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On September 12, 1998, about 1430 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 170A, N4709Q, was substantially damaged during the initial climb after takeoff from the Sky Acres Airport, LaGrangeville, New York. The certificated private pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed for the flight destined for the Mahopac Airport (N77), Mahopac, New York. The personal flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.
In a telephone interview, a pilot who witnessed the accident stated he saw the accident airplane climbing at a steep pitch angle. The airplane pitched up further, "like it was going to go vertical." It then rolled right and dropped below his field of view. He also said the airplane was not more than 200 feet above the runway when it descended towards the ground.
In a telephone interview, a second witness stated he saw the airplane climbing at a steep angle, "more than 45 degrees." He then observed the airplane's wings rock back and forth a few times, before it rolled and dropped to the right. He described the engine noise as "loud and constant" until the point of impact.
The accident occurred during the hours of daylight approximately 41 degrees, 42 minutes north latitude, and 73 degrees, 44 minutes west longitude.
The pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single engine land.
The pilot reported 1,650 hours of total flight experience on his most recent application for a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Third Class Medical Certificate, which was issued on June 26, 1997.
The pilot's logbook indicated the pilot had accumulated 1,965.15 total flight hours, as of January 4, 1998. There were no further entries in the logbook.
A representative of the pilot's family did not remember when the pilot last flew the airplane before the accident flight. He did state that the pilot would regularly fly to local airports, and back to N77, on weekends for recreation.
The airplane was owned by the pilot. Review of the airplane's maintenance records revealed the airplane was given an annual inspection on December 17, 1997, at a tachometer time of 1894.0 hours. The tachometer reading at the time of the accident was 1952.36.
A weather observation taken at an airport 9 miles southwest of the accident site, at 1445, reported: wind from 230 degrees at 10 knots; visibility 15 statue miles; ceiling 20,000 feet broken; temperature 82 degrees F; dewpoint 63 degrees F; altimeter 29.77.
On scene examination of the wreckage revealed the airplane impacted in a wooded area located about 1,600 feet beyond the approach end, and 110 feet to the right of runway 17. The airplane came to rest inverted about 40 feet below the runway elevation on a magnetic course of about 90 degrees.
All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the scene. When viewed from the rear, the fuselage aft of the main cabin was canted to the right, and partially separated. The airplane's right wing was partially separated, and contained leading edge damage. Approximately 2 feet of the right wing tip was bent upward and twisted aft. The left wing remained attached to the airframe and it's tip was bent downward.
Flight control continuity was confirmed from the elevator and rudder control surfaces to the pilot's station. Continuity was also confirmed from the aileron control surface to the cabin area.
The engine was rotated by hand using the propeller which remained attached to the hub. Thumb compression and valve train continuity was confirmed on each cylinder. Both magnetos were removed and produced spark on all towers. Fuel was found in the fuel line going to the carburetor, and in the carburetor bowl.
Both propeller blades exhibited chordwise scratches and leading edge gouges. The outer third of one propeller blade was curled and twisted upward 90 degrees.
The pilot's seat remained attached to the seat rails and was found in the full aft position. The pilot's left seat rail was equipped with an Aero Technologies, "Saf-T-Stop." In a telephone interview, a witness stated he loosened the Saf-T-Stop, and slid the seat back to give the pilot more room until emergency personnel arrived.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An Autopsy was performed on the pilot on September 12, 1998, by Dr. Neela Pushparaj, of the St. Francis Hospital, Poughkeepsie, New York.
Toxicological testing of the pilot was conducted by the FAA Toxicology Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
The airplane wreckage was released on September 14, 1998, to Thomas P. Cawley, owner of the salvage company which recovered the airplane.