HISTORY OF FLIGHT On July 25, 1996, at 1948 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 150L, N21953, collided with a tree while maneuvering at low altitude and impacted the ground near Philippi, West Virginia. The commercial pilot, the sole occupant, received fatal injuries and the airplane was destroyed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed. The flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. The flight departed from Fairmont Municipal Airport, Fairmont, West Virginia at approximately 1930 eastern daylight time. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The FAA Inspector stated that the airplane was kept in a Tee hangar at Philippi-Barbour County Regional Airport in Philippi, West Virginia. The pilot's departure time from this airport is unknown, but a witness at Fairmont Municipal Airport stated that she saw the pilot arrive there at approximately 1900 eastern daylight time. The witness stated that she watched the pilot taxi up, get out of the airplane and asked for fuel. The witness stated that she told the pilot that the fuel was self serve, and that he went back and fueled the airplane. The witness stated that she thought that she had caught the smell of alcohol on the pilot's breath when he came in to pay for the fuel, but was not sure. As the pilot was leaving, the witness remembered telling the pilot that the nose tire on his airplane looked as if it was flat, but the pilot ignored her. As the pilot was going to his airplane, another individual approached the witness and asked if she thought that the pilot had been drinking. The witness remembered telling this individual that she was about to ask him that very question. They both decided to watch the pilot take off.
The witness stated that on take off, the nose of the airplane seemed to be excessively high and that she thought the pilot was going to stall the airplane. The witness stated that after climbing a couple hundred feet, the airplane banked to the left for a 270 heading departure, and while in that turn the airplane appeared to be losing altitude.
The son of the pilot stated that the airplane flew over his house at a low altitude heading eastbound at approximately 1945 eastern daylight time. The son stated that he assumed that his father was flying the airplane because he had flown over the house "about 100 times" in the past. The son stated that he went outside and observed the airplane fly to the east, make a left turn about 180 degrees back to the west, and fly back over his house at a low altitude. The son stated that the airplane passed over or near the house and descended to the west, made a steep turn to the right and hit a tree about 300 yards west of the house. After hitting the tree, the airplane descended impacting an embankment and coming to rest approximately 400 feet from the initial tree strike.
PERSONNEL INFORMATION The pilot in command held a commercial pilot's rating in single engine land, multiengine land, instrument airplane, and rotorcraft-helicopter. The pilot in command was also a certificated flight instructor in airplane single engine only. The pilot in command held a second class medical dated August 17, 1994. None of the pilot's flight time logbooks were found. On the application for his medical, the pilot indicated that he had 4000 total civil flight hours.
AIRCRAFT INFORMATION An FAA Inspector reviewed the airframe and engine logbooks dated May, 1991 through the present. No anomalies were found.
WRECKAGE INFORMATION An FAA Inspector and a manufacturer's Investigator on scene of the wreckage verified flight control and engine continuity. No anomalies were discovered in the wreckage.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION A postmortem examination was done on July 26, 1996 by I. M. Sopher, M.D., Chief Medical Examiner, State of West Virginia, in South Charleston, West, Virginia.
A toxicology report was done by the Federal Aviation Administration, Manager, Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory located at the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The results of this test were: 123.000 (mg/dL, mg/hg) Ethanol detected in Blood 243.000 (mg/dL, mg/hg) Ethanol detected in Gastric Contents 206.000 (mg/dL, mg/hg) Ethanol detected in Urine 1.0 (mg/dL, mg/hg) Acetaldehyde detected in Blood
All positive ethanols were confirmed by Radiative Energy Attenuation.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION The wreckage was released to the insurance company on July 30, 1996.