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On March 7, 1996, about 1238 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-28-180, N4258T, privately registered, and a Piper PA-44-180, N7152Y, registered to and operated by Phoenix East Aviation, Inc., collided in flight about 600 feet mean sea level about 1/4 mile offshore of Flagler Beach, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the 14 CFR Part 91 sightseeing flight of N4258T. A company VFR flight plan was filed for the 14 CFR Part 91 instructional flight of N7152Y. Both airplanes were destroyed and the commercial-rated pilot and three passengers of N4258T were fatally injured. The certified flight instructor (CFI) and private pilot-rated student of N7152Y were also fatally injured. Both flights originated from the Daytona Beach Regional Airport, Daytona Beach, Florida. The time of departure for N4258T and N7152Y was about 1216 and 1152 respectively.
According to the operator of the PA-44 airplane, the purpose of the flight was a review of the Practical Test Standards (PTS) before the student's checkride for an add-on multi-engine rating. The flight was scheduled from 1100-1300 hours for a VFR dual flight to the north practice area. According to the owner of the PA-28 airplane, the pilot asked to operate his airplane for a sightseeing flight for the three passengers.
According to an ATC transcript of communications involving N7152Y, an occupant contacted clearance delivery at 1136 requesting a "...gator departure.." The airplane was taxied to runway 25R and cleared for a "gator" departure and takeoff at 1152.37. At 1156 radar services were terminated when the controller observed the airplane "squawk VFR." At that time the airplane was about 5 nautical miles northwest of the Daytona Beach Regional Airport. There was no recorded ATC communications after acknowledgment of the takeoff clearance.
According to an ATC transcript of communications involving N4258T, the pilot contacted clearance delivery at 1204.38, requesting a departure to the north practice area. The airplane was issued a discrete transponder code, taxied to runway 25R, and was cleared for takeoff at 1216.44. The pilot contacted departure control as requested and was advised to climb and maintain 3,000 feet. At 1225.15, radar service was terminated and the pilot was advised to "...squawk 1200 frequency change approved." There were no further recorded ATC communications after the pilot acknowledgment.
A witness who was on shore just northwest of the crash site reported observing the PA-44 airplane flying southbound paralleling the beach about 1/2 to 3/4 mile offshore. The PA-28 airplane was flying in a northeasterly direction and was southeast of the PA-44 airplane. He observed that the PA-28 airplane banked to the left flying west-southwesterly while the PA-44 continued flying in a southerly direction. He then observed the collision and observed a fireball and noted that a wing was separated from the PA-28 airplane. Both airplanes descended immediately into the water and the separated wing section fell into the water north of the wreckage of both airplanes. The witness further stated that he did not detect any evasive action by the pilot of either airplane before the collision.
Another witness who was located about 3/4 mile west and slightly south of the crash site first heard then observed an airplane completing a "hard" right bank, abruptly level, flying due westbound. He also observed an airplane flying southbound also level. He thought the southbound airplane was east of the west bound airplane and the nose of the southbound airplane collided with the right wing of the westbound airplane. The westbound airplane burst into a fireball and tumbled into the ocean. He did not witness the descent of the southbound airplane.
Numerous witnesses observed a fireball following the collision and several reported seeing one airplane spiraling into the water trailing black smoke with a wing missing.
Information pertaining to the first pilot of the PA-28 airplane N4258T, is contained on page 3 of the NTSB Factual Report-Aviation in MIA96FA096A.
Information pertaining to the first pilot of the PA-44 airplane N7152Y, is contained on page 3 of the NTSB Factual Report-Aviation in MIA96FA096B. He received a flight check by the flight school in the accident make and model airplane as a flight instructor on January 5, 1996, and had received a copy of the Phoenix East Aviation Flight Operations and Policy manual on October 14, 1994. He obtained his multi-engine instructor rating on December 8, 1995, in the accident make and model airplane and at that time had accumulated 57 hours total time in that make and model airplane. Information pertaining to the pilot rated student in the PA-44 airplane is contained in Supplement E in MIA96FA096B.
Information pertaining to N4258T and N7152Y is contained on page 2 of the NTSB Factual Report-Aviation and Supplements A and B in MIA96FA096A and MIA96FA096B respectively.
Additionally, according to the owner of N4258T, the navigation lights were on continuously and the airplane was yellow with black stripes. According to the operator of N7152Y, the airplane was white with blue and gray stripes.
