On October 29, 1998, at 2343 hours Pacific standard time, a boarding passenger sustained fatal injuries when he walked into the rotating propeller of a Cessna 182Q, N5352N, at the Chandler Airport, Fresno, California. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed. The aircraft, owned and operated by AMAR Transportation, Inc., d.b.a. Paul Trucking of Watsonville, California was not damaged. The private pilot was not injured. The flight was originating at the time as a business cross-country flight to Watsonville and an IFR flight plan was on file. The operation was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91 of the Federal Aviation Regulations. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
In addition to the pilot's written statement, information was also supplied by the Federal Aviation Administration, the Fresno Police Department, and witnesses to the accident.
The pilot stated that he is not the regular company pilot for Paul Trucking. He was asked by a friend who is the company pilot to help him out due to duty time conflict and fly to Fresno and pickup several passengers and return them to Watsonville. The pilot left Watsonville about 2050 and landed at the Fresno Chandler Airport about 2157 and subsequently parked the aircraft in the transient tie down parking ramp near the terminal. He reported that the passengers contacted him by cell phone about 2230, inquired if he was at the airport, and told him they would be there in 10 to 15 minutes. The pilot called them on the cell phone at 2330 when they had not arrived. He stated that the passengers told him they were in the terminal parking lot and would be there shortly and to start the engine. The pilot said he then got into the airplane, started the engine and turned on the strobes and navigation lights, then waited for the passengers to come. He said he waited an additional 5 to 6 minutes after he saw a group of people near the fence gate, which leads to the transient parking area. After looking at the instruments he looked up and saw one of the intended passengers in front of the wing tip walking toward the engine. The passenger walked into the rotating propeller just as the pilot attempted to shut down the engine.
An airport security officer witnessed the accident. In his statement, the witness said he was about 200 feet away and observed the injured passenger walk from the fenced sidewalk at the lobby terminal building through the gate and across the ramp toward the front of the airplane. The passenger then walked into the rotating propeller. The witness flagged down a passing patrol car and police and fire rescue units were summoned.
Responding police officers documented the location of the airplane to the fence gate and the two nearest street light poles illuminating the area. The aircraft was parked with the nose turned 45 degrees toward the terminal building. A distance of 27 feet was measured between the tip of the propeller and the gate. The light standards were 52 and 66 feet respectively away from the airplane. A diagram and photograph are appended to this file.
Using a Safety Board generated computer program, the position and disk illumination percentage of the moon was calculated for the date, time, and location of the accident site. According to the program, the moon was located 13.2 degrees above the horizon on a magnetic bearing of 230.2 degrees. Seventy percent of the moon's disk was illuminated.