HISTORY OF THE FLIGHT Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
On June 4, 1998, about 1215 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 182R, N9846H, registered to Transit Aviation of Lake Charles Inc, crashed near Bradenton, Florida, while on a Title 14 CFR Part 91 aerial observation flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed. The aircraft was destroyed and the commercial-rated pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. The flight last departed Winter Haven Municipal Airport, Winter Haven, Florida, the same day, about 0845.
The aircraft, pilot, and one passenger had remained over night on June 3, 1998, in Vero Beach, Florida. On the morning of June 4, 1998, the aircraft's fuel tanks were filled and the pilot and one passenger departed Vero Beach, about 0730, enroute to Winter Haven, Florida. The flight arrived at Winter Haven about 0820. An observer from Florida Gas Transmission Company got on the aircraft with the pilot and other passenger. The flight departed Winter Haven about 0845, for the purpose of gas pipeline inspection.
Witnesses who were on a boat in Lake Manatee, near the Manatee Dam, heard the aircraft's engine operating at what they believed to be full rpm and looked up to see the aircraft climbing toward the southeast. The climb angle became steeper and then a wing and the nose of the aircraft dropped down. The aircraft descended nose first and was lost from site. The engine continued to operate at what they believed was full rpm until they heard the engine noise stop suddenly, followed shortly there after by a loud boom sound.
Information on the pilot is 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 in the Manatee River near Bradenton, Florida. The crash site coordinates were latitude 27 degrees 30 minutes 7 seconds north and longitude 82 degrees 21 minutes 63 seconds west. Examination of the crash site showed the aircraft's left wing tip impacted the tops of two trees at about the 50 foot level, on the west bank of the river, separating the left wing tip. The aircraft continued toward the southeast for about 75 feet where it impacted the river, left wing first, followed by the nose and right wing. The aircraft came to rest in about 5 feet of water, on a 070 degree heading, with the tail section folded toward the south. The river was about 75 feet across at the point of impact. The crash site was about 1/4 mile south of the gas pipeline which was being inspected.
Examination of the wreckage showed all components of the aircraft which are necessary for flight were located on or in the immediate vicinity of the main wreckage. Continuity of all flight control cables was confirmed and there no separation points within the cables prior to cutting cables during recovery of the wreckage. The wing flaps were found in the retracted position. The elevator trim was found at the 5 degree tab up position or aircraft nose down. The single axis autopilot roll actuator was found disengaged. The fuel selector handle was found crushed near the both position and the shaft to the valve had separated when bent toward the left tank position. The fuel selector valve was found on the left tank position. The stall warning system vane mounted on the left wing had sustained some impact damage but activated when tested.
The left front pilot's seat front legs were found locked in the sixth hole from the front of the seat track and seat locks were installed to prevent the seat from slipping aft past the normal position. The right front passenger's seat was found locked in the far aft position and seat locks were installed to prevent the seat from slipping aft past the normal position. The left front, right front, and left rear seat lap belts were buckled and had been cut by rescue personnel. The shoulder harnesses for each of these seats were not attached to the lap belt.
Examination of the engine after recovery from the river showed the propeller and part of the propeller spinner had separated from the engine during impact with the river, when the attach bolts were pulled loose from the propeller hub. The propeller blades were in the low pitch position and had damage consistent with rotation at the time of river impact. The propeller spinner had twisting damage. The propeller governor was removed from the engine and found to pump oil when rotated by hand. No contamination was found in the propeller governor oil screen.
Examination of the engine showed it rotated when turned by hand and continuity was established with the crankshaft, camshaft, valve train, and accessory drive gears. All cylinders produced compression when the engine was rotated by hand. The cylinders with weak compression was found to have sand and debris stuck under the intake and exhaust valves. The engine oil filter had no contamination in it and the oil pump operated when the engine was turned by hand.
The right magneto produced spark when rotated by hand. The left magneto separated from the engine during impact with the river and was not recovered. The magneto switch was found in the both position and the switch operated normally when tested after the accident. Each spark plug had deposits with a color consistent with normal engine operation. All engine and airframe fuel lines were unobstructed and the fuel tank venting system was unobstructed. The carburetor bowl was found to not contain fuel. The carburetor float and needle valve operated normally and all passages within the carburetor were unobstructed.
The belt driven alternator had rotational damage on the case behind the drive pulley. The vacuum pump drive shaft had continuity and the pump rotated normally.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
Postmortem examination of the pilot and two passengers was performed by Wilson A. Broussard, Jr., M.D., Deputy Chief Medical Examiner, Sarasota, Florida. The cause of death in each was attributed to multiple blunt force trauma. No findings which could be considered causal to the accident were reported.
Postmortem toxicology testing on specimens obtained from the pilot was performed by Dr. Broussard and Dennis V. Canfield, Ph.D, Manager, FAA Toxicology Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The tests were positive for caffeine, nicotine, and 2 percent carbon monoxide. The test were negative for ethanol alcohol, basic, acidic, and neutral drugs.
Postmortem toxicology testing on specimens obtained from the two passengers was performed Dr. Broussard. Tests on specimens from the right front seat passenger were positive for caffeine and 3 percent carbon monoxide. The tests were negative for ethanol alcohol, basic, acidic, and neutral drugs. Tests on specimens from the left rear seat passenger were positive for .013 gm/dl ethanol alcohol, caffeine, and 8 percent carbon monoxide. The tests were negative for basic, acidic, and neutral drugs.
For additional medical and pathological information see the attached Supplements K and the toxicology reports.
The aircraft wreckage was released by NTSB on June 6, 1998, to R. Michael Barrett, Claims Manager, United States Aviation Underwriters, Orlando, Florida. Components retained by NTSB for further examination were released on June 18, 1998.
The flight was being operated by Transit Aviation of Lake Charles, Inc., in accordance with a Certificate of Waiver issued by the Federal Aviation Administration. The waiver allows for aerial pipeline/powerline patrol operations in the states of Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. The waiver exempts the operator from the provisions Title 14 CFR Part 91.119 b and c. The Special Provisions attached to the waiver state in part "operations under this waiver are limited to the pilots listed on the Application for Certificate of Waiver, FAA Form 7711-2, or the accepted operations manual." Representatives of the operator stated that they had not modified the Application for Certificate of Waiver or the Operations Manual to show the accident pilot and that his name was not listed on these documents.