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On January 15, 1993, at approximately 1423 central standard time, a Cessna 150J airplane, N5563G, was destroyed following a loss of control during the initial takeoff climb from runway 17 at Williams Airport, near Porter, Texas. The private pilot and his passenger were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local personal flight.
During interviews with a witness, who was also the aircraft owner and operator, by the investigator in charge (IIC), the facts in this paragraph were revealed: The pilot completed his preflight inspection noting that the fuel cells were half full. The pilot had intended to make a short local area flight with a friend. The pilot was told by the owner of the airplane that maintenance had been performed on the radios on the previous day, and was requested to make a couple of radio checks with him on the Unicom frequency to verify the operational status of the radios. The pilot made a satisfactory radio check with the owner as he was taxiing out for departure. The owner walked out onto the ramp to observe the takeoff. During the takeoff roll, the owner observed that the flaps were "not in the normal position." He watched "the airplane skip a couple of times along the runway and then become airborne with the right wing down and the tail lower than normally seen during a normal no flap takeoff." The operator radioed to the pilot to "raise the flaps up slowly." The message was transmitted on the Unicom frequency several times without response from the pilot. The owner launched in a Cessna 172 to look for the airplane and after he heard other airplanes on the radio, he returned to the airport "thinking that the pilot had done OK."
Some time later the owner, feeling that the airplane should be returning anytime, asked another pilot that was departing the airport to look for N5563G. The departing pilot located the airplane wreckage approximately 440 yards from the departure end of the runway and radioed the location to the owner who immediately summoned for help.
The private pilot certificate was issued on November 7, 1990, at which time the pilot had approximately 102 hours total flight time. Since obtaining his certificate, the pilot had logged 14.6 hours in the same make and model. This was the pilot's first flight without a flight instructor.
The flap position is controlled by a 3-position electrical switch located on the lower center portion of the instrument panel. The flap switch is spring loaded to the "off" position anytime the switch is depressed to lower (extend) the flaps. Once the flaps are retracted, the switch will remain in the "up" position without manual assistance. A review of the flight manual revealed that it contained instructions that stated that flap deflection of 30 to 40 degrees are not recommended at any time for takeoff. The flap indicator in the airplane was found at 35 degrees and the flap actuator was measured at 38 degrees. WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
An examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane impacted the ground in a nose down attitude. There was no evidence of an extended ground scar and no evidence of contact with trees, which were about 20 feet tall. The airplane impacted the ground and remained in its descent attitude, this was measured as 60 degrees nose down, on a measured heading of 180 degrees, and approximately 440 yards beyond the departure end of runway 17. At the accident site, the airplane maintained its integrity except for the left door and scattered pieces of broken windshield. The cabin area was found crushed downward and forward. Both wingtips and wing leading edges were damaged.
The empennage was buckled aft of the cabin area. Propeller blades were curved aft and exhibited "s" bending and twisting. Both wing flaps were extended. The flap indicator in the cockpit read approximately 35 degrees. The flap switch was found in the "up" position.
Flight control continuity was confirmed to the ailerons, elevators, and rudder. There was physical evidence of fuel stains on the lower inboard surface of the right wing. Fuel was also found leaking from the right wing fuel drain sump and the left wing vent line. Fuel caps and seals were secured. Fuel was also found in the carburetor.
The flap motor and actuator were removed from the right wing. The flap actuator travel was measured at 5 and 3/4 inches (38 degrees down).
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy and toxicological tests were ordered on the pilot. Forensic findings recorded the cause of death as multiple blunt force injuries. Toxicological findings were negative.
TEST AND RESEARCH
The flap motor, flap actuator, flap selector switch, and flap limit microswitches, were examined on January 28, 1993, by the investigator. The flap motor operated the actuator throughout the travel range. The electrical switches provided electrical continuity for all positions, and no discrepancies or anomalies either mechanical or electrical were noted in the system.
The wreckage was released to the owner's representative on January 28, 1993, upon completion of the investigation.