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On December 16, 1995, at 1400 mountain standard time, (mst) a Beech BE-35, N1969D, collided with terrain after takeoff from McElroy Field, Kremmling, Colorado. The certified flight instructor and student pilot received fatal injuries and the aircraft was destroyed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for this local area instructional flight operating under Title 14 CFR Part 91 and no flight plan was filed.
According to witnesses, the flight had been operating in the traffic pattern for about two hours. Following takeoff from a touch and go landing on runway 9, the aircraft was observed passing over a low hill and some electrical feeder lines in a nose high attitude with the wings "wobbling." It impacted in a field about 100 yards beyond the feeder lines and about one mile off the end of the runway. Weather at the time was clear skies and calm winds.
Investigation revealed that the aircraft was owned jointly by the father and son and the son, who was a certified flight instructor, was teaching his father to fly. According to persons at the airport, they flew nearly every Saturday, weather permitting, and usually stayed in the pattern.
The pilot received his private pilot certificate on September 4, 1982, his commercial and instrument certificate February 4, 1985, and his flight instructor certificate on February 10, 1985.
Two pilot logs were recovered. The last entry in the second log was made on September 5, 1990. Flight time accumulated after that date could not be verified; however, according to the student's log book, he flew 39 hours of dual with his father as the student between July 15, 1995, and December 2, 1995.
Recovered documents provided information that the pilot completed AOPA flight instructor's refresher training in September 1995.
The student pilot received his third class medical certificate and student pilot certificate on September 19, 1995. According to his log book, he started flight instruction, with his son acting as flight instructor, on July 15, 1995, and had accumulated 39 hours of flight time all of which was in the accident aircraft. He did not have a solo endorsement, and his last recorded flight prior to the accident flight was on December 2, 1995.
The aircraft log book provided information that the aircraft was a 1953 model and was reregistered, following the loss of the logs, in 1976. The aircraft was registered to the pilot and his father on August 26, 1995.
An FAA Form 337 was recovered and provided information that the aircraft had been involved in a landing accident in 1986, and subsequently the landing gear, belly skins, and propeller were replaced.
According to the aircraft log book, a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) was issued in April 1984, by Symons Engineering. This was STC SA-4-559 dated August 1958, for the installation of a fuselage 20 gallon auxiliary fuel tank. The STC documents were not located and proper installation could not be verified. It was noted that the fuel selector valve had no placards and the valve position was not marked. In addition, it was not visible from the right pilot seat.
There was no pilot operating handbook found in the aircraft. The only operating guidance found was a homemade checklist which covered cold starting, ground check, take off, climb, descent, landing, and shut down. No performance or emergency guidance was found.
According to the performance section of the pilot's operating handbook for this model, at 7,500 feet above mean sea level (msl), using full throttle and 2,450 rpm (maximum), maximum gross weight of 2, 910 pounds, and a standard day temperature, the endurance for the aircraft equipped with auxiliary fuel (53 usable gallons) was 3.4 hours. Any decrease in power used, decrease in temperature below standard, or decrease in weight would improve endurance capability.
The aircraft basic operating weight was 1,996 pounds. Combined pilot weight was 447 pounds, fuel weight at takeoff was 318 pounds and calculated miscellaneous equipment was 20 pounds. Thus, the takeoff weight was 2,781 pounds. After two hours of flight at maximum power, the gross weight would have decreased to 2,690 pounds.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
Impact occurred in an open field covered with sage brush. Impact track was 097 degrees magnetic and the ground scar was 67 feet 10 inches in length. The aircraft remained intact. (Refer to attached diagrams and photographs.)
The propeller remained attached. Blade 'A' was bent aft and exhibited gouges on the leading edge and chordwise scarring. Blade 'B' was bent aft approximately 14 inches from the hub and exhibited a forward bend on the outboard third of the span. The spinner was crushed upward over half its circumference and did not exhibit rotational deformation.
The engine remained attached and was bent downward with crush damage to the bottom. Continuity through the engine was established.
The left wing was intact and fuel cell integrity was present. The fuel tank contained approximately 7 gallons of fuel. The leading edge of the wing at the wing tip was compressed rearward and bent upward. The aileron was attached, the flap was attached and up, and the landing gear was down and twisted 90 degrees. Control continuity was established through the wing.
The right wing was attached and exhibited rearward crushing on the leading edge, an upward bow through the center section, and the wing tip was deformed upward. The fuel cell was intact and no fuel was found in the cell. No staining was observed on the ground around or under the wing. The aileron was attached, the flap was attached and in the up position, and the landing gear was down and bent rearward. Control continuity was established through the wing.
The cabin was intact and exhibited upward crushing of the bottom surface. The door (right) was attached and functional. All seats remained attached and restraint devices including shoulder harnesses were present and functional. (Emergency medical technicians, who responded to the scene, said both occupants had their seat belt and shoulder harness on.)
Pertinent control positions were as follows: Fuel gauge selector right main, flap switch up, landing gear control down, mixture control 1 and 1/2 inches out, propeller full increase, throttle full in, cowl open, fuel selector between detentes (5 o'clock position looking forward), magnetos off (secured by rescue personnel), carburetor heat off, one auxiliary pump on, and the other damaged.
The ruddervators and empennage were intact and undamaged. Ruddervator trim was neutral and control continuity was established.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
Autopsies were performed on both pilots by Dr. Ben Galloway, Aurora, Colorado.
Toxicological tests were conducted by the FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Verbal information indicates no toxicology issues. The result of those tests will be placed in the docket upon receipt.
TESTS AND RESEARCH
Two fueling receipts were recovered. The first was for December 2, 1995, at 1317 mst when 19.7 gallons of fuel was purchased for N1969D. The second was for December 9, 1995, at 1316 mst when 12.6 gallons of fuel was purchased for the aircraft. According to the airport manager, the pilot always fueled just prior to flight and had flown for approximately two hours on December 9th. The manager said no fuel was put on the aircraft prior to the accident flight.
The student's log book has an entry for December 2nd which provides information that 2.5 hours of flight time was flown. There is no entry for the 9th.
Based on the evidence recorded in the above parts of this document, the aircraft fuel tanks were filled (53 gallons total fuel on board) prior to the flight which took place on December 9th. No fuel was added prior to the flight on the day of the accident. Thus, according to the evidence, using standard day and maximum gross weight data, approximately 30 gallons of fuel was burned on the 9th. Witnesses stated the aircraft had been flying for about two hours prior to the accident. Using the same criteria, 30 gallons would have been burned on the accident flight. These calculations show that on a standard day at maximum gross weight, approximately 60 gallons of fuel would have been burned on the two flights. Since conditions were better than standard day, and gross weight was below maximum, a fuel burn of less than performance charts indicate would have been expected.
The engine was examined at the facilities of Continental Engines in Mobile, Alabama. Persons from the Safety Board, FAA, Beech Aircraft, and Continental were present. The examination provided no evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction.
Detailed examination of the fuel selector valve was conducted by the Safety Board at the facilities of Beegles Aircraft Services, Greeley, Colorado, following recovery of the aircraft. The tests revealed that the selector was between the left and right tank and in that position was sealed to the passage of fuel from any tank to the engine.
The aircraft was released to Mr. Dennis Jason, Jason and Associates on January 9, 1996. No parts were retained.