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On November 2, 1998, about 1715, central standard time, a Cessna 182Q, N735JZ, registered to R. A. Hollingsworth Family, LLLP, operating as a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, crashed into a mountain top about 4 miles east of Piedmont, Alabama, while in cruise flight. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The airplane was destroyed and the private-rated pilot and private-rated right seat occupant sustained fatal injuries. A rear seat passenger, also a private-rated pilot, received serious injuries. The flight originated from Cape Girardeau, Missouri, about 2 hours 45 minutes before the accident.
A transcript of the briefing given to a person identified as the pilot of N735JZ by the Fort Dodge AFSS revealed that the person obtained a weather brief for a flight from Storm Lake, Iowa, to West Regional Airport, (Carrollton), Georgia, at about 0712. The pilot mentioned he would be flying under 10,000 feet, wanted to hear the icing level, and asked for the tops of the convective activity along his route. The briefer relayed to the pilot that weather conditions along the intended route of flight would be marginal VFR to IFR with ceilings and visibility improving, except for widely scattered thunder and rain showers, as he progressed eastward. At the completion of the brief the pilot ended with, "..nothing serious though is there". He did not file a flight plan nor advise of his intentions.
According to the survivor, who walked from the crash site the next morning, the pilot-in-command was his father, occupying the left seat, the right seat occupant was his older brother, and he was in the back seat with two hunting dogs and an assortment of shotguns as they were returning home from a bird hunting trip near Storm Lake, Iowa. They had departed Storm Lake that morning between 9 and 10 o'clock. He stated that the pilot was maintaining a slow descent to continue visual reference with the ground because visibility was deteriorating in mist and light rain. He stated that he had just scanned the instruments from the back seat and their heading was 130 degrees and the altimeter read 2,500 feet. He further stated he felt uncomfortable at that altitude and location. They were experiencing no troubles with the engine, airplane controls, or navigation systems. The survivor stated that they encountered constant drizzle starting near Columbia, Tennessee, and he remembered barely making out lights on the ground at Piedmont from his back seat position. He stated that the sun was just setting, and that they simply flew into the mountain top. Their destination was Carrollton, Georgia, about 31 miles from the accident site.
Neither pilot's personal logbook was recovered. Flight times reflected within this report under "First Pilot Information" and in Supplement E were obtained from FAA records.
According to the aircraft logbooks, the altimeter and static system had been checked and certified by a repair station on September 3, 1997. The logbooks revealed a standby altimeter and a Loran navigation system was installed. Additional aircraft information is included in this report under Aircraft Information and in attachments to this report.
Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The official end of civil twilight was recorded as 1715. Additional weather information is contained under, Weather Reports and Records Pertinent to the Investigation, which are attachments to this report.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The airplane impacted dense forest of 10- to 40-feet oak and hickory trees on the crest of Duggar Mountain at about 2,000 feet msl, in a wings level, upright attitude. The coordinates of the wreckage were centered at about N 33.52.78 by W 22.214.171.124 degrees, or about 4 miles southeast of Piedmont, Alabama. The wreckage path was about 220 feet long and was oriented about 134 degrees, magnetic, with the main part of the wreckage about 115 feet from initial tree impact. The magnetic heading from the wreckage site to Carrollton is about 130 degrees. The fuselage was consumed by postcrash fire from about the luggage rack forward, including the instrument panel and controls. The wings, wing struts, and landing gear had sustained numerous tree collisions and were strewn along the wreckage path from initial tree impact to the main part of the wreckage. The empennage and about 4 feet of tail cone lay adjacent to the main wreckage. The engine, propeller, and mount were located furthest from initial impact.
The main altimeter was salvaged and read 1,990 feet with a setting of 29.66 in the Kollsman window. A watch face was recovered and read 6:15. All airframe components were found in the immediate area. Continuity of control path for elevator and rudder was established. Continuity for aileron control path had to be established by matching cable separation sites. The propeller spinner showed heavy rotational crushing and the propeller blades showed chordwise scratching. One blade was bent 90 degrees forward at midspan and the other was bent aft 90 degrees at midspan. A 6-inch oak tree branch was perfectly severed in the helical pattern that a power producing propeller would make. The engine oil cooler was "U" shaped from a tree collision. Disassembly inspection of the vacuum pump and its drive revealed normal operation and wear. About 13 gallons of fuel was found in the left wing tank and tested negatively for water content. The right wing tank had been compromised, and contained no fuel.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL
Postmortem examinations of the pilot and right seat occupant were performed by Stephen Pustilnik, M.D., State Medical Examiner, Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, Birmingham, Alabama. The cause of death was reported as multiple blunt trauma in both cases. No findings that could be considered causal were noted.
Postmortem toxicology testing on specimens obtained from the pilot and right seat occupant were performed by Dennis V. Canfield, Ph.D., Manager, FAA Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Tests were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, ethanol, basic, acidic, and neutral drugs.
TESTS AND RESEARCH
The flight landed at Cape Girardeau Regional Airport, Missouri, for fuel. The fixed-base operator, (FBO) patronized was Air Evac Aviation, and 64 gallons of 100 octane low lead aviation fuel was pumped into N735JZ at about 1410 the day of the accident. The fuel storage facility and the fueling vehicle had undergone satisfactory checks for contamination the day of fueling.
The wreckage, except the aircraft logbook records was released to Jimmy Trammell, Chief of Police, Piedmont, Alabama, on November 5, 1998. The logbooks were returned to the estate of the pilot on February 5, 1999.