HISTORY OF FLIGHT On August 6, 1999, about 1200 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 150F, N7059F, registered to a private owner, operated as a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, crashed on takeoff from Currituck County Airport, Maple, North Carolina. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The airplane was destroyed, and the private-rated pilot and passenger received fatal injuries. The flight was originating at the time of the accident. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
Witnesses stated that they saw the airplane at an altitude of about 10 to 20 feet on what they believed to be the initial takeoff, just past the midfield of runway 04, with full flaps extended, climbing very slowly. The witnesses further stated that the airplane continued without a significant gain in altitude and approached the trees at the departure end of the runway, well below the tree line. At about 70 to 100 feet the aircraft then appeared to settle, followed quickly thereafter by a slight turn to the left and entry into a spin to the left. The aircraft impacted the ground and a postcrash fire erupted.
Information on file at the Federal Aviation Administration Airman Certification Branch, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma revealed that the pilot-in-command was issued a private pilot certificate with an Airplane, single-engine land rating, on May 16, 1987. The pilot's log book revealed that the pilot had a total of 89 flight hours at the time of the accident. His logbook, as well as information provided by his flight instructor revealed that the pilot flew six times in 1989, had a break from flying, and next flew 11 times in 1999, prior to the accident. Those 11 flights in 1999 included 10.6 flight hours to complete a biennial flight review (BFR) and aircraft checkout. The BFR/aircraft checkout was completed on June 25, 1999. After completion of the BFR/aircraft checkout, the pilot flew two more times, with the last flight prior to the accident flight occurring on June 28, 1999. Additional information pertaining to the pilot is contained in NTSB form 6120.1/2, page 3, and in documents attached to this report.
Information pertaining to N7059F is contained in this report on page 2, under Aircraft Information.
Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. For additional information, see Weather Information on page 3 of this report.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The aircraft crashed about 1/4 mile off the departure end of runway 04 at Currituck County Airport, slightly to the left of the projected runway centerline, in a shallow ditch. All components of the aircraft which were necessary to sustain flight were located in the immediate vicinity of the main wreckage of the aircraft.
Examination of the aircraft showed that the airplane crashed in a 90-degree nose-down attitude. The chord line of the wings were perpendicular to the ground with the flaps fully extended. The empenage was separated from the rest of the fuselage, and was displaced behind the right wing. The left and right leading edges of the wings sustained compression damage extending from the wing root outboard to the wing tips. A fire had erupted and consumed the cabin area of the aircraft. The fuel shutoff valve was destroyed by fire, and no blockage of fuel lines from the fuel tanks to their entry into the cabin was found. The fuel tanks were full, and did not rupture.
Examination of the flight control flight system revealed no evidence of pre-impact failure or malfunction, and continuity of the flight control system was confirmed, by tracing the cables to the flight control surfaces. There were no separation points within the cables prior to cutting them to recover the wreckage, and control continuity was established for roll, pitch and yaw. Wing flaps were found in the full down (40 degrees) position, and was confirmed visibly on both flaps, and by measuring the length of the jackscrew. The jackscrew measured 5 and 20/32 inches (33 screws). The wing flaps were tested after wreckage recovery, and they operated normally throughout the full range when connected to a battery. The elevator trim was in at the neutral position and the empenage was separated from the remainder for the fuselage. The cockpit was destroyed by the postcrash fire, and instrument displays, switches and circuit breakers were not available, with the exception of those stated on page 2 of NTSB Form 6120.4.
Seat rails were in place, and the seats were locked in the last hole aft with six holes forward. The seat belts were buckled for both occupants. The airplane was not equipped with shoulder harnesses. Examination of the propeller, after recovery from the accident site, showed that there was damage consistent with the engine rotation at the time of impact. There was chordwise scarring on both propeller blades, and torsional twisting and bending on one propeller blade.
Examination of the engine assembly, and accessories was performed after recovery from the accident site. The engine rotated by hand, and continuity was established with the crankshaft, camshaft, valve train, and accessory drive gears. All cylinders produced compression.
The carburetor heat door was in the cold position, with the throttle valve half open. The carburetor, needle valve, and the accelerator pump, when compared to recently manufactured ones appeared worn, however, the carburetor float and needle valve operated normally and all passages within the carburetor were unobstructed. The inlet and carburetor screens were clean and clear of obstructions. The carburetor bowl contained fuel, and all fuel passages were clear, including the main jet, which was unobstructed all the way to the main pickup. The carburetor shutoff functioned normally. The mixture control was rich, and the path from the mixture control to the fuel nozzles was in good condition.
The magneto switch was in the both position, and the switch operated normally. Both magnetos were examined. The right one was tested and fired on all points. The left one was melted from the fire. The drive gear to distributor and distributor block were melted, however, the gears turned. The coils and magnets appeared in good condition. Each spark plug had deposits and coloration consistent with normal engine operation. In addition, both mufflers were removed and examined, and they exhibited no signs of leakage.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
Postmortem examination of the pilot was conducted by Dr. Paul R. Spence, Forensic Pathologist, East Carolina University School of Medicine, Greenville, North Carolina, on August 7, 1999. The cause of death was multiple blunt force trauma. Post-mortem toxicology studies of specimens from the pilot was performed by the Forensic Pathology Department of East Carolina University. The specimens were checked for ethanol, and the result was negative.
Forensic toxicology was also performed by the FAA Toxicology Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on the pilot. The tests were negative for ethanol, cyanide, and carbon monoxide. 0.003 (ug/ml, ug/g) tetrahydrocannabinol (marihuana), and 0.012 (ug/ml, ug/g) tetrahydrocannbinol carboxylic acid (marihuana) were detected in the blood, and 0.081 (ug/ml, ug/g) tetrahydrocannabinol carboxylic acid (marihuana) was found in the urine. In addition, 70 (ug/ml, ug/g) of acetaminophen and 95 (ug/ml, ug/g) salicylate were detected in the urine.
A postmortem examination was performed on the passenger by Dr. Paul R. Spence, Forensic Pathologist, East Carolina University School of Medicine, Greenville, North Carolina, on August 7, 1999. The cause of death was multiple blunt force trauma. Post-mortem toxicology was performed on specimens from the passenger at the East Carolina University School of Medicine. The tests were negative for ethanol.
TEST AND RESEARCH
The passenger's camera was recovered from the burnt wreckage and the film developed. One photograph showed the aircraft parked on the ramp with the flaps in the full down position. One person is visible in the photograph. According to the passenger's spouse, the person in the photograph was not the passenger and that this was the first time this passenger had flown in this aircraft and with this pilot.
The Information Manual for the Cessna 150, Section 1, Operating Checklist, states that the flaps should be up for takeoff. The power-off stalling speed (Vso), i.e., the minimum steady speed at which the Cessna 150, in the landing configuration is controllable, is 48 mph.
The airplane wreckage was released to Mr. Gary Ambrose, the registered co-owner of the aircraft on August 7, 1999.