Hamilton Medical Center. Dr. James reported the cause of death to be multiple blunt traumatic injuries and massive fire charring. Results of toxicological examinations of tissues from the pilot conducted by the Civil Aeromedical Institute, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma were negative for alcohol, and basic and acetic drugs.
On September 17, 1995, the wreckage of N1543X was released to Mr. Harry Brooks of Southern Aviation Insurance Inc., representing the estate of the owner.