MIA01FA126
MIA01FA126

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On April 19, 2001, about 1633 eastern daylight time, a Piper PA-32-300, N4103R, registered to Skobin Import and Export, Inc., crashed in a wooded area near warehouses shortly after takeoff from the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and a visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan was filed for the international passenger/cargo flight. The airplane was destroyed by impact and a postcrash fire, and the private-rated pilot, sustained serious injuries. Four passengers were fatally injured. The flight originated about 4 minutes earlier.

The airplane was fueled before departure; during fueling a witness noted postal crates and miscellaneous packages next to the airplane. The person who fueled the airplane reported seeing the pilot load the last of the cargo into the airplane. Sometime after fueling, the passengers were taken to the airplane; a person who escorted them reported seeing cargo in the left rear portion of the cabin. A copy of the statement from the person who observed the cargo location in the airplane and from the person who noted the postal crates are an attachment to this report.

According to a transcription of communications with the Fort Lauderdale Air Traffic Control Tower, the pilot contacted flight data/clearance delivery at 1615:07, then ground control at 1625:14, and was cleared to taxi to runway 9L, which was acknowledged. At 1627:05, the pilot contacted local control (tower), and advised that the flight was holding short in sequence for runway 9L. The controller advised the pilot that a twin engine general aviation airplane would be departing first, then she would be departing. At 1628:42, the controller advised the accident pilot to taxi into position and hold, which was acknowledged. At 1629:15, the controller advised the pilot to maintain visual separation with the previously departed airplane, gave the wind as 070 degrees at 14 knots, and cleared the flight for takeoff. At 1629:25, the pilot acknowledged the takeoff clearance and advised the controller that the flight was "...rolling." Review of a certified copy of the voice tape revealed the flightcrew of a U.S. Airways flight was advised by the tower controller to position and hold immediately after the accident pilot advised the tower controller that the flight was rolling. The transcription of communications further indicates that at 1630:51, the controller stated, "cherokee zero three romeo tower are you experiencing any difficulty", to which the pilot replied at 1631:03, "...slightly uh i may have to circle." There were no further recorded transmissions from the accident pilot. The controller then advised the U.S. Airways flightcrew, "...i'm not going to get you out that cherokees having a little bit of difficulty", to which one of the flightcrew members responded, "yeah we noticed...."

A flightcrew member of the U.S. Airways flight reported that the takeoff roll seemed to be unusually long and was longer than expected for an airplane of that type. The flightcrew members did not notice the point of rotation but both reported the airplane was climbing "slowly" and never climb higher than 300 feet above ground level (agl). Both flightcrew members also reported that during the climbout, the airplane was observed to drift to the left, and one reported the airplane was noted to then begin a nose level descent before losing sight of the airplane. Both reported there was no smoke trailing the airplane during the takeoff roll or during the climbout. One of the flightcrew members reported seeing the wings rocking during the climbout. Copies of NTSB Record of Conversation forms are an attachment to this report.

The tower controller in contact with the accident pilot reported to the Federal Aviation Administration inspector-in-charge (FAA-IIC) that the accident flight's takeoff roll began from the beginning of runway 9L. The airplane became airborne at approximately the "Delta" intersection, and the aircraft was porpoising and the wings rocking at the "Quebec" intersection. The controller reported that the airplane never climbed higher than 100 feet, and he contacted the pilot after he saw the aircraft was having "difficulty." The controller reported that at that point, there was runway remaining. A copy of the FAA Record of conversation with the controller and a copy of the controller's "Personnel Statement" are attachments to this report.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) employee who was located in a building on the airport reported he first noticed the airplane when it was 6,000 feet down the 9,000-foot runway, and estimated that the airplane was 80-100 feet agl. He stated, "The aircraft was flying with unusual characteristics. It was much slower [than] what I would have considered normal. It also was maintaining a high angle of attack and was slowly pitching up and down. The aircraft was not gaining altitude rapidly." He further stated the flight continued eastbound and when it cleared the east end of the runway, the airplane was at an estimated 230 feet. He noted that the airplane was in a left bank and lost sight of the airplane. A copy of his statement and diagram are an attachment to this report.

