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On July 25, 1993, at 1750 Pacific daylight time, a Beech F33A, N3022W, was destroyed by terrain impact during a descent 20 miles north of Baker, California. The aircraft was owned and operated by the American Aeronautical Foundation and was on a personal cross-country flight under 14 CFR Part 91 of Federal Aviation Regulations. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the operation. The certificated commercial pilot and his two passengers sustained fatal injuries. The flight originated from the Roosevelt, Utah, municipal airport on the day of the accident as a nonstop flight to Camarillo, California.
The pilot picked up the aircraft at Santa Monica airport at approximately 1200 hours on July 22 and flew to Camarillo airport to pick up his wife and youngest daughter for a continued flight to Roosevelt, Utah. There were no reported communication difficulties with either the Santa Monica or Camarillo towers. Before departing on the return flight from Roosevelt at approximately 1400 on July 25, the pilot called the Camarillo tower by telephone to advise them of his planned arrival at 1900.
At that time, he also advised them that he might have a problem transmitting on his communications radios.
At approximately 1530, the pilot along with his wife and daughter took off from Roosevelt Municipal airport. Before takeoff, the fixed base operator (FBO) on the field reported that the aircraft was refueled with 53 gallons of 100LL octane avgas. The manufacturer reported that the aircraft had an 80-gallon fuel capacity with 74 gallons useable. Family members reported that the pilot was carrying 34 pounds of frozen venison in a plastic cooler. A witness reported that the venison was frozen, but that the cooler did not contain any ice. There were no reports on amount of luggage on-board; however, some personal care items were found in the aircraft wreckage.
The pilot's oldest daughter, who attended a family gathering in Roosevelt on July 25 with her mother, father, and youngest sister, reported that approximately 12 of the 200 people in attendance reported vomiting and diarrhea late on the 25th and early on the 26 of July. According to reports from persons in attendance, no one was reported hospitalized and there was no medical confirmation as to the source of the illness. There were no reports that the pilot, his wife or daughter had displayed or mentioned any symptoms prior to their departure for Camarillo.
Although the pilot had not filed a flight plan, a VFR Mode C transponder target, thought possibly to be the accident aircraft, was picked up by center radar and was tracked to within 3 miles of the crash site. The radar track showed the aircraft to be on a heading of 225 degrees at 8,500 feet mean sea level (msl) with a ground speed of 140 knots until it disappeared near the accident site. Winds aloft were reported by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Flight Service to be westerly at 10 to 15 knots between 8,000 and 10,000 feet.
At approximately 2130 on July 25, the aircraft owner was contacted by the oldest pilot's daughter, who advised him that her family was overdue on their return flight from Roosevelt, Utah. The owner contacted the FAA asking for any information about the aircraft. At 2400 on the same date, he again called the FAA and reported the aircraft missing. The FAA issued an alert for the missing aircraft (ALNOT) and a search was initiated.
On April 30, 1994, the aircraft was located at 35 degrees 28' 14" north and 116 degrees 00' 68" west, approximately 20 miles northeast of Baker, California. The accident site was characterized by light brush and cactus with several dry washes leading downslope to the west. The aircraft had been located by a ground member of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), who had continued his search for this aircraft using the last available radar data.
An FAA inspector reported that an unidentified witness called the Las Vegas Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) on May 2, 1994, to complain that her eyewitness account of the accident, which she claimed she had provided at the time of the accident, had not been investigated by the CAP. She stated that she had witnessed the aircraft as it impacted, describing the impact angle and aircraft attitude as "straight in" after a high-altitude descent.
She stated that she had provided the CAP with the location of the accident site. A review of CAP report logs for the period did not reveal any such corresponding entry.
The owner of the aircraft reported that the pilot had previously flown the accident aircraft more than 50 hours and also had approximately 200 hours experience in other Bonanzas and Debonairs. The pilot had reportedly flown this route numerous times, usually making the trip in slightly more than 4 hours. His normal route of flight was Camarillo, Daggett, Las Vegas, St. George, Roosevelt. The pilot was on the board of directors of the American Aeronautical Foundation, the owner/operator of the accident aircraft.
