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On September 25, 1999, about 1130 Eastern Daylight Time, a Piper, PA 22-150, N2381P, was destroyed during a forced landing to a grass field in Goshen, Kentucky. The certificated flight instructor (CFI) and private pilot were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed for the flight that departed the Bowman Field Airport (LOU), Louisville, Kentucky. The instructional flight was conducted under 14 CFR part 91.
The accident airplane was owned by the private pilot. Both pilots were participating in a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Wings Program, which was being held at LOU.
At 1110, N2381P contacted LOU ground control with a request to taxi for departure to the "practice area." At 1116, the airplane was cleared to takeoff from Runway 6. There were no further communications with the airplane.
A witness near the accident site stated he was in a barn tending to horses, when he heard a "sputtering" engine noise. All of a sudden the noise became "real loud," and the horses became "spooked." He went outside and observed an airplane about 50 to 100 feet above the barn, flying straight and level. The airplane made a left turn towards a tree line, a second left turn, which paralleled the tree line, and a third left turn towards a field. The airplane descended towards the field "like it was trying to land." He further described the engine noise as "missing, like the engine would stop and start;" however, the engine seemed to "smoothen out" prior to touchdown. The airplane touched down towards the end of the field, and struck a fence. He then saw a "ball of fire."
The accident occurred during the hours of daylight approximately 38 degrees, 24 minutes north latitude, and 85 degrees, 32 minutes west longitude.
The CFI held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for single and multi-engine land airplanes, and instrument airplane. He received his flight instructor certification for single engine land airplanes in November 1991. The CFI's logbook was not recovered. He reported 3,465 hours of total flight experience on his last application for an FAA first class medical certificate, which was issued on February 3, 1997.
The private pilot was rated for single engine land airplanes, and instrument airplane. He reported 450 hours of total flight experience on his last application for an FAA third class medical certificate, which was issued on June 6, 1998.
Review of maintenance records revealed that the airplane had received an annual inspection on August 18, 1999. At the time of the inspection, the airplane's total airframe time was reported as 4,115 hours. Additionally, the airplane's engine time was reported as 1,116 hours since major overhaul.
The weather reported at LOU, which was located about 13 miles southwest of the accident site, at 1153, was: winds calm; visibility 10 statue miles; clear skies; temperature 79 degrees F; dewpoint 48 degrees F.
Review of an FAA Carburetor Icing Probability Chart, placed the temperature and dewpoint reported at LOU, in the "serious icing at glide power" area of the chart.
The airplane impacted in a 7.3 acre fenced, rectangular field that sloped downward. A ground scar orientated on a magnetic bearing of about 125 degrees, extended approximately 105 feet to the main wreckage. In the vicinity of where the ground scar began, was a ground impact mark which contained a piece of a wing tip, and green glass. A tree located 68 feet from the ground impact mark, and to the left of the ground scar, contained a fresh impact mark, 4 feet above it's base. A broken wooden fence was observed 83 feet from the ground impact point, in-line with the ground scar. The airplane came to rest facing north-northwest, against a tree. Scorched brush emanated in a fan shape pattern from the ground impact, where the wing tip was found, and extended beyond the wreckage.
Examination of the wreckage revealed that all major components of the airplane were accounted for at the accident site.
The airplane's airframe and engine sustained substantial fire damage. The fabric that covered the airframe was consumed in the fire. The tubular frame was bent, twisted, and fire damaged. Aileron and elevator flight control continuity was confirmed from their respective control surfaces, to the forward cockpit area. Rudder control continuity was confirmed from the rudder control surface to the rudder pedal in the cockpit.
The engine was removed from the accident site and examined in a hangar at LOU. The crankshaft could be "rocked" slightly; however, it could not be rotated. The top half of the carburetor remained attached to the engine. The bottom half of the carburetor and part of the oil sump were broken from the engine, and found partially melted. Both magnetos were destroyed by fire, and could not be rotated. The top spark plugs were removed. They were light gray in color, and their electrodes were intact. Additionally, the oil screen was removed and absent of debris. The engine was retained for further examination.
The propeller was partially separated from the propeller mounting flange. One propeller blade was bent up and aft, and contained a curled tip. The other blade was twisted; however, about 8 inches of the propeller blade was missing, and was not recovered. A portion of the propeller blade inboard of the separation was submitted to the NTSB Materials Laboratory, Washington, DC, for examination.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
Autopsies were performed on both pilots, on September 26, 2000, by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiners Office, Louisville, Kentucky.
The toxicological testing report from the FAA Toxicology Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, was negative for drugs and alcohol for both pilots.
TESTS AND RESEARCH
Examination of the sectioned portion of propeller blade was performed by a Safety Board metallurgist. According to the metallurgist's factual report, the propeller blade's fracture surface revealed features typical of an overstress separation. No evidence of pre-existing fracture areas were noted.
On November 17, 1999, the engine was disassembled and examined at Textron Lycoming, Williamsport, Pennsylvania, under the supervision of a Federal Aviation Administration inspector. During disassembly the crankshaft was rotated, and valve train continuity and thumb compression was obtained on all cylinders. No internal failures were observed which would have precluded normal engine operation. The engine's accessory section was impact damaged and destroyed by fire.
The airplane wreckage was released on July 3, 2000, to a representative of the owners insurance company.