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On February 18, 2001, about 2017 eastern standard time, a Beech 36, N7703R, registered to P S and W Enterprises, Inc., crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, near Tybee Island, Georgia, while on a Title 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight from Ormond Beach, Florida, to Williamston, North Carolina. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed. The airplane was destroyed and the private-rated pilot and three passengers received fatal injuries. The flight departed Ormond Beach, the same day, about 1917.
On February 17, 2001, the pilot and the three passengers had flown from Williamston, North Carolina, to Ormond Beach, Florida, under instrument flight rules. The airplane remained overnight at Ormond Beach Airport. On February 18, 2001, about 1853, the airplane was filled from a truck with 100 low lead fuel, taking 45.4 gallons. The fueling company stated they received no reports of problems from other pilots that received fuel from the truck used to fuel N7703R. Additionally, checks of the fuel truck and storage facility after the accident showed no evidence of contamination. (See Sunrise Aviation Statement).
On February 18, 2001, about 1918, the pilot of N7703R contacted the Daytona Beach, Florida, FAA Approach Control, and reported he was off Ormond Beach Airport and flying from Ormond Beach, Florida, to Williamston, North Carolina, and requested visual flight rules flight following. The flight continued north bound and made contact with the Jacksonville, Florida, FAA Approach Control and the FAA Jacksonville Air Route Traffic Control Center. At 2008, the pilot was told by the Jacksonville Center controller to contact the FAA Savannah Approach Control. Transcripts of communications show the pilot of N7703R made radio contact with the FAA Savannah Approach Control, at 2008:43, and reported he was level at 5,500 feet. The controller acknowledged and gave the pilot the Savannah Airport altimeter setting. No further transmissions were received from the flight. A co-worker of the pilot identified the voice on recorded communications as that of the pilot. (See NTSB ATC Specialist's Factual Report and Statement).
Recorded radar data from the FAA Savannah Approach Control shows that prior to the accident, the flight was level at 5,500 feet, flying on a heading of about 020 degrees, and maintaining a ground speed of 150 knots. At 2015.47, the flight descended to 5,400 feet, the heading changed to 044 degrees, and ground speed increased to 161 knots. At 2015:52, the flight was at 5,300 feet on a 048-degree heading, and ground speed was 160 knots. At 2015:57, the flight was at 5,100 feet on a 063-degree heading, and ground speed was 162 knots. At 2016:02, the flight was at 5,000 feet, on a 083-degree heading, and ground speed was 177 knots. At 2016:06, the flight was at 4,700 feet on a 107-degree heading, and ground speed was 193 knots. At 2016:11, the flight was at 4,300 feet on a 125-degree heading, and ground speed was 202 knots. This was the last radar return received from the flight. The flight was 157 degrees at 34.45 nautical miles from the radar antenna, located near the Savannah Airport. The coordinates for the last radar position were North 31 degrees 37 minutes 9 seconds and West 080 degrees 54 minutes 35 seconds. (See NTSB ATC Specialist's Factual Report and Recorded Radar Data).
Search and rescue efforts were initiated and on February 19, 2001, about 1330, debris from the airplane was located floating on the surface of the ocean. The debris was located about 10 statute miles southwest of the last radar position. (See NTSB ATC Specialist's Factual Report).
FAA records show the pilot held a private pilot certificate with airplane single engine land and instrument airplane ratings. The certificate was last issued on June 1, 1986. The pilot held a FAA third class medical certificate issued on June 28, 2000, with the limitation that the pilot must wear correcting lenses while exercising the privileges of the certificate. The pilot reported on the application for this medical certificate that he had 850 total flight hours. The pilot's co-workers reported they were unable to locate the pilot's logbook after the accident. A partner in the ownership of the airplane with the pilot reported the pilot kept his pilot logbook in the airplane. (See Witness Statement).
The airplane was a 1969 model Beech 36, serial number E-119, manufactured in November 1968. The pilot's partner in the ownership of the airplane reported the airplane was involved in a gear collapse incident during landing in November 1999, while the accident pilot was flying the airplane. Maintenance records show the engine was removed from the airplane and received a propeller strike inspection after the incident. The aircraft total time was 3,610.12 hours. Additionally, repairs were made to the airplane structure and landing gear doors. A Hartzell propeller and spinner were installed on the airplane at this time. On March 22, 2000, the airplane was repainted. On May 17, 2000, the airplanes altimeter, static system, and altitude reporting system was tested in accordance with the FAA-24 month requirement. On July 11, 2000, the aircraft's battery was changed, and on September 14, 2000, the right muffler was changed. On February 16, 2001, at aircraft total time 3,665.42, the airplane received an annual inspection. At the time of the accident the airplane had flown about 5 hours since this inspection. (See Aircraft Logbook Records).
Weight and Balance Information
At the time of the accident the airplane was estimated to weigh 3,384 pounds and the center of gravity was estimated to be at 82.48 inches aft of the datum. It was estimated the airplane contained 60 gallons of fuel at the time of the accident. The maximum allowable weight for the airplane is 3,600 pounds. The center of gravity limits at 3,384 pounds aircraft weight is 78.0 to 87.7 inches aft of the datum. (See Aircraft Logbook Records for empty weight information.)
Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The Savannah Airport, 1953, surface weather observation was winds 090 degrees at 7 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, sky clear, temperature 47 degrees F, dew point temperature 35 degrees F, altimeter setting 30.42 inches Hg. The sun had set at the accident site at 1814 and at the time of the accident there was no moon. (See Sun and Moon Data).
Wreckage and Impact Information
Debris recovered from the ocean by the Coast Guard consisted of four sets of seat cushions, an interior panel, and the lower strut, wheel, and tire from the nose landing gear. The nose tire was a Goodyear 500-5, serial No. 62761576. The seat cushions had been deformed by impact forces. Attempts to locate and recover the main wreckage of the airplane after the accident were unsuccessful. The seat cushions and interior panel recovered from the ocean were identified by the pilot's partner in ownership of the airplane and by a co-worker of the pilot who had flown in the airplane as being consistent with the colors and texture of the interior of N7703R. The logbook records did not have an entry reflecting the serial number of the nose landing gear tire.
Medical and Pathological Information
Some human remains were recovered by the Coast Guard along with the airplane debris. The remains were turned over to the coroners office at Savannah, Georgia, who in then turned the remains over the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation released the remains to a private laboratory hired by the pilot's and passenger's families for DNA testing and identification.