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On April 14, 1993, at 2003 central daylight time a Cessna 177B, N973CQ, registered to George R. Kinsell, of Remington, Indiana, and operated by an instrument rated private pilot, departed controlled flight and impacted the terrain one-quarter mile northwest of the approach end of runway 18 (3,100' X 60' asphalt) at Rensselaer, Indiana. The airplane was destroyed by ground impact and a post accident fire. The pilot and one passenger sustained fatal injuries. The business flight was being conducted under provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. No flight plan was on file. The nearest weather reporting station was reporting IMC conditions at the time of the accident. The flight departed Tomkinsville, Kentucky, exact time unknown.
At 1825 a telephone call was received by the Louisville, Kentucky Flight Service by an individual identifying himself as the pilot of N973CQ and requesting enroute weather to Rensselaer, Indiana. At 1852 a radio message was received by Terre Haute Flight Watch from N973CQ to inquire about weather at Lafayette, Indiana. At 1931 a radio call was received by the Lafayette Air Traffic Control Tower from N973CQ requesting permission to transition the Airport Traffic Area. At approximately 2005 a ground witness stated that she saw a "big flash and orange burning." Other witnesses related seeing the site burning and heard a low flying aircraft at approximately the same time. Weather information gathered by the Indiana Sate Police from these witnesses report "foggy and hazy" conditions existing near the time of the accident, with a light mist in the air. Shortly after the accident it began "raining hard," according to one witness.
The 64 year old pilot held a private pilot's certificate number 1918278, with privileges for single engine instrument flight. He had a total time of 3,290 hours at the time of the accident. He held a third class medical certificate issued June 12, 1992, with the limitation of "Must wear corrective lenses." His most recent biennial flight review and instrument competency check was completed on June 16, 1992, in the accident airplane. The pilot's most recent instrument experience, according to his personal log book was on September 20, 1992.
The airplane was a Cessna 177B, N973CQ, serial number 17702408. The airplane had accumulated 1,850 hours at the time of the last annual inspection on May 13, 1992. The most recent log book entry was in the engine log book on September 23, 1992, when the hours were shown as 1,937 hours.
A Meteorological Factual Report was compiled by the Office of Aviation Safety of the National Transportation Safety Board. The report is attached as an addendum to this report. The report indicates that conditions were favorable for those consistent with the observations of witnesses who indicated that IMC conditions prevailed with low visibility in fog and light rain or drizzle.
AIDS TO NAVIGATION
No flight plan was on file for the accident flight. There was no indication of any IFR approach being flown by the accident airplane; however, a post accident inspection of the Non-Federal Rensselaer(RZL) Non-Directional Beacon(NDB) was conducted on April 15, 1993. A copy of the results of that report are attached to this report. Nothing was found during the examination that would have had an adverse effect on the operation of the facility.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The airplane came to rest approximately 1,000 feet west and 1,000 feet north of the center of Jasper County Airport. The first indication of the descent of the airplane was the clipping of tree branches about 20 feet off the ground. The broken branches continued forward and downward on a heading of approximately 074 degrees magnetic, and as measured downward of approximately 65 degrees. Thirty feet from the beginning of the cut branches was a three foot deep crater in the ground containing one propeller blade and the propeller hub. From this point the wreckage spread out in a fan shaped area extending 166 feet from the first indication of contact with the trees on the original heading of 074 degrees magnetic. The wing structure fractured at the juncture with the cabin structure and lay alongside the fuselage. Most of the cockpit and cabin area of the airplane was consumed by a ground fire as was much of the center portion of the wing. Both occupants were ejected during the impact sequence.
Inspection of the airframe failed to reveal any preexisting anomalies. Engine and fight control continuity was established. Engine integrity through the power and accessory section was confirmed. The propeller blades showed evidence of leading scratches and gouges and the propeller spinner had twisting deformation opposite the direction of rotation.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
A post mortem examination autopsy of the pilot stated the cause of death as multiple blunt traumatic injuries. The autopsy report indicated a coronary atherosclerosis with 90% stenosis of the distal right coronary artery and 25% stenosis of the circumflex; however, a statement in the report shows, "No regions are identified which are definitely felt to represent a remote myocardial infarction. No regions are suggestive of an acute myocardial infarction." Specimens submitted for toxicological examination were found to contain quinine in both blood and urine.
Most of the cockpit and cabin area of the airplane were consumed by a ground fire. There was no indication of an in flight fire. The exact ignition source is not known. There was aviation fuel present during the impact sequence. Much of the fuel system was consumed by the fire.
Party to the investigation was the Federal Aviation Administration, Flight Standards District Office, South Bend, Indiana. They were briefed on findings prior to departure from the on-scene investigation.
The airplane was released to a representative of the owner on May 5, 1993.