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On July 1, 1998, at 0923 central daylight time, a Cessna 140A airplane, N9689A, was substantially damaged when it impacted the ground during a forced landing following the loss of engine power while on takeoff climb near Edgewood, Texas. The instrument rated commercial pilot, sole occupant of the airplane, was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 cross-country flight. The flight had originated from the Thompson Field Airport, Canton, Texas, about 5 minutes prior to the accident.
A witness at the Thompson Field Airport reported to the NTSB investigator-in-charge (IIC) that she observed the airplane taxi to the approach end of runway 13 and taxi back to the vicinity of the hangar. She thought that the pilot was going to park the airplane. The airplane then turned around, taxied out, and departed on runway 13. The witness further reported that there were no unusual sounds coming from the engine as the airplane was taking off.
Witnesses near the accident site, north of the airport, reported to the NTSB IIC that they heard the airplane's engine "sputtering." One witness observed the airplane flying low over the trees. Both witnesses estimated that the altitude of the airplane was approximately 50 to 60 feet above the ground. The witnesses further reported that prior to the airplane starting a turn toward the approach end of runway 13, the engine "stop[ped]." As the airplane started to turn toward the runway, it "took a nose dive, hitting nose first, then right wing."
The 68-year-old commercial pilot's last biennial flight review was on October 29, 1996, and it was accomplished in a Cessna 172 airplane. According to the pilot's flight logbook, as of June 25, 1998, he had accumulated a total flight time of 698.7 hours, of which 134.2 hours were logged in the accident airplane.
According to FAA records, the pilot held a valid second class medical certificate, issued May 26, 1998. The certificate stipulated a limitation to wear corrective lenses for distant vision, and possess corrective lenses for near vision when operating an aircraft.
The 1950 Cessna model 140A, serial number 15410, was equipped with a Continental O-200-A, 100 horsepower engine. Maintenance records showed that the engine was overhauled on February 15, 1990, tachometer time 426.96 hours, with a total engine time of 3,522.36 hours. According to entries in maintenance records, the last annual inspection was completed on December 1, 1997, tachometer time 635.9 hours, with a total aircraft time of 3,686.84 hours. The tachometer at the time of the accident showed 657.21 hours. A review of the airframe and engine records did not reveal evidence of any anomalies or uncorrected maintenance defects.
The son of the pilot reported to the NTSB IIC that he had flown the airplane the Sunday prior to the accident, and no discrepancies were noted. After his flight, the airplane was fueled and then parked.
WRECKAGE IMPACT INFORMATION
Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane impacted the ground on a measured magnetic heading of 262 degrees, and came to a stop 49.5 feet from the initial ground scar. The airplane came to rest upright on a measured magnetic heading of 358 degrees.
Examination of the airplane revealed that the front of the airplane from the firewall forward was displaced upward. The leading edges of both wings were crushed aft, and the wing tip of the right wing was bent aft.
Examination of the engine revealed that one propeller blade was bent slightly forward and the other blade was straight. Finger compression and continuity was established to all cylinders. Both magnetos were removed from the engine and sparked at all terminals when hand rotated. No fuel was found in the carburetor bowl; however, it was damp and had the smell of fuel. The gascolator bowl was broken and its filter screen was clear. The fuel line from the gascolator to the carburetor was fractured and separated from its fitting, which was attached to the gascolator. The fuel line and fitting were removed and sent to the NTSB Materials Laboratory for further examination.
Examination of the airplane's cockpit revealed that the throttle was at the idle position, the mixture control was full rich, the carburetor heat was off, the fuel selector was selecting both fuel tanks, and the ignition switch was selecting both magnetos. Continuity was established to all flight controls.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The autopsy was performed at the Southwestern Institute Of Forensic Sciences, Dallas, Texas. There was no evidence found of any preexisting disease that could have contributed to the accident.
Toxicology analysis performed by the Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI), Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, was negative for drugs and alcohol.
The pilot had his seat belt fastened at the time of the accident; however, the aircraft was not equipped with shoulder harnesses.
TESTS AND RESEARCH
The fuel line was examined at the NTSB Materials Laboratory in Washington, D.C. Examination by an NTSB metallurgist revealed that, "the fuel line separated through the flexible hose as a result of extensive wear."
The airplane was released to the owner's son.