SEA94FA038
SEA94FA038

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On November 29, 1993, at approximately 1000 Pacific standard time, a Piper PA-24, N5764P, was destroyed when it collided with terrain approximately seven miles east of Ashland, Oregon. The private pilot, who was the owner of the aircraft and the sole occupant, was fatally injured in the crash. The aircraft was being operated under 14 CFR 91 without a flight plan, and with a reported destination of El Cajon, California. According to witnesses, instrument meteorological conditions prevailed in the vicinity at the time of the crash. The pilot was not instrument rated. There was no report of the ELT functioning, and no fire at the crash site.

A witness, who was at his residence approximately three miles west of the impact site, said that he was standing outside of his home at approximately 0958 when he heard the sound of a fluctuating airplane engine, as if it were making "loops." The sound lasted only 30 to 35 seconds before he heard the impact. The witness notified authorities immediately, then drove east on Dead Indian Memorial Road, met another witness who had heard the crash, and located the wreckage below the highway, at milepost 11.5. When he was interviewed on the telephone, he stated that his residence is at about 3000 feet MSL, and that the accident site was at about 4000 feet. He said that the weather was snowy, and that there was fog and low clouds in the vicinity of the accident site. He said that two other persons met him at the accident site who had heard the same sounds before the crash, which he articulated as a series of crescendos that mimicked a doppler effect.

The pilot had spoken with a Wilderville, Oregon, neighbor at about 0700 on the morning of the accident. At that time, the pilot had stated that he was going into town for breakfast before departing from the Grants Pass, Oregon, airport, which is about 40 nautical miles from the accident site. The friend stated that the weather was poor at the time, with fog and low clouds and that they had discussed that the following day was supposed to have been much better.

The pilot spoke with Grants Pass line service personnel before departing, who expressed a concern for the weather at the time of the flight.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot's private pilot certificate was issued April 16, 1990. FAA records show that his most recent airman's medical certificate was issued August 23, 1990. At that time, he indicated that he had 180 hours total flight experience, with 60 hours in the preceding six months. He was required to wear corrective lenses. The pilot's log book was not found.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The aircraft records were not located.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

Medford, Oregon, weather was:

0950 35 SCT M50 OVC 10R- 127/46/46/1207/991/FEW ST 5 HND 1050 5 SCT 35 SCT M40 OVC 7 130/47/47/2808/992

Pilots at the Ashland, Oregon, airport at the time of the accident observed that the weather in the vicinity of the airport was VFR, but that the mountaintops were obscured.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The aircraft impacted the ground in a steep descent angle on an approximate 20 degree slope, embedding the propeller and engine in the ground. The orientation of the wreckage was approximately 030 degrees tail-to-nose. Photographs taken by rescue personnel prior to removing the pilot from the wreckage show the tail cone and empennage near vertical. The location was described as Township 38S, Range 2E, northeast quarter of section 25.

The tachometer needle was stuck at 2675 rpm. Redline for this aircraft is 2550 rpm. The tachometer recording hour meter read 0862.13. The airspeed indicator needle was stuck at about 185 mph indicated airspeed. Redline airspeed is about 203 mph.

The stabilator trim tab was approximately 5 degrees up, and the stabilator and rudder were neutral. The leading edges of both wings were accordion collapsed with five wrinkles. The landing gear was in the up position. The artificial horizon and directional gyro were destroyed. The throttle was about one inch aft of wide open, and was bent over. The flap handle was up, and the pilot's seat belt was found broken. The left control yoke was separated from its column. Control cable continuity was established from the ailerons and tail surfaces to the vicinity of the cabin. The wreckage was moved for additional inspection.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

The engine and propeller were inspected at a local FBO in Ashland, Oregon. Both propeller blades had leading edge scratches and scuffing near the hub, and had only nominal bending. The crankshaft was displaced aft about two inches into the case. The wet vacuum pump was removed and disassembled. Its rotor and vanes were intact and undamaged.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The wreckage was released to Skinner Aviation, Inc., Ashland, Oregon, as the owner's representative, on December 1, 1993, where it was to be stored at their facility.

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