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On September 22, 1997, about 1030 central daylight time, a Cessna 182G, N3725U, collided with the ground while on approach to runway 2 at the Franklin Wilkins Airport, Lexington, Tennessee. The airplane was operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91, and visual flight rules. Visual meteorological conditions existed, and a Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) flight plan was filed for this cross country, personal flight. The instrument rated private pilot sustained serious injuries, the passenger, his wife, sustained fatal injuries, and the aircraft was destroyed. The aircraft departed Craig Airport in Jacksonville, Florida, about 0730 eastern daylight time.
According to the pilot, he approached Franklin Wilkins Airport from the south at 2,000 feet. He passed over the airport, and entered a traffic pattern for runway 2. When turning base, the pilot reduced throttle and did not notice an engine response. The pilot then pushed the throttle all the way in and received no response. The pilot stated he knew he could not make the field, so he put in full flaps to slow down before landing in the trees. After striking the tops of trees, the airplane crashed nose first into the ground.
The first pilot held a private pilot certificate with single engine and instrument airplane ratings. His certificate was issued November 13, 1996. His last medical, a third class, was dated July 15, 1997. It contained the limitation that the pilot must wear corrective lenses in order to exercise the privileges of the airman's certificate.
Additional information about the pilot is contained under the section titled First Pilot Information.
The engine and aircraft records were examined, with no discrepancies noted. The engine had an annual inspection on July 3, 1997. The airframe was also inspected on July 3, 1997.
Additional information about the aircraft is contained on page 2 under the section titled Aircraft Information.
Additional information about the weather is contained on page 3 and 4 under the section titled Weather Information.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The wreckage was found in a clearing about 10 feet from numerous tall trees. The airplane was approximately 1/2 mile southwest of the airport. The airplane was facing a heading of 120 degrees.
The right wing of the airplane was separated from the fuselage. It had a large circular indentation in the leading edge of the wing about 3/4 of the way to the wing tip. There were branches and leaves inside the indentation. The right fuel tank was not breached.
The left wing of the airplane exhibited wrinkling of the skin throughout the wing. The strut was still attached to both the fuselage and the wing. The leading edge from midspan of the wing to the wing tip was folded underneath the wing structure. The left fuel tank was not breached.
The empennage was undamaged by the impact. There was control continuity to all control surfaces.
The nose of the airplane was crushed by the impact. The nose gear was folded back and up and was twisted to the right. The propeller hub was also crushed. One propeller blade was bent slightly aft and twisted. The opposing blade was bent forward and twisted.
The engine was sent to Teledyne Continental Motors for examination. According to their report, the engine was disassembled due to damage in the propeller flange. The cylinder overhead components were all intact and appeared operational. The valves all appeared to be seated properly. The pistons components also appeared normal. Both magneto impulse couplings functioned normally on a test stand. The carburetor was also tested, and it produced normal RPM and manifold pressure at all settings.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The pilot was treated for serious injuries at a local hospital.
According to the FAA inspector, the pilot stated he left Jacksonville with 4 1/2 hours of fuel. The airplane holds 65 gallons of fuel, 5 gallons of which is unusable. The fuel receipt in Jacksonville notes the pilot bought 12.0 gallons of 100LL aviation fuel before departure. At the scene of the accident, fuel was drained from the fuel tanks and the engine. The left tank held 1 quart of fuel, the right tank held 5 ounces of fuel, and the gascolator and strainer together held 1/2 gallon of fuel.
According to the pilot, he departed Jacksonville at 0730 eastern daylight time, or 0630 central daylight time. He climbed to 6,000 feet. He then cruised at 2300 RPM and 22 inches of manifold pressure. He descended to 2,000 feet, over-flew the airport, and descended to 1,000 feet to enter the traffic pattern. The airplane crashed at 1030 central daylight time. According to the pilot, the airplane had full fuel tanks when it departed Jacksonville.
Using the normal climb chart in the Cessna 182G Pilot Operating Handbook, the fuel used during a climb to 6,000 feet was 4.26 gallons. He cruised for approximately 3.25 hours at 12.6 gallons per hour, using 40.95 gallons of fuel. He then descended to 2,000 feet, using 1.89 gallons of fuel. While cruising around the airport the pilot used 7.1 gallons of fuel. According to the pilots calculations the airplane should have contained 5.8 gallons of usable fuel at the time of the accident.