HISTORY OF FLIGHT On January 1, 1997, approximately 1308 eastern standard time, a Cessna 150F, N8925S, was destroyed when it descended from cruise flight and collided with terrain near Bittinger, Maryland. The certificated private pilot/owner received fatal injuries. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal cross country flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The pilot departed Connellsville Airport, Connellsville, Pennsylvania, approximately 1230, destined for the Warrenton Airport, Warrenton, Virginia, to pickup his two children. The non instrument rated pilot received a weather briefing from the Altoona Flight Service Station. The pilot was instructed that VFR flight was not recommended due to instrument conditions in the higher terrain area between his departure airport and destination. The pilot did not file a flight plan, and according to a family member, had made this trip numerous times.
Witnesses reported "very low overcast (100 feet), fog, and drizzle, which changed to freezing drizzle and freezing rain within one hour of the accident." The witnesses stated that they "heard the airplane circling, but did not see the airplane impact" in the pasture due to the obscuring low clouds.
The accident occurred during daylight hours, about 39 degrees, 38 minutes North latitude, 79 degrees, 13 minutes West longitude.
PERSONNEL INFORMATION The pilot was issued an Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Private Pilot Certificate on October 10, 1993, for airplane single engine land. The pilot did not possess an instrument rating.
He was issued an FAA Airman's Third Class Medical Certificate on August 10, 1995, with no limitations.
The pilot's logbook was not found. On his application for his last Third Class Medical Certificate, dated August 10, 1995, the pilot indicated a total pilot time of 350 hours, of which 50 hours had been flown during the past 6 months.
AIRCRAFT INFORMATION No airframe or engine logbooks were found and turned over for further examination. The airplane appeared to have been recently re-skinned on the lower left wing. No material identification was observed on the bare aluminum skin. Door panels were filled with styro foam sheets, which had been duct taped to the inside of the door panels. The rotating beacon was installed with house hold Romex cable and common wire nuts. A hand held GPS unit was mounted on the pilot's yoke. It was connected to an antenna installed with the coax cable routed through one of the four screw holes attaching the original communications antenna.
METEOROLOGICAL CONDITIONS A copy of a "WeatherMation Flight Plan" from Connellsville, Pennsylvania to Warrenton, Virginia, computed on January 01, 1997, at 1228, was found in the airplane. The weather report showed visual meteorological conditions at the departure airport and the destination. Weather at Martinsburg, West Virginia (MRB), at 1145, reported winds from 130 degrees at 10 knots; Visibility, 8 miles; Ceiling, 2,500 feet overcast; altimeter, 30.26 inches.
The weather reported by witnesses in the area was very low overcast (100 feet), fog, and drizzle, which changed to freezing drizzle and freezing rain within one hour of the mishap. The pilot received a telephone weather briefing from the Altoona Flight Service Station and was advised that VFR flight was not recommended. Mountain obscuration was reported by the Altoona Flight Service Station along his intended route of flight and in the vicinity of the mishap.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION The ground impact scarring depicted the front cross section of the airplane. A narrow 20 foot long gash represented the left wing, followed by the 18 inch deep crater for the engine, and a narrow shorter gash for the right wing. Only the left main wheel had made a ground depression, located 2.5 feet offset and back from the engine crater. Small pieces of Plexiglas and other debris were thrown in a 210 degree magnetic heading, but remained close to the initial impact crater. The airplane came to rest approximately 40 feet away from the initial impact crater, facing 080 heading, in an upright position.
The empennage was crushed aft of the baggage compartment and scorpioned to the left. The propeller displayed chord wise scratches and leading edge gouges. The spinner displayed rotational crushing. The engine exhibited continuity to the accessory section, and all cylinders produced thumb compression with the exception of the number 3 cylinder, which had a bent push rod. Both magnetos produced sparks, and fuel was observed in the fuel bowl. The oil filter was free of contaminates. The carburetor fuel bowl was free of contaminates and no evidence of water was observed. The throttle arm and mixture control were found loose.
All flight controls were accounted for at the mishap site and remained attached to their respective hinges. Flight control continuity was confirmed to the cockpit area, but binding occurred in the cockpit due to extensive airframe deformations. Flaps were in the "up" position, confirmed through the flap actuator.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION An autopsy was conducted on the pilot, on January 2, 1997, by Dennis J. Chute, M.D., the Assistant Medical Examiner for the State of Maryland.
Toxicological testing was also conducted by the FAA Toxicology Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on January 4, 1997. The results were negative for alcohol, drugs, and carbon monoxide.
The wreckage was released on January 3, 1997, to Robert Pawlikowski, brother of the airplane's owner.