Several witnesses who were located near the departure end of the runway reported the airplane was only between 100-200 feet agl when it passed their position. One witness reported that the engine sound was steady but didn't sound "fast." Another witnesses who was at gate 101 (located east and north of the runway), reported the airplane appeared to be having trouble gaining altitude and was fishtailing left to right. He also reported the airplane seemed to "porpoise" up and down, and the engine sounded like it was at full throttle. He did not perceive of an engine malfunction. Several witnesses near the accident site reported hearing an engine indication described as, "stall out", or "sputtering noise" immediately before the airplane was observed to pitch nose down. One witness who was inside a building located about 100 yards south of the crash site and who has 35 years experience as an automobile mechanic reported he never saw the airplane but heard an airplane flying low; the engine sounded as if it were operating at full throttle. He reported he did not hear the engine missing or sputtering. Another witness also located approximately 100 yards from the accident site observed the airplane pitch nose-up, and the airplane banked to the left in an approximate 45-degree angle of bank. The airplane then pitched nose down and left wing low. He reported hearing the engine revving up and down (surging) immediately before the crash. Personnel from the warehouses rescued the pilot and attempted to rescue the passengers, but were unable. A postcrash fire was extinguished by local fire departments. The witness statements are an attachment to this report.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot is the holder of a private pilot certificate with airplane single and multi-engine land ratings. According to FAA Integrated Safety Information System (ISIS) database records, she was issued a warning notice for cited Federal Aviation Regulation violations pertaining to operation of a U.S. registered airplane on May 4, 2000, in Nassau, Bahamas. The records indicate that an FAA inspector performed a ramp inspection of the airplane and noted it was full of unsecured cargo, and the pilot was unable to produce an aircraft flight manual. The records indicate the pilot had no previous accidents or incidents. Excerpts from her airman's file and the ISIS database records are attachments to this report.

She was issued a third class medical certificate with no limitations on November 4, 1999. On the application for that certificate she indicated a total flight time of 1,008.1 hours and listed her occupation as manager with Van Tran Aviation Ltc.

The pilot did not provide flight time or recency of experience information. According to United States Customs Service Private Aircraft Enforcement System Arrival Report records, the accident pilot flew 27 times as pilot-in-command into the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport between January 1, 2001, and the accident date.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The airplane was last inspected in accordance with an annual inspection on November 14, 2000. At that time, the recorded total time in service was 8,499.9 hours. The engine was last overhauled on September 19, 1997, and installed in the airplane on October 17, 1997. The engine received a, "Continued Time Repair/Propeller Strike" inspection on May 18, 1999; the engine was approved for return to service and installed in the airplane on November 13, 1999. The engine received a second, "Propeller Strike/Continued Time Repair" inspection on May 23, 2000. The engine again was approved for return to service and was installed in the airplane with a zero time propeller on August 14, 2000. The engine oil and oil filter were changed the day before the accident. At the time of the accident the engine had accumulated approximately 1,347.6 hours since overhaul. A copy of the engine logbook is an attachment to this report.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

A special weather observation taken at the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport about 1 minute after the accident indicates that the wind was from 080 degrees at 13 knots with gusts to 19 knots. The visibility was 10 statute miles, few clouds existed at 4,700 feet, broken clouds existed at 6,000 feet, the temperature and dew point were 24 and 12 degrees Celsius respectively, and the altimeter setting was 30.23 inHg.

COMMUNICATIONS

The pilot was in contact with the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT); a transcription of communications is an attachment to this report.

AIRPORT INFORMATION

The runway used by the pilot is 9,000 feet long by 150 feet wide, and is grooved asphalt.

