On April 15, 2000, about 1400 Eastern Daylight Time, a Piper J3C-65, N42383, was substantially damaged when it struck the ground while maneuvering near Lanconia, New Hampshire. The certificated private pilot succumbed to his injuries on April 24, 2000, and a passenger was seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
In a telephone interview, the airplane's owner, who also witnessed the accident reported that the airplane took off towards the south, climbed to 50-100 feet, "just over the tree line," and began a circling turn to the right. The airplane completed 360 degrees of the turn, and was 10-15 degrees nose high, when the nose dropped and the airplane descended at a 60 degree nose down attitude. The owner observed the accident from inside his house, which was located at the north end of the grass strip. He reported that the engine was running while the airplane was in the turn; however, he did not recall if the engine was running during the descent.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector's report, damage to the airplane was confined to the nose section of the airplane, and the leading edge portions of both wings. Examination of the engine did not reveal any mechanical deficiencies. Valve train continuity was observed and compression was obtained on all cylinders, when the crankshaft was rotated. The spark plugs were removed from the engine, were clean and appeared light gray in color. The magnetos displayed impact damage and could not be tested for spark.
Examination of the propeller revealed that one blade was broken aft in the opposite direction of rotation, and one blade was broken straight back towards the engine.
The FAA inspector reported that a sample of fuel was drained from the airplane's fuel strainer bowl after the accident; it was green in color, "cloudy," and resembled "muddy water." He stated the fuel "did not resemble 100LL fuel," and contained particles, which resembled paint chips, as well as additional unidentified debris. Fuel examined from the carburetor was "cloudier" than the fuel that was drained from the fuel drain.
According to the FAA inspector, the airplane was last fueled with 9 gallons of 100LL aviation gasoline on October 17, 1999, and there was no record of it being flown since that date.
According to a representative of the passenger, she had no memory of the flight.