On December 17, 1995, a Cessna 205, N8415Z, registered to a private owner, operating as a 14 CFR Part 91 personal, crashed in the Culebra National Wildlife Refuge, on Cayo De Luis Pena at an undetermined time. Visual meteorological conditions were being reported at the time of the accident and no flight plan was filed. The airplane was destroyed. The noninstrument-rated private pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. The flight originated from Isla De Culebra Airport, Culebra, Puerto Rico. The airplane was located on December 19, 1995, about 2 miles southwest of the airport.

Witnesses stated the airplane departed the Culebra Airport after 2000. The airplane flew over the city at about 500 to 600 feet towards Cayo De Luis Pena and disappeared from view behind the mountains.


Review of the pilot's logbook revealed the last recorded biennial flight review was April 3, 1993. The pilot's last recorded flight was January 6, 1994. The pilot's last recorded night flight was March 5, 1991. No night flights had been recorded in the Cessna 205 airplane. The pilot's last recorded medical was December 18, 1991.


The aircraft logbooks were given to the NTSB investigator- in-charge by an airframe and powerplant mechanic (A&P) on December 21, 1995. The registered owner requested the A&P mechanic to perform an annual inspection on the airplane in May 1992. The owner did not deliver the airplane to the A&P mechanic, and the annual inspection was not performed. The A&P mechanic stated the owner continued to fly the airplane and performed his own maintenance. The owner did not have an airframe and powerplant certificate. Review of the aircraft logbooks revealed the last annual inspection was conducted on April 20, 1991, at a tach time of 1034.0. A personal trip logbook found at the crash site revealed maintenance that the owner had recorded as having been performed on the airplane. The last recorded tach time in the personal trip logbook was 1484.83 on September 6, 1995, and the airplane had flown 450.83 hours since the last recorded annual inspection.


The nearest weather reporting facility at the time of the accident was Roosevelt Roads Naval air Station, Puerto Rico, located 18 miles to the southwest of Culebra Airport. The altitude of the moon was -81.9 degrees with 22 percent illumination. Visual meteorological conditions were being reported at the time of the accident. Witnesses at the Culebra Airport stated it was about to rain, very windy, and the ceiling was estimated at about 1,000 feet. The only visible light was over the city and towards Fajardo, Puerto Rico.


Examination of the crash site revealed the airplane collided with a tree in a descending left turn on a heading of about 250 degrees magnetic, separating the left wing strut, and left wing about 6 feet above the base of the tree. The airplane rolled left, continued forward, and collided with the ground about 32 feet from the initial point of impact on a heading of 260 degrees magnetic. The airplane rotated around the vertical axis to the right separating the right wing strut, right wing, engine assembly, and propeller from the propeller flange. Torsional twisting, "s" bending and chordwise scarring was present on both propeller blades. The fuselage bounced and came to rest 210 feet from the initial point of impact on a heading of 170 degrees magnetic. The fuselage was compressed aft of the baggage compartment aft bulkhead. The left and right fuel tanks were ruptured. The vegetation in the area adjacent to the airplane wreckage showed evidence of damage consistent with fuel spillage.

Examination of the airframe, flight controls, and propeller assembly revealed no evidence of a precrash failure or malfunction. All components necessary for flight were present at the crash site. Continuity of the flight control system was confirmed for pitch, roll, and yaw.

Examination of the engine assembly revealed no evidence of a precrash failure or malfunction. All cylinders on the left side of the engine had separated during the impact sequence. The crankshaft could not be rotated by hand. All accessory drive gears were in normal position, but could not be confirmed due to impact damage. Valve train continuity could not be confirmed due to cylinder separation. All engine accessories except for the fuel injector distributor valve had separated and were not located. The fuel injector distributor valve remained attached to the engine by one remaining fuel injection line. The spark plugs were removed from all cylinders. Examination of the spark plug electrodes, revealed the color, wear, and deposits were consistent with normal wear. The oil screen was coated with oil, and no metal particles were found on the screen. The oil sump sustained impact damage and oil was found under the engine on the ground.


Post-mortem examination of the pilot and two passengers was conducted by Dr. Francisco Cortes, Institute of Forensic Science, San Juan, Puerto Rico, on December 20, 1995. The cause of death was severe body trauma. Post-mortem studies of specimens from the pilot was performed by the Institute of Forensic Science, San Juan, Puerto Rico. These studies were positive for alcohol 0.02 percent, and was negative for cocaine, and morphine. Post-mortem studies of specimens from the pilot was performed by the Forensic Toxicology Research Section, Federal Aviation Administration, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. These studies were positive for ethanol, 39.000 mg/dl, detected in muscle secondary to putrefaction. Chlorpheniramine and phenylpropano was detected. No acidic and basic drugs were detected. Post-mortem studies of specimens from the two passengers was performed by the Institute of Forensic Science, San Juan, Puerto Ricco. These studies were positive for alcohol, 0.22 percent and 0.14 percent were present in the blood.


Review of the Airport/Facility Directory for the Southeast United States and Puerto Rico, revealed the Culebra Airport is closed from sunset to sunrise. Official sunset was 1750 and end of twilight was 1814.


The wreckage was released to Police Officer Sandra L. Rivera, Puerto Rico Police Department on December 20, 1995. The aircraft logbooks, pilot logbooks and personal trip logbook was released to Mr. Joaquin Camacho, FAA Caribbean FSDO on December 20, 1995.

Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsis
Return to Query Page