FTW01FA095
FTW01FA095

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On April 7, 2001, approximately 1250 central daylight time, a Cessna 190 single-engine, tail wheel-equipped airplane, N1055D, was destroyed when it impacted terrain near Lurton, Arkansas. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot. The non-instrument rated private pilot and his passenger sustained fatal injuries. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and a visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan was filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The cross-country flight originated from the Cook Airfield, Derby, Kansas, approximately 1100, and was destined for Lakeland, Florida. The VFR flight plan listed Tupelo, Mississippi, as an intermediate fuel stop.

Review of the flight's radar data and communications with air traffic control (ATC) revealed that the airplane was flying at 7,500 feet, and at 1223:34, the pilot requested a lower altitude due to haze. The flight then descended to 5,200 feet. The pilot requested another descent at 1238:30, stating that "I'm starting to get above the clouds, I'd like to go down to 3,500." The controller informed the pilot that they would not have radar contact with the airplane below 5,500 feet. The pilot stated "okay, I'll stay up here on top then...it's just kind of hazy. I'll stay right here, 5,500." From 1245:48 until the last radar return at 1246:49, the radar data depicted the airplane in a right corkscrewing ground track. The last altitude return was at 1246:24, depicting the airplane at 5,100 feet.

According to a witness, who was located in the vicinity of the accident site, he heard the sound of a "motor speed up," and heard the aircraft clear a ridge and impact the ground. After the impact, he saw the "flash of a fire ball." The witness added that it was "too foggy" to see the airplane. According to local residents, the weather was foggy and misty at the time of the accident.

ATC reported the loss of radar contact to the Arkansas Civil Air Patrol (CAP). The Arkansas CAP initiated a search for the missing airplane on the afternoon of the 7th and located the aircraft on April 9, 2001.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot was issued a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating on October 30, 1999. The pilot was issued a third class medical certificate on April 27, 2000, without any limitations. According to the medical application, the pilot had accumulated 369 hours at the time of the examination. The pilot's logbook was not located and it was estimated by his family that he had accumulated a total of 475 hours of flight time, of which 150 hours were in the same make and model as the accident airplane. It is unknown how much instrument or simulated instrument flight training the pilot had accumulated.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The 1951-model airplane was manufactured by Cessna Aircraft Company, and was powered by a Jacobs radial engine. The aircraft maintenance records were not located. The mechanic, who performed the last annual inspection on the airplane (April 1, 2001) provided the following information concerning the aircraft:

Aircraft Total Time: 2,744.0 Hours
Engine Time Since Major Overhaul: 98.1 Hours
Propeller Time Since Major Overhaul: 1,004.6 Hours

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

At 0653, the pilot obtained a weather briefing from the Wichita Flight Service Station (FSS). The weather briefer informed the pilot that through central Arkansas the clouds were 3,000 feet scattered and that Harrison, Arkansas (located approximately 27 miles north of the accident site), was reporting overcast clouds at 3,700 feet and unrestricted visibilities. The weather briefer also informed the pilot about turbulence along the pilot's route of flight and read a pilot report, which indicated that 70 miles northwest of Little Rock, Arkansas, an airplane had experienced a "smooth ride" above the tops of the clouds, which were reported at 7,000 feet. The forecasted weather across northern Arkansas until 1200, called for broken clouds at 3,000 feet with tops to 10,000 feet. After 1200, the forecast for that area called for scattered clouds at 4,000 feet and "strong wind" with "gusts up to 30 knots." The winds aloft over Little Rock, at 6,000 feet, were reported from 240 degrees at 45 knots.

At 1253, the Boone County Airport (Harrison, Arkansas) reported the wind from 250 degrees at 14 knots gusting to 23 knots, visibility 8 statute miles, clear sky, temperature 27 degrees Celsius, dew point 13 degrees Celsius, altimeter setting of 29.89 inches of mercury.

At 1253, the Russellville Regional Airport, (located approximately 30 miles south of the accident site) reported the wind from 240 degrees at 9 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, overcast clouds at 3,100 feet agl, temperature 24 degrees Celsius, dew point 18 degrees Celsius, altimeter setting of 29.96 inches of mercury.

A pilot report, issued at 1219, between Russellville and Fort Smith, Arkansas, indicated that at 1,500 feet there was continuous light turbulence and occasional moderate turbulence. In addition, the pilot report indicated that the visibility in the Russellville area was 4 to 5 miles.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The aircraft wreckage was distributed along both sides of a heavily wooded ridge line. A 5-foot section of the right outboard wing and a 7-foot section of the left outboard wing came to rest on new growth trees on the north side of the ridge approximately 0.2 miles from the main wreckage. The outboard wing fracture surfaces were consistent with overload failure. The fuselage, along with the inboard sections of both wings, impacted trees and terrain on the south side of the ridge on a magnetic heading of 130 degrees, creating an initial impact crater approximately 6 feet wide, 12 feet long, and 2 feet deep. Approximately 75 feet northwest of the main impact crater were freshly cut trees. Adjacent to the trees was a 2-foot wing section that displayed a circular impact mark, equal in size to the tree, in its leading edge. The tops of the cut and broken trees came to rest in the impact crater. An inclinometer was used to determine the angle made with the cut trees and the impact crater. The descent angle was determined to be 50 degrees. On the left side of the crater was a 5-foot section of wing, which was accordion crushed aft. Inside the impact crater were pieces of engine valve springs and the propeller governor.

The propeller and engine came to rest approximately 12 feet from the impact crater. The propeller remained attached to the engine crankshaft; however, all of the cylinders were found separated from the engine. One piston and connecting rod remained attached to the engine crankshaft. The engine data plate was not located during the investigation. The fuselage came to rest approximately 40 feet from the impact crater. The empennage remained intact with the exception of the vertical stabilizer and the rudder. The empennage came to rest on its right side and was found twisted and fire damaged. The vertical stabilizer was found laying adjacent to the horizontal stabilizer and displayed a circular indentation on its left side. The cockpit was destroyed by impact forces and fire damage. Flight control continuity could not be confirmed due to the extent of the damage; however, the flight control separations were consistent with overload failures. The attitude indicator was located in the wreckage and it displayed a nose low, left wing low attitude. The heading indicator was destroyed and its gyro rotor was found among the wreckage. The rotor displayed impact damage around its circumference. The wet type vacuum pump was found separated from the engine accessory case and was disassembled by the NTSB investigator-in-charge. The vanes were found intact and appeared to display an even wear. The internal components of the wet vacuum pump were coated with oil and its bearing rotated freely.

PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy on the pilot was conducted by the Arkansas State Crime Lab. Toxicology tests on the pilot detected in muscle tissue: 74 mg/dl of ethanol, 4 mg/dl of acetaldehyde, 17 mg/dl of n-butanol, 1mg/dl of n-propanol, 0.048 ug/ml of benzoylecgonine, and unquantified amounts of ecgonine ethyl ester and ecgonine methyl ester. The alcohol and other volatiles may be a result of post-mortem production; however, the benzolylecgonine and ecgonine esters found are metabolites of cocaine. It could not be determined when the pilot may have used cocaine.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The wreckage was released to the owner's representative on July 17, 2001.






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