On December 30, 1998, about 1630 hours Pacific standard time, a Beech C23, N2313L, sustained substantial damage when it collided with terrain during a takeoff overrun from the Furnace Creek, California, airport. The private pilot/owner and his passenger both received minor injuries. The aircraft departed Lancaster, California, at 1000 for the flight to Furnace Creek. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. After touring Death Valley National Park, the pilot/owner and his daughter were departing for Lancaster when the accident occurred. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The pilot stated he performed his preflight in the tie down area. There was no wind so he elected to use runway 15. After checking visually and with Unicom, the pilot proceeded to back taxi on the runway to the departure end since Furnace Creek has no taxiway. He lined up in position for takeoff to conduct his takeoff checklist. He stated he became concerned that he could not see approaching traffic while he was pointed in this direction and considered repositioning so that he could. He maintained this position but decided to forego pulling the written checklist from the glove compartment and did the checklist by memory. After completing his run-up and checks, he announced his departure on Unicom, added full power, and began the takeoff roll. He estimated rotation speed (65 mph) was reached approximately 2/3 of the way down the runway. As he started to pull on the control yoke, he realized the gust lock pin was still in the locked position. He felt that he could not abort the takeoff at this point without departing the end of the runway at a high rate of speed. He attempted to remove the gust lock, which required him to depress a button on the bottom of the pin while pulling down on the shaft. As he was struggling with the pin, the aircraft overran the runway. The nose gear dug into the dirt and was sheared off. He estimated the aircraft came to rest 30-50 yards past the end of the runway. The pilot turned off the magnetos and fuel. He noticed that the key was sheared off and that the throttle was pulled out and bent down sharply. Lying on the floor was the gust lock pin and a broken part of its neoprene housing. Fuel was flowing down the right wing as the pilot followed his daughter out of the aircraft.