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On January 18, 2000, about 1115 Eastern Standard Time, a Cessna 195, N3448V, was substantially damaged when it impacted mountainous terrain near Willard, Kentucky. The certificated commercial pilot was fatally injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. The flight departed Wood County Airport (PKB), Parkersburg, West Virginia, about 1000; and was destined for Albert Whitted Airport (SPG), Saint Petersburg, Florida.
A witness, who was driving his car in the vicinity of Ashland, Kentucky, stated:
"At about 11 AM on 1-18-00 I saw a Cessna 195 white, silver, trim[m]ed red at about 800 ft above ground heading approximately 240 [degrees] straight + level flight. Unable to tell if having engine problems. Weather: I just came out of a heavy snow shower into clear area and saw the plane going very fast from my right to left. He was probably 300-400 ft below the clouds. To his left would have been this heavy snow shower blocking his route to Huntington Tri-State Airport. To his right to Ashland Airport about 8 miles was clear of snow showers. My first thought was he was [a] lost [aircraft in] the snow showers and if going to Ashland Boyd Co. Airport he needed to turn right 90 [degrees] to make the airport. I was unable to follow his direction because of the hill he passed over and out of sight."
A second witness stated that he heard a small airplane fly overhead from west to east around 1100. Then he heard the airplane fly directly over his house in a southerly direction. The engine initially sounded as if it was at idle power, then full power, then silent.
A third witness stated the he heard a small airplane fly over his house. The engine sounded like it was at "half throttle", then "full throttle" for 5 to 10 seconds, then silent.
A fourth witness stated:
"I heard something that sounded like tires squealing. Then I heard a loud wooshing sound, like when a plane goes overhead, followed by a loud crash. I heard some crunching and a few loud bangs, and then silence."
The accident occurred during the hours of daylight: located approximately 38 degrees, 13 minutes north longitude; and 82 degrees, 52 minutes west latitude.
The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate; with ratings for airplane single engine land, multiengine land, single engine sea, rotorcraft, and instrument airplane.
His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) second class medical certificate was issued on June 21, 1999, with a restriction for eyeglasses.
The pilot's logbook was not recovered. However, a copy of the pilot's insurance application was obtained by the FAA. According to the application, in 1997 the pilot had a total flight experience of 8,317 hours, of which, 10 hours were in a Cessna 195. In 1998, the pilot had a total flight experience of 8,588 hours, of which, 16 hours were in a Cessna 195.
According to the airframe and engine logbooks, the airplane underwent a 100 hour inspection on June 18, 1999. Additionally, the engine was overhauled on February 24, 1998.
On January 17, 2000, the pilot had a mechanic check the airplane due to a low voltage light illumination. The mechanic found a wire had separated from the fitting to the master switch, and that the respective screw was missing. The mechanic provided the pilot with a screw, and the pilot secured the wire himself. After the wire was secure, the proper voltages were noted at the alternator.
The reported weather at an airport approximately 20 miles from the accident site, at 1122, was: winds from 340 degrees at 7 knots, variable from 300 to 010 degrees; visibility 10 miles; ceiling 600 feet overcast; temperature 25 degrees Fahrenheit; dewpoint 21 degrees; altimeter 30.06 inches Hg.
The witness that heard the crash stated that there was a low overcast cloud layer at the time of the accident. The clouds were dark gray in color. The overcast layer did not obscure the hill where the airplane crashed, but the clouds were not much higher than the top of the hill. It was not snowing at her residence at the time of the accident, but scattered snow showers were present throughout the day.
According to a FAA Inspector, there was no record of a weather briefing or flight plan for the accident pilot or airplane, with any flight service station.
AIDS TO NAVIGATION
According to a Cincinnati Sectional Aeronautical Chart, the Newcomb VOR was located approximately 4 miles southwest of the accident site, at 1,070 feet MSL. The frequency for the VOR was 110.4. The airplane's navigation radio found at the accident site displayed 110.4.
The wreckage was examined at the accident site on January 19, 2000. A strong fuel odor was present. All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the accident site. The wreckage was scattered along an approximate 190 foot debris path oriented to a 065 degree magnetic heading, about 485 feet above sea level. The path began at the first tree strike, and the main impact crater was located about 75 feet along the debris path. A few feet behind the main crater, was a smaller crater containing pieces of the right main landing gear. The right wing was found a few feet to the right of the craters. The main wreckage, which was located about 90 feet along the debris path, included the engine, fuselage, and empennage. Sections of the left wing were located a few feet to the left of the main wreckage. The right wing fuel cell and right tire were found at the end of the debris path.
Flight control continuity was established from the elevator and rudder to the aft cabin area; and from both ailerons to the bellcranks. The right wing exhibited crushing damage at the leading edge, and deformation on the wingtip consistent with a side-load tree impact. The left wing was observed crushed and buckled, but the fuel cell remained intact. The fuselage and empennage were inverted, twisted, and cantered similar to a "U" shape.
The engine was separated from the mounts, and three of the seven cylinders were separated from the pistons. Of the four cylinders attached to the pistons, three were cracked through. All seven connecting rods were attached to the crankshaft, and some exhibited bending consistent with the direction of rotation.
Oil was present on the ground in the vicinity of the engine, and in the oil pump. Torsional deformation was observed on the oil pump shaft. Six of the seven spark plugs were recovered. Their electrodes were intact, absent of debris, and light gray in color. The propeller was attached to the hub. One blade exhibited slight S-bending. The other blade was bent opposite the plane of rotation, and some leading edge gouging and chordwise scratching were observed.
The majority of the cockpit area was crushed. However, the attitude indicator gyro was recovered. When opened for inspection, rotational scoring was observed on both the gyro and the case.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy was performed on the pilot, on January 19, 2000, by the Kentucky Justice Cabinet Medical Examiner's Office.
Toxicological testing was conducted at the FAA Toxicology Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. According to the report:
"...CHLOROQUINE present in Blood CHLOROQUINE present in Liver..."
TESTS AND RESEARCH
The accident airplane's alternator was retained for further examination. It was examined at the Safety Board's Northeast Regional Office on January 28, 2000.
The alternator's housing was bent, and the armature did not rotate by hand. However, after the housing was removed, the armature rotated freely. It was intact, and had no visible damage. The magnets exhibited rotational scoring throughout the 360 degree radius. Additionally, rotational scoring was observed on the magnet bearing, and the magnet bearing seal. The brushes were absent of debris. All wires were still attached to the connectors, and all solder joints were intact. Electrical continuity was confirmed throughout the alternator with an ohmmeter.
The wreckage was released to a Kentucky State Forest Ranger on January 19, 2000.