ATL93FA151
ATL93FA151

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On September 5, 1993, at 0915 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-32R-300, N5339F, collided with the ground following an in flight break-up during cruise flight. The airplane was registered to Fox Aviation, Incorporated, and was operated by the pilot under 14 CFR Part 91 and visual flight rules. Instrument meteorological conditions existed at the time of the accident. A flight plan was not filed for the personal flight. The non- instrument rated private pilot and one passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed. Origination of the flight was Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, at 0830 on the same morning.

At 0848 EDT, N5339F contacted Myrtle Beach Approach Control and received VFR flight following (traffic advisories). At 0859, Radar service was terminated. No further transmissions were received after that time.

Witnesses stated that a thunderstorm began approximately 0830 that morning and lasted until almost 1300 that afternoon. The storm included lightning from cloud to cloud and from cloud to ground. At one time, a witness stated that he was unable to see a pond which was about 200 feet from a window in his office. Other witnesses confirmed the weather conditions at this time and also heard what sounded like an airplane overhead around 0900-0930.

The aircraft wreckage was discovered shortly after the storm.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot possessed a single engine land private pilot certificate. He did not hold an instrument rating. No current record of the pilot's flight experience could be located.

Additional information on the pilot can be found in this report in the section titled "First Pilot Information".

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

Instrument meteorological conditions existed at the time of the accident (refer to NTSB Meteorological Factual Report enclosed in this report). A security guard at a nearby industrial plant was on duty from 0800 until 1700 on the day of the accident. He stated that a thunderstorm began approximately 0830 that morning and lasted until almost 1300 that afternoon. He stated that the storm included lightning from cloud to cloud and from clouds to the ground. At one time, the witness stated that he was unable to see a pond which was about 200 feet from a window in his security office.

Radar observations at the time of the accident indicated several thunderstorms of strong to very strong intensities in the area of the accident and that there was a very strong thunderstorm which included moderate to severe turbulence and strong vertical winds within approximately 4 miles of the accident site. Weather forecasts called for widely scattered thunderstorms and moderate rain showers in lines and clusters for the intended area of flight.(See the Meteorological Factual Report attached to this report, which includes radar depiction charts, taken at the time of the accident.)

There is no record of the pilot attempting to obtain a weather briefing prior to, or during the flight.

An Airmans Meteorological Information Report(AIRMET) had been issued at 0745 EDT by the National Weather Service for ceilings below 1000 feet and visibility less than three miles due to precipitation and fog in the area of flight.

A Convective Significant Meteorological Information(SIGMET) for the area of the accident was issued subsequent to the accident. Weather conditions in the North Carolina area prior to, and at the time of the accident met the criteria for the issuance of a Convective SIGMET.

Additional meteorological information may be obtained in this report under the section titled Weather Information, and in the Meteorological Factual Report attached to this report.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The wreckage path covered an area more than 1000 feet in length and nearly 300 feet wide. The wreckage path was oriented along a magnetic course of 035 degrees. The first pieces of the airplane along the wreckage path were pieces of fuselage skin, the vertical and horizontal stabilizer, and the rudder. Large portions of the left wing were found 150 feet to the right of the wreckage path. The first impact scar was found approximately 921 feet down the path of wreckage.(See Wreckage Distribution Diagram attached to this report for more details on the wreckage distribution.)

Examination of the right main wing spar revealed permanent deformation in the positive (wings bent upward) direction. The spar was fractured on a forty five degree angle, and the metal at the top of the spar fracture appeared as if it had been pressed upward and backward.(See Photo 5 of This Report.)

The cockpit was destroyed in the accident. The Automatic Direction Finder was turned on and tuned to 396 KHz and the autopilot was found selected to the navigation mode.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy of Mr. Moon was conducted by Drs. Deborah L. Radisch, M.D. and Thomas B. Clark, M.D. of the North Carolina Medical Examiners Office in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Toxicological examination of the pilot revealed no evidence of drugs or alcohol.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The aircraft wreckage was released to James P. Clark, the owners insurance representative, on September 7, 1993.

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