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On November 25, 1995, about 1819 eastern standard time, a Bellanca BL-17-30A, N28049, crashed into the intercoastal waterway near Kingsbay, Georgia. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight. The airplane was destroyed and the private-rated pilot and one passenger were fatally injured. The flight originated about 1400 from the Kupper Airport, Manville, New Jersey. The pilot advised a friend at Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, two days before the accident that he was planning on stopping there for fuel.
After departure about 1745, using a cellular phone, the passenger/pilot's wife contacted the friend who lives at Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, and stated that the flight was about over the Hilton Head Airport and her husband couldn't descend below the clouds. The pilot's wife who had flown with him several times sounded nervous but there was no mention of a problem. At 1710 and 1900 hours the reported cloud condition at the Hilton Head Airport was an estimated overcast layer at 800 and 900 feet respectively. The flight continued and about 1817.17, the pilot first contacted the Jacksonville Air Traffic Control Tower and advised the controller that the flight was about 22 miles northeast, inbound, landing. The pilot then contacted Jacksonville Approach at 1818.06, and advised that he would "...get a little bit orientated first, ...10 miles east-northeast inbound landing, circle around out here and get a heading or give me vector." The airplane was assigned a discreet transponder code and the pilot was given the altimeter setting, wind information, and the active runway information. There was no further radio contact with the pilot. Attempts to contact the accident airplane by the flight crew of another airplane was unsuccessful but the flight crew reported hearing an emergency locator transmitter. The flight crew also reported that in the area of the accident site the base of the clouds was about 1,700 feet and also it was a dark night.
Review of recorded radar data revealed that the first secondary radar return was at 1818.54. The successive five secondary radar returns each about 5 seconds apart, one of which was in "coast mode", indicates the airplane began a descending turn to the left with a increasing ground speed. At the last recorded secondary radar return the airplane was located 19.2 nautical miles and 038 degrees magnetic from the Jacksonville International Airport.
A witness who was about 1/4 to 1/2 mile southeast of the crash site reported seeing the airplane flying from the north with the wing navigation lights illuminated. He then observed the airplane bank to the left while descending and heard the engine rpm and airspeed increasing. The airplane impacted the water left wing low and he did not observe a fire before or after impact with the water. He further stated that it had just turned dark about 10-15 minutes before the accident.
The pilot's logbook was not located therefore current flight time information was not obtained. Review of the airman's file indicates that he was not instrument rated. Further information pertaining to the pilot is contained on page 3 of this report.
The airplane was equipped with gyroscopic attitude and heading indicators, and a turn coordinator. The aircraft logbook was recovered and is an attachment to this report. Further information pertaining to the airplane is contained on page 2 of this report.
The end of twilight was calculated to be 1751 hours and the percent illumination of the moon was 16 percent. Further information pertaining to the weather is contained on pages 3 and 4 of this report.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
Examination of the recovered wreckage revealed evidence consistent with a high speed impact. Photographs are an attachment to this report.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL
A post-mortem examination was performed on the pilot by Steven F. Dunton, M.D., Forensic Medical Examiner, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Division of Forensic Sciences (GBI-DOFS). The cause of death was listed as generalized trauma. Toxicological testing of specimens of the pilot was performed by the FAA Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory. The results were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, volatiles, and tested drugs.
An external examination and toxicological tests of the passenger were also performed by the GBI-DOFS. The cause of death was listed as generalized trauma and the tests were negative for ethanol in the blood.
The recovered wreckage with the exception of the aircraft logbook was released to Mr. Harry D. Brooks, an insurance adjuster for Carson-Brooks, Inc., on December 14, 1995. The retained aircraft logbook was released to Mr. Christopher Heffernan, at 1200 N. Yale Dr., Hollywood, Florida 33021, on December 15, 1995.