According to a CFI employed by Phoenix East Aviation who was flying in the north practice area near the accident site area about the time of the accident, he stated that the ceiling in that area was about 4,500 feet with 7 miles visibility.
Transcripts of communications with both airplanes are an attachment to the report.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
Wreckage of N4258T that was recovered consisted of a segment of the main wing spar of the left wing with attached landing gear. Examination revealed that the top skin section was displaced downward and outboard. Additional recovered wreckage consisted of the main spar box with the aileron flight control cables wrapped around, and the pilot's seat tracks with adjacent seatbelt attach point on the left side of the fuselage. The seat belt web was observed to have a frayed edge. Also located with the main spar box was the flap torque tube, and the rear seats female buckles that were not connected with the male portion. An adjustable seat marked No. 1 with the lower portion displaced to the left and the seat back displaced to the rear was located. A section of flap that exhibited evidence of chordwise crushing on the leading edge and a segment of the right wing aileron control surface displaced up were also recovered. Also, the upper wing skin and rear spar segment from the right wing and a non-adjustable seat marked No. 4 were recovered. Skin from the empennage with a portion of "N" visible was also located. Also recovered was a section of the main cabin door that was connected to the two hinges with a segment of the fuselage forward of the hinges. Aft crushing was noted forward of the hinges. An interior sidewall panel and two sections of bottom skids with attached skin and antennas were recovered. Examination of the recovered components revealed no evidence of paint transfer or heat damage.
Wreckage of N7152Y that was recovered consisted of a bottom engine cowling from one of the engines, a section of a window frame, a main spar section, and a section of skin from the right side of the empennage with nearly all of the "N" number present. Examination of the main spar section revealed evidence of chordwise crushing with a semicircular indentation. Also located were the two rear seats that were attached to plywood and several small pieces of miscellaneous skin. There was no evidence of paint transfer or heat damage.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL
No post-mortem examination of the student pilot of N7152Y was performed due to religious beliefs. The cause of death was due to mid air collision. Post-mortem examinations of the CFI of N7152Y, and the pilot and passengers of N4258T were performed by Ronald L. Reeves, M.D., Medical Examiner, Volusia County, Florida. The cause of death for all was listed as blunt force trauma. Toxicological analysis of specimens of the student were performed by the Wuesthoff Memorial Laboratory and the FAA Accident and Research Laboratory (CAMI). The results of analysis by CAMI were negative for volatiles and tested drugs. The results of analysis by Wuesthoff was positive for Carbonmonoxide (1%).
Toxicological analysis of specimens of the CFI of N7152Y and the pilot of N4258T were also performed by CAMI. The specimens of both were unsuitable for complete toxicological testing. No drugs were detected in the pilot of N7152Y. Pseudoephedrine was detected in the liver and kidney fluid of the pilot of N4258T.
According to the Physicians' Desk Reference for non prescription drugs, pseudoephedrine hydrochloride is found in medication which provides temporary relief of nasal congestion due to the common cold, hay fever, or other respiratory allergies.
Interviews with several witnesses determined that the approximate altitude of the in-flight collision was 600 feet mean sea level.
An Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) signal was received at the Daytona Beach Air Traffic Control Tower at 1238.22 and continued for 6 seconds.
Recorded radar data was not available from Daytona Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON), Patrick Radar Approach Control (RAPCON) Orlando TRACON, Jacksonville Air Route Traffic Control Center, or the Fleet Area Control and Surveillance Facility-Jacksonville (FACSFAC JAX).
According to the Flight Operations and Policy Manual of the operator of the PA-44 airplane, the north and east boundaries of the north practice area extend up to 5 miles north of the Flagler Airport to within gliding distance of the shore to the east respectively. Additionally, all airplanes must maintain 1,500 feet mean sea level or higher in areas along the beach in the practice areas.
Search and Rescue was performed by the U.S. Coast Guard and the Florida Marine Patrol. Copies of each agencies report is an attachment to this report.
The wreckage of N4258T was released to Mr. Robert A. (Andy) Paul of Crittenden Adjustment Company (Aviation), Inc., on September 17, 1996.
The wreckage of N7152Y was released to Mr. Deanes L. Rowedder of Phoenix Aviation Managers, Inc., on September 19, 1996.