HISTORY OF THE FLIGHT Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
On September 9, 1996, about 2010 eastern daylight time, an Aero Commander 680E, N262X, registered to a group of individuals, crashed while returning to the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport, Lakeland, Florida, while on a Title 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed. The aircraft was destroyed and the private-rated pilot was fatally injured. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.
The flight departed runway 27 at Lakeland, en route to Winter Haven, Florida. Shortly after the takeoff, air traffic controllers observed the aircraft flying from the southwest back toward the airport, at about 150-200 feet. A short time later, the pilot reported he had an engine out. Controllers cleared the flight to land. No further transmissions were received from the pilot. Controllers observed the aircraft fly over the approach end of runway 9 while on a northeast heading. The aircraft entered a right bank and the aircraft's nose then dropped. The aircraft descended and impacted the ground nose first on the parallel taxiway to runway 9.
Federal Aviation Administration records indicate the pilot held a private pilot certificate with airplane single engine land and airplane multiengine land ratings, last issued on August 3, 1977. The pilot held a second class medical certificate issued on November 13, 1995, with the limitation that the holder shall possess correcting glasses for near vision while exercising the privileges of his airman certificate. One of the other owners of the accident aircraft stated the accident pilot had not flown for about 10 years before their purchase of the aircraft in March 1996. Since that time, the accident pilot had not flown the accident aircraft very much.
A flight instructor at Aviation Career Academy stated that at the time of the accident the pilot was enrolled in the instrument rating preparation course and the multiengine instrument course. On the day of the accident this instructor performed one simulator session and two flights in a Beech 76 with the pilot. On the first flight in the Beech 76, the pilot was slow at performing engine out procedures. He attributed this to the pilot being "rusty" from not having flown for so many years. On the second flight in the Beech 76, they performed three or four engine out simulations and the pilot performed satisfactory. The pilot had completed preparation for the instrument rating and he was scheduled to take the FAA checkride for the rating on September 10, 1996. Additional information on the pilot in contained in this report under First Pilot Information and in attachments to this report.
Information on the aircraft is contained in this report under Aircraft Information and in attachments to this report.
Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. Additional meteorological information is contained in this report under Weather Information.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The aircraft crashed on taxiway "A", 100 feet east of taxiway "A2", at the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport, Lakeland, Florida. Examination of the crash site showed the aircraft impacted at a slow forward speed while at a high vertical descent rate and angle, while on a 71-degree heading. At the point of initial impact on the taxiway is the outline of a feathered propeller to the left of the fuselage marks and propeller cut marks to the right of the fuselage marks. After initial impact the aircraft slid to the northeast where it came to rest in the grass to the north of the taxiway.
Examination of the aircraft wreckage showed all components of the aircraft necessary for flight were located on or around the main wreckage. Continuity of all flight control systems was established. All separation points within the flight control systems were consistent with overstress separation. The landing gear was in the retracted position at impact and partially extended during impact. The wing flaps were in the retracted position. There was no evidence of pre or postcrash fire on or around the aircraft.
Examination of the aircraft fuel system showed each of three fuel tanks contained fuel. The left engine fuel selector control in the cockpit was found on the left outboard tank position. The electrically operated fuel valves for the left engine were found in the left outboard tank open position and center fuel tank closed position. The right engine fuel selector control in the cockpit was found in the fuel off position. The right engine fuel valves were found in the center tank open position and right outboard tank closed position. Each of the valves and control switches operated normally in postcrash tests.
Examination of the left propeller showed internal impact marks and blade damage consistent with the propeller being in the feathered position at the time of impact. The left propeller governor operated normally during postcrash tests. Examination of the right propeller showed internal impact marks and blade damage consistent with the propeller being in the normal operating range and rotating at the time of ground impact. The right propeller governor operated normally during postcrash tests. No evidence of failure or malfunction of the left or right propeller or left or right governor was found.
Teardown examination of the left engine showed that continuity was established with the crankshaft, camshaft, valve train, accessory drives, and reduction gear assembly. The engine contained oil, the oil screens were clean, and there were no signs of oil starvation damage. The reduction gear assembly had no rotational damage. The supercharger drive gear had no damage. The left engine fuel system contained uncontaminated fuel. The carburetor inlet screens contained no debris and the carburetor operated normally during post crash tests. The engine-driven fuel pump had a leak in the drive shaft seal but the pump produced adequate fuel flow and pressure to sustain normal engine operation. Each magneto operated normally during postcrash tests and each ignition harness tested normal. Each spark plug had deposit colors consistent with normal engine operation.
Teardown examination of the right engine showed that continuity was established with the crankshaft, camshaft, valve train, accessory drives, and reduction gear assembly. The crankshaft counterweights were found installed in incorrect positions. No damage from this finding was present. The engine contained oil, the oil screens were clean, and there were no signs of oil starvation damage. The reduction gear assembly had rotational damage consistent with operation at the time of ground impact. The supercharger driveshaft gear teeth were torn from the shaft consistent with rotation at the time of ground impact. The right engine fuel system contained uncontaminated fuel. The carburetor inlet screens contained no debris and the carburetor operated normally during postcrash tests. The engine driven fuel pump had a leak in the drive shaft seal but the pump produced adequate fuel flow and pressure to sustain normal engine operation. Each magneto operated normally during postcrash tests and each ignition harness tested normal. Each spark plug had deposit colors consistent with normal engine operation.
Additional wreckage and impact information is contained in Supplements A and B and in attachments to this report.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
Postmortem examination of the pilot was performed by Dr.Stephen J. Nelson, Medical Examiner, Lakeland, Florida. The cause of death was attributed to multiple blunt force traumatic injuries. No findings which could be considered casual to the accident were reported.
Postmortem toxicology studies on specimens obtained from the pilot were performed by Dr. Nelson's office and Dr. Dennis Canfield, Manager, FAA Toxicology Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The tests were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, ethanol, basic, acidic, and neutral drugs. The tests were positive for caffeine. Additional medical and pathological information is contained in Supplement K and attachments to this report.
The aircraft wreckage was released by NTSB to Bradford N. Fuller, aircraft owner, on September 12, 1996. Components retained by NTSB for examination were returned to Mr. Fuller or his designee.