As discussed in the "History of Flight" section of this report, the tower controller reported the airplane began the takeoff roll at the beginning of runway 9L, and became airborne about the "Delta" intersection. Review of an airport chart revealed the "Delta" intersection is located approximately 2,625 feet from the approach threshold of runway 9L. The calculations do not include the length of displaced runway surface. The distance from the "Quebec" intersection (point where the tower controller noted that the airplane appeared to have "difficulty") to the departure threshold was calculated to be approximately 3,312 feet.


WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane crashed into a wooded area adjacent to warehouses (see photographs 1 and 2); the crash site was located at 26 degrees 04.919 minutes North latitude and 080 degrees, 07.959 minutes West longitude. That location when plotted was located 045 degrees and .47 nautical mile from the departure end of runway 9L.

Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane collided with trees then the ground and came to rest 61 feet from the first observed tree impact point. A segment of left wing remained elevated in a tree near the initial tree impact point. The energy path through the trees was oriented on a magnetic heading of 020 degrees. The airplane came to rest nearly inverted on a magnetic heading of 039 degrees; all components necessary to sustain flight were found in the immediate vicinity of the accident site (see photograph 3). Fire damage to an area of trees measuring approximately 20 by 30 feet was noted to the left of the energy path beginning approximately 20 feet from the initial tree impact point. Fire damage was also noted in the area where the airplane came to rest, and forward of where the airplane came to rest. Browning of tree leaves was noted forward of the left wing segment in the tree. Fallen trees were noted in the cockpit area of the airplane. Examination of the forward baggage compartment revealed no evidence of a placard; extensive fire damage in the area was noted. Cargo that was found either inside or outside the airplane was documented as to description and location then retained for further investigation (see photographs 5, 6, 7, 10, 11 and 16, and Tests and Research section of this report). Several tree limbs exhibiting 45-degree cuts were located (see photograph 9). One of the tree limbs approximately 5.5 inches in diameter exhibited a 45-degree cut approximately 3 inches deep; red colored paint was noted on the cut surface. The cut was located approximately 18 feet 5 inches agl. Fifteen discharged portable fire extinguishers were noted at the accident site. During recovery of the airplane, an estimated 5 gallons of fuel leaked from the left main fuel tank into the ground.

Examination of the airplane revealed both wings were separated and exhibited fire damage; the left wing major structure was comprised of two sections; the inboard section consisting of the main landing gear and flap segment was separated near the wing root (see photograph 4). The leading edge of the left wing exhibited two semi-circular indentations located approximately 7 feet and 11.5 feet outboard from the wing root, respectively. The auxiliary fuel tank of the left wing was separated. The left main fuel tank cap and both auxiliary fuel tank caps were of the vented type; the right main fuel tank cap was not located. No obstructions were noted in the recovered fuel caps. No obstructions were noted in the primary fuel vent of the left main fuel tank. The right main fuel tank was consumed by fire; the auxiliary fuel tank was separated. The cockpit and cabin areas were damaged by fire. Fire consumed the fuselage bottom skin from the firewall aft to approximately 6.5 feet forward of the tailcone bulkhead assembly. Impact damage to the left horizontal stabilator was noted. Examination of the flight control cables for roll revealed no evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction. Stabilator and rudder flight control continuity was confirmed from near each control surface to the cockpit. The fuel selector was found in the "off" position; the rod between the valve and the selector handle was bent. The fuel selector valve was retained for further examination. The auxiliary fuel pump was electrically checked and found to operate (see photograph 12). The mixture and throttle controls were connected at the servo fuel injector. The engine that remained attached to the firewall was removed for further examination.

Examination of the engine revealed crankshaft, camshaft, and valve train continuity. Suction and compression was noted in all cylinders during rotation of the crankshaft though the No. 5 cylinder appeared weaker than the rest. Examination of the area surrounding the No. 5 cylinder revealed evidence of high heat damage to the oil sump beneath that cylinder. Removal of the No. 5 cylinder from the engine revealed normal combustion deposits on the piston dome; the rings were not failed and the ring gaps were not aