On March 12, 1998, at 1241 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-32-260, N55059, operated by a private pilot suffered substantial damage during impact with the terrain while maneuvering for a landing on runway 18 (3,072' x 50' dry asphalt), at Brookside Airport, near McCordsville, Indiana. A Witness stated he observed the airplane enter a steep banked turn followed by a departure from controlled flight just prior to ground impact. The instrument rated private pilot sustained fatal injuries. The personal 14 CFR Part 91 flight was operating in visual meteorological conditions. No flight plan was on file. The flight originated at Mt Comfort, Indiana, about 1230. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
On March 9, 1998, the accident airplane was parked by the owner/pilot at the Mount Comfort Airport after an Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) flight from Toledo, Ohio. Mount Comfort Airport is about four miles from the Brookside Airport, where the airplane was based. On the day of the accident the pilot of the accident airplane left his (dentist) office to reposition the airplane from Mount Comfort Airport to the Brookside Airport where the airplane was based.
The accident occurred at 1241. According to the "DeLorme Street Atlas." The distance by road from the airport to the pilot's office is 12.2 miles. The "Atlas" indicated the time to travel the shortest route between the airport and his office to be 23 minutes. The pilot had an appointment at his office scheduled for 1300.
A witness stated, "I saw the plane coming from the north. He was a little high in his approach, so he turned east, then he turned north. All of a sudden he started to tip with his wings facing one down and the other up. That's how he went into the ground nose first. He was heading west when he crashed."
The airplane came to rest 417 feet east of the runway and perpendicular to a point 702 feet south of the north end of the runway. Ground scars indicated that the airplane impacted the terrain in a nose low, left wing low attitude. The ground was frozen and the airplane came to rest in an open harvested cornfield.
Both engine and flight control continuity was established. The flaps were found in the full down (40 degree) position. The engine was examined for continuity. It was determined on rotation that there was continuity through the power section and accessory case. Thumb compression was found on all cylinders, and both magnetos sparked on rotation. The propeller, which remained attached to the propeller flange, had chordwise polishing and nicks present on the leading edge of the blades. The engine driven fuel pump was removed and pumped manually. The oil screen was clean. There were no pre-impact anomalies found in the engine or airframe.
The left front (pilot's position) shoulder harness was found frayed at the webbing and stowed (pushed into) a recess, in the vicinity of the inertia reel. The damage to the harness could not be associated with the accident in that the belt webbing displayed wrinkling that was consistent with long term storage in the inertia reel recess. Emergency responders said that the pilot was not restrained by the shoulder harness on their arrival at the accident scene.
An autopsy of the pilot was conducted on March 13, 1998, at the Indiana University School of Medicine. The post mortem examination of the pilot failed to reveal any pre-existing pathology or anomalies other than those associated with the accident.
A toxicological examination of specimens from the pilot was negative for those drugs screened.
The airplane was released to insurance representatives of the pilot/owner on March 25, 1998.
Parties to the investigation were the Federal Aviation Administration, Flight Standards District Office, Indianapolis, Indiana, and Lycoming Engine Company of Williamsport, Pennsylvania.