ATL96FA006
ATL96FA006

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On October 15, 1995, about 0800 central daylight time, a Luscombe 8E, N71590, collided with the ground during an uncontrolled descent at Picayune, Mississippi. The airplane was operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91, and visual flight rules. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. A flight plan was not filed for the personal flight. The commercial pilot and his pilot-rated passenger were fatally injured, and the airplane was substantially damaged. According to the pilot's friends, the flight had originated a few minutes prior to the accident.

There were no witnesses to the aircraft's flight path just prior to impact, nor the impact with the ground. An ear witness reported hearing the engine, then an impact, and called emergency services. The pilot's friends observed the pre-flight inspection, and the taxi to runway 23 for takeoff. After the takeoff roll commenced, they entered a hangar and did not see or hear the impact. The airplane crashed about 125 yards southwest of the runway 5 threshold, and about 25 yards east of the extended centerline.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single engine, multi engine, and instrument ratings. He also held an aircraft mechanic certificate with airframe and powerplant ratings. He was a certificated flight instructor with airplane single engine, and multi engine ratings. He held a second class medical certificate with a limitation for corrective lenses. Logbooks have not been obtained for the pilot. At his last medical examination on June 4, 1995, it was recorded that the pilot had logged a total of 4,000 hours, and 50 hours within the previous six months. Additional personnel information on the first pilot may be obtained in this report on page 3 under First Pilot Information.

The right seat passenger held a private pilot certificate and a third class medical certificate with no limitations. He acquired a total flight time of 70 hours. Additional personnel information for this pilot-rated passenger is contained in Supplement E.

The pilot and passenger were reported to be wearing headsets at the time of departure.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The Luscombe 8E is a two place, high wing, single engine, all fixed-tail wheel, airplane. Fabric wings and struts were removed and airworthy Model 8E metal wings and struts were installed and approved April 14, 1962. The metal wings have a 12.5 gallon fuel tank in each wing. Fuselage fuel tanks were removed and Model 8E hat shelf and quarter windows were installed. During this time, fuel lines were installed as per factory drawings, and a full electrical system was installed as per factory drawings and specs. An estimated twelve gallons of fuel was on board at the time of accident.

The hobbs meter was read at the accident site, indicating 0190.4. Considering this meter reading and the engine and airframe logbooks, there was a total of 1950 hours on the engine, and 2329 hours on the airframe. 72 hours were recorded on the flight hour meter since the last aircraft inspection on January 3, 1995.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The weather at the time of the accident was sufficient for flight under visual flight rules. Density altitude for the airport at the time of accident was sea level. Skies were broken at 15,000 feet above ground level, with a temperature of 54 degrees F. and dew point of 44 degrees F. Wind was 340 degrees at 7 knots with a visibility of 10 statute miles. Additional information is contained under the section titled Weather Conditions on page 3 and 4 in this report.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The wreckage was located about 125 yards southwest of the runway 5 approach threshold. There were broken limbs in trees that lined a road on the northwest side of the accident site. A crater was found in the ground adjacent to and southeast of the tree line. Pieces of the right wing were found in the first crater. A second crater was found about 75 feet on a magnetic heading of about 124 degrees from the first crater. Dirt was expelled from the crater along a 124 degree azimuth. Pieces from the nose of the airplane were found in the second crater. The main wreckage, consisting of the fuselage, empennage, and the right wing were found immediately southeast of the second crater. The left wing was separated from the wreckage and found about 150 yards south of the main wreckage. (See diagram)

There was substantial damage to the aircraft with the spinner, propeller, and cowling destroyed. The carburetor manifold was broken off, and the throttle valve was closed. The carburetor screen was clean, but with a residual odor of automotive gasoline. Valve covers were removed and had no evidence of heat distress, with lubrication. The top plugs were dark with soot, and had normal wear in accordance with the manufacture's wear chart. Left exhaust was compressed upward. An examination of the instruments revealed the following: The airspeed needle was found pointing to 125 m.p.h. A slap mark was observed at 110 m.p.h. The altimeter indicated a reading of 30.12 at 2,980 feet.

The elevator trim tab indicator was found half way between neutral and a fully deflected nose up position. The tail cone was found laying on its left side with the vertical stabilizer parallel with the ground, and the right horizontal stabilizer perpendicular to the ground. The right horizontal stabilizer and vertical stabilizer were undamaged. The left horizontal stabilizer tip was crushed spanwise as it lay impacted in the ground. The rudder and elevator connections had continuity. The left wing aileron cable was separated at the fuselage with the cable strands necked down, with no shear lip and the cable was unraveled. The left fuel cap was found installed backwards. The right wing aileron cable was connected to the control stick and the aileron.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

A post-accident examination of the engine revealed that the left magneto was firing only the number 3 cylinder. About 50 percent of the distributor rotor gear teeth was sheared off, resulting in the number 3 cylinder spark plug firing with each cam shaft rotation, and a rough running engine.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

A toxicology report of the pilot was performed by Dr. Dennis V. Canfield at the Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory of the Federal Aviation Administration in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The toxicological examination report was negative for ethanol and other drugs.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The airplane was released at the accident site to Windsock Aviation, 14 Hillcrest Lane, Carriere, Mississippi 39426. The aircraft records were released to Pulaski, Gieger and Laborde, Suite 4800, One Shell Square, 701 Poydras Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70139.

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