The aircraft's flight control system incorporated a "throw-over" yoke. The owner also reported that the aircraft was equipped with two (2) King KX 170B NAV/COM radios, a King ADF, an Apollo II loran, a transponder, an emergency locator transmitter (ELT), and a Mitchell Century I with Tracker. The No. 2 KX 170B had been removed for maintenance and the pilot reportedly had taken a back-up portable VHF radio and a hand-held GPS. According to the Beech representative, there is no interface between the Century I and the aircraft's electric trim system.
At the time of the accident, a current AIRMET was in effect for an area which included the accident site. The AIRMET advised that occasional moderate turbulence could be expected below 20,000 feet. Isolated severe turbulent conditions were also noted for southern portions of eastern California. Light-to-moderate turbulence was advised below 10,000 feet.
No air traffic control (ATC) facility reported any contact with the pilot after his departure from Roosevelt Municipal airport. There were no reported emergency transponder codes or ELT signals along the route of flight.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The aircraft impacted dry, flat desert terrain at an elevation of 2,080 feet with high velocity in a near-vertical nose-down attitude. The technical representative from Beech estimated the impact velocity to be between 230 and 240 knots. The long axis of the wreckage distribution was approximately 240 degrees. The Beech representative estimated the impact attitude to have been 75 degrees nose-down, with the fuselage inverted, and in a 30- degree left yaw. There were no other ground scars.
All flight control surfaces were located at or near the initial impact point.
All three blades from the McCauley propeller were separated from the fractured hub. No serial number was found on any of the hub fragments. The blade roots on all three blades were crushed. The blades exhibited leading edge damage and chordwise scoring, while one displayed an "S" shaped bend, torsional twisting, and trailing edge damage. Two blades, (S/N's F36203YS and F36206YS) were located in the initial impact depression while the third (F35630YS) was found about 30 feet from the main wreckage on a bearing of 300 degrees.
Both main wings were separated from the fuselage with extensive leading edge crushing from root to tip. The ailerons and flaps separated from both wings. The vertical stabilizer and both horizontal stabilizers remained attached to the empennage, and all three leading edge surfaces exhibited extensive crushing.
The elevator separated from the horizontal stabilizers and both counterweights were imbedded in the terrain immediately to the rear of the initial impact depression. The elevator trim actuator was found extended 1.31 inches, corresponding to 3 degrees tab down (nose-up). The aircraft was equipped with a spring-loaded aileron trimmer. The aircraft was not equipped with rudder trim. The positions of two flap hinge rollers were found in the full-up position with the roller tracks crushed, fixing their position.
All three landing gear had separated from the aircraft and were located beyond the initial ground scar. The Beech representative believed the gear was up at impact based on the crush on the forward edge of the main gear doors.
The powerplant case was found fractured at numerous points within an approximate 30-foot radius. Most of the internal components, including crankshaft, camshaft, connecting rods, rocker arms, pistons, bearing shells, valves, and valve springs were found at the initial impact site. None of the bearing surfaces nor cylinder walls showed any evidence of scoring or discoloration. The valves did not display carbon build-up or discoloration. The soil at the initial impact site appeared to have been saturated and discolored.
The engine tachometer indicated 0824.8 flight hours. The aircraft clock was found indicating 5:50. The vertical speed indicator exhibited a faint, slap mark on the face of the instrument corresponding to a 4,000-foot-per minute rate of descent. The vacuum pump was found broken open with the housing intact. There was no evidence of scoring on the walls.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The pilot's family reported a family history of early heart disease. The family indicated that the pilot had an elevated level of cholesterol and was attempting to lower it.
The pilot's airman's medical examiner (AME) reported him as a "mature healthy applicant" on his last medical examination.
The aircraft wreckage was recovered and transported to an aircraft storage yard in Phoenix, Arizona. The wreckage was released to a representative of the registered owner.