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On October 15, 1997, about 1659 eastern daylight time, a Beech 95-B55, N315K, collided with the ground while attempting an emergency landing shortly after takeoff at the McCollum Airport, Kennesaw, Georgia. The airplane was operated by the Commercial Pilot under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91, and visual flight rules. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the local flight. The pilot and sole occupant sustained fatal injuries, and the airplane was destroyed by impact forces and post crash fire. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.
According to the tower controller, and witnesses the airplane had fueled, and had taken off on runway 09, about 30 minutes prior to the accident flight but returned to the airport because his cabin door was not secured. The controller stated that after landing on runway 27, the airplane taxied to DLK Aviation Inc., where a mechanic secured the door. A few minutes later the pilot requested clearance for takeoff again and was cleared to runway 09. According to the tower controller the airplane took off and was about 1/2 mile off the end of the runway and about 300 feet above ground level (agl) when the pilot radioed that he was "loosing RPM". The controller cleared local traffic from the area and told the pilot that he was cleared to land on runway 27. The pilot acknowledged the clearance and stated that he "was trying". Witnesses stated that they saw the airplane in a shallow bank to the left. They said that the airplane appeared to be lining up to land on highway 575, however, the traffic was very heavy at that time and it appeared that the pilot aborted that landing and attempted to return to the airport. Witnesses stated that the airplane was very low, about 150 to 200 feet. They said they saw the airplane bank hard to the left, and impact the ground with the left wing, cartwheel down the hill, and burst into flames. The airplane crashed and burned approximately one mile east of the airport at the on-ramp to highway 575 off Barrett Parkway, near a large shopping center.
The pilot was certificated as a commercial pilot with instrument and multi engine ratings. The pilot reported having 10,000 hours military and 3,000 hours civilian on his last medical examination. The pilot's most recent second class medical was issued on July 26, 1979. The pilot's most recent Flight Review was dated September 22, 1996, and was given in a Bellanca Citabria single engine airplane. Additional pilot information may be obtained in this report on page 2 and 3 under the section titled Owner/Operator and First Pilot Information.
The Beechcraft Baron, 95-B55 (T42A), was a four (4) seat, twin engine airplane, and was registered to the pilot. On October 1, 1997, the aircraft received an annual inspection following a 12 month overhaul which included two rebuilt engines from T.W. Smith Engine Co, Inc. The annual inspection, overhaul of the airframe and installation of the engines were done at DLK Aviation, Inc., in Kennesaw, Georgia.
The airplane was flown on two test flights prior to the accident. Both flight were about one hour each. The test pilot stated that the first flight which was conducted on September 17, 1997, found that the right engine was running rich, and the electric trim was reversed, otherwise the test flight was uneventful. He said the second test flight which was conducted on October 2, 1997, found no discrepancies. The accident flight was the forth flight after the annual and the second flight by the owner/pilot.
According to the airplane log book, the most recent annual prior to October 1, 1997, was August 15, 1980. New brakes were installed on July 8, 1982 at a Hobbs meter reading of 4,374.3 hours. On October 16, 1996, a mechanic inspected the airplane for a ferry permit so it could be flown from Dekalb Peachtree Airport (PDK) to his facility at McCollum Cobb County Airport (RYY) for an annual inspection. The Hobbs meter showed 4,964.3 hours, and was inoperative. It is not know when the Hobbs meter became inoperative, but the airplane had flown 590.0 hours from 1982 until the Hobbs meter became inoperative. A flight instructor was hired by the mechanic to fly the airplane from PDK to RYY. The instructor pilot called and had the airplane refueled for the flight. When he arrived at the hangar to get the airplane, he found five buckets under the right wing to catch fuel that was leaking from the tank. He called the owner about the fuel leaks, and the owner told him the tank only leaked when there was more than ten gallons of fuel in the tank. When the instructor pilot attempted to drain the sump, the quick drain broke off and all the fuel drained onto the ground. The tank and quick drain were replaced and the airplane was flown to RYY.
Visual Meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. Additional meteorological information may be obtained in this report on page 4 under the section titled Weather Information.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The initial ground impact occurred on the pavement in the southbound lane of highway 575 in the direction of 295 degrees. Three distinctive slashes approximately 22 inches apart, and red glass was found at the initial impact point. The airplane continued down an embankment from the pavement in the direction of 295 degrees. Additional slash marks and parts from the nose section including the windshield were found in the ground just off the paved shoulder of the road. The airplane came to rest in an inverted position approximately 134 feet from the initial ground impact. Orientation of the inverted wings looking from the left wing tip to the right wing tip was 170 degrees, and the aft fuselage section pointed in the direction of 210 degrees. The left engine labeled "A", was located near the right wing tip. The right engine labeled "B", was located 66 feet in the direction of 240 degrees from the right engine. The left propeller labeled "A" was located behind the empennage, and the right propeller labeled "B" was located 74 feet in the direction of 015 degrees from propeller A. (See attached wreckage diagram for locations of items labeled "A" & "B" above.) The wings, fuel cells, fuel lines, cockpit and cabin area, and most of the aft fuselage were destroyed by impact and post-crash fire. Additionally, the switches, circuit breakers, and instruments were also destroyed by impact and post-crash fire.
Control cable continuity was established by visual examination. Trim tab positions were not considered reliable because the cables had been pulled during the impact sequence. The landing gear and flaps were found in the retracted position. Both boost pumps were destroyed. The selector valves sustained impact and post-crash fire damage. All the fuel lines connected to the selector valves were consumed by the post-crash fire, and positive identification of the selector valves as to which was left or right could not be made.
The left wing came to rest upside down. It sustained impact damage, and was mostly consumed by fire. A section of the wing outboard of the aileron separated during the impact sequence, and was approximately 34 feet up the wreckage trail.
The post-crash fire consumed most of the left aileron, Aileron control continuity was established from the cockpit to the bellcrank. The bellcrank was intact, and the control rod from the bellcrank to the aileron was intact and attached at each end. Trim tab cables were intact from the cockpit to the tab actuator. The trim tab separated from the aileron, but, the control rods from the actuator to the tab were intact.
Continuity of the flap drive cable from the motor to the actuator was confirmed by visual examination, and the actuator attachments were intact. The left flap actuator extension measured 13/4 inch. This measurement is consistent with a flap retracted condition.
The left engine mount separated from the wing, and the engine separated from the engine mount. Both sustained impact damage.
The right wing came to rest upside down, and was mostly consumed by the fire. Post-crash fire destroyed the main and auxiliary fuel cells, and the fuel lines. The flap and aileron sustained impact and fire damage. Both remained attached to the wing.
Aileron control cable continuity was established from the cockpit to the bellcrank. The bellcrank arm for the forward cable was found fractured, and the fracture surface was coarse and granular in appearance. The control rod to the aileron was intact and attached to the bellcrank and aileron.
Continuity of the flap drive cable from the motor to the actuator was confirmed by visual examination, and the actuator attachments were intact. The left flap actuator extension measured 1 3/4 inch. This measurement is consistent with a flap retracted condition.
The right engine mount separated from the wing, and the engine separated from the engine mount. Both sustained impact damage.
The fuselage came to rest in an inverted position. Impact forces and post-crash fire destroyed the cabin and cockpit area. Attachment structure for the seat had melted and the seats were loose in the wreckage. One buckled seatbelt that had been partially consumed by fire was found in the area of the pilot's seat. The instrument panel was destroyed by impact forces and fire. Several pieces of instrumentation were found around the accident site. The tachometer was the only readable instrument. It was found outside the wreckage and only had one pointer. The pointer was for the left engine and had stuck at 1500 rpm.
The engine control quadrant had partially separated from the instrument panel. Throttle, propeller, and mixture levers were found in the full forward position.
The tail section of the airplane was intact, remained attached to the fuselage, and sustained post-crash fire damage. The tail section came to rest in an inverted position. Control cable continuity from the cockpit to each of the control surfaces and trim tabs was established by visual examination.
The extension of the right elevator trim tab actuator measured 2 inches. The lower actuator chain showed three chain links before the actuator sprocket. The extension of the left elevator trim tab actuator measured 11/2 inch. The last link of the upper actuator chain was against the sprocket on the actuator. The extension of the rudder tab actuator measured 4 inches. The chain remained on the actuator sprocket, and there were ten chain links difference in length to the chain ends that attach to the control cables. The cabin area and furnishings were completely destroyed by impact forces and post-crash fire.
Examination of the left propeller on-scene found it separated from the engine. One blade was bent rearward about 10 degrees at the shank end, and further, approximate 15 degrees, from the outboard end of the deice boot. The blade was twisted about 100 degrees towards the low pitch direction from about the mid-deice boot location. Chordwise scratching and abrading was found on the camber side from the tip inboard to the end of the deice boot. The leading edge of the blade, from the tip to about 6 inches inboard, was dented and gouged. The second blade was bent slightly forward, about 15 degrees, at the mid-blade location. Approximately six inches of the tip end was bent sharply rearward about 180 degrees. Chordwise scratching and abrading was noted on the camber side, tip end. The third blade was bent rearward about 20 degrees from the shank end and smoothly twisted about 90 degrees towards the low pitch direction. The camber side was chordwise scratched and abraded from the tip inboard to about 13 inches.
Examination of the right propeller on-scene found it separated from the engine. One blade was bent slightly rearward from the shank end and sharply twisted about 30 degrees towards low pitch at the mid-blade position. Chordwise scratches and abrasions were noted on the camber side from the tip end to about 12 inches inboard. Heavy dents and gouges were found on the leading edge from the tip to about 7 inches inboard. The second blade was found slightly bent rearward and twisted about 15 degrees towards the low pitch direction from about 8 inches in from the tip end. Chordwise scratches and abrasions were noted on the camber side tip end to about 4 inches inboard. The outer three inches of the tip end leading edge was heavily dented and gouged. The third blade was bent sharply rearward about 25 degrees just outboard of the counterweight with an additional sharp bend rearward of about 90 degrees at mid-blade. The blade was also bent about 10 degrees from a lead-to-trailing edge direction. No impact related twist was noted. The leading edge was heavily dented and gouged from the tip in to the 90 degree bend. Slight chordwise scratching was found on the camber side.
The airplane was recovered by Atlanta Air Salvage, on October 16, 1997, and transported to their facility in Griffin, Georgia. The engines, and propellers, were subsequently shipped to Teledyne Continental Motors in Mobile, Alabama for further examination.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
A post mortem examination of the pilot was conducted by the Cobb County Medical Examiners Office, Marietta, Georgia. On December 23, 1997, a toxicology examination of the pilot was conducted by the FAA Toxicology Research Laboratory. The examination revealed no Ethanol or drugs detected in the urine. Carbon Monoxide and Cyanide tests were not conducted due to the lack of suitable specimens.
TESTS AND RESEARCH
The engines were received at Teledyne Continental Motors (TCM) in Mobile, Alabama on October 21, 1997 and were stored unopened until December 9, 1997. At that time both engines were examined by representatives from NTSB, Raytheon Aircraft Company, Hartzell Propeller, Inc., and Teledyne Continental Motors. The following is a summary of those examinations:
Right Engine, IO-470-L, Serial Number 245131-R, exterior examination found that the engine exhibited minor fire damage to the aft right side and bottom right. The propeller flange was broken out through 3 bolt holes, the broken section of the propeller flange was still attached to the propeller. Both magnetos were broken off and destroyed during the impact sequence and not returned with the engine. All cylinder head fins exhibited impact damage except for the number 4 cylinder. Number 2 cylinder rocker cover was torn off and the cylinder head was broken on the exhaust side. Fuel manifold valve was bent to the left side. Breather fitting in the nose of the crankcase was bent aft. The oil sump was crushed upward and punctured. All engine mounts were broken as well as all intake pipes. The throttle arm, link rod and mixture lever were damaged. The fuel pump inlet fitting was broken on the side of the fuel pump. The alternator bracket was damaged. The tachometer generator was broken off the rear of the oil pump and the rear induction elbows were missing. Fire consumed the right elbow. The number 2 lower sparkplug was broken off at its base, all other sparkplugs appeared new, and the oil temperature bulb wires were broken off at the oil cooler pad.
Log book information indicated that the engine had a major overhaul by TW Smith on October 8, 1996, and was installed on the airplane on October 1, 1997. The engine had accumulated less than 10 hours since major overhaul.
According to Teledyne Continental Motors, internal examination of the engine revealed "normal operational signatures throughout." However, the engine did sustain substantial impact damage and minor fire damage.
Left Engine, IO-470-L, Serial Number CS91622-4-L, exterior examination found that the engine exhibited heavy impact damage breaking off half of the propeller flange and damaging the front of the crankcase. The propeller flange was attached to the propeller hub. The crankcase was broken between the number 3 and 5 cylinder on the right side across the tip and to the number 4 and 6 cylinder on the left side. All sparkplugs appeared new. The rear top of the crankcase was broken out exposing the idler gear. Both magnetos were broken off and destroyed during the impact sequence and not returned with the engine. All cylinder head fins were damaged. The number 6 cylinder head was damaged breaking out the exhaust valve. The starter motor was broken off the starter adapter mounting flange. The mixture arm was broken off the fuel control unit. The oil cooler was broken off the front right side of the engine and the oil temperature bulb wires were broken off at the cooler mount. The number 2 and 4 rocker covers were broken. The fuel manifold valve was torn off the engine and its top cover was broken off. All cylinder intake pipes were broken except for the number 4 cylinder. The right exhaust runner was crushed and bent inward and the left exhaust runner was ripped off. The oil sump was crushed and ripped open on the right side and all engine mounts were broken off.
According to Teledyne Continental Motors, internal examination of the engine revealed "normal operational signatures throughout." However, the engine did receive extensive impact damage to the crankshaft and crankcase.
The propellers were received at Teledyne Continental Motors (TCM) in Mobile, Alabama on October 21, 1997 and were stored until December 9, 1997. At that time both propellers were examined by representatives from NTSB, Raytheon Aircraft Company, Hartzell Propeller, Inc., and Teledyne Continental Motors. The following is a summary of those examinations:
Both propellers were a 3-bladed single acting, hydraulically operated constant speed model with full feathering capability. Oil pressure from the propeller governor is used to move the blades to the low pitch (blade angle) direction. Blade mounted counterweights and feathering springs are used to move the blades to the high pitch direction in the absence of governor oil pressure. The blades were made of a metal construction. Rotation is clockwise as viewed from the rear. Both propellers were equipped with an alcohol deice system.
According to the propeller log books, both propellers were last overhauled by Atlanta Propeller Service on or about January 29, 1997, and installed on the aircraft on October 1, 1997. Hobbs meter reading was 4964.3. A notation in the left propeller log book, dated September 20, 1997, stated the propeller was removed/reworked to "repair feathering spring latch".
Examination of the left propeller revealed the nose cap had separated and was not available for inspection. The main dome was crushed flat between the L1 and L3 blade. Slight compression wrinkles were noted at the blade L1 and L2 cut outs. The spinner bulkhead was intact. The outer rim was pinched inward between the L1 and L2 and the L2 and L3 blade locations. The bulkhead was equipped with an alcohol propeller deice system as were the blades themselves. The propeller separated from the engine at impact. About a 180 degree arc of engine propeller flange remained attached to the propeller by two mounting studs. The attached piece of engine flange was centered approximately under the blade L3 location. The pitch change dome assembly (cylinder, piston, feathering spring, etc.) was displaced laterally on the front of the hub towards the L2 blade position. The three blades were found in various positions, from near feather to a negative blade angle.
Examination of the right propeller revealed the spinner dome was crushed flat between the R1 and R3 blades and displaced laterally towards the R2 blade. The dome had crushed around the R1 counterweight. The pitch change dome assembly had separated laterally from the front of the hub and was wedged in the spinner dome. The blades were jammed in various blade angle positions from slightly greater than low pitch to a flat or negative blade angle.
According to Hartzell Propeller, Inc., "both propellers were rotating and producing some power at impact. The specific amount of power could not be quantified, but was considered to be much greater than idle power. No pre-impact discrepancies were noted on either propeller which would have precluded normal propeller operation. All damage noted was consistent with ground impact."
The wreckage was released to the owner's insurance representative Harry Brooks, Carson and Brooks Post Office Box 888525, 2300 Peachford Rd. Suite 1200, Atlanta, Georgia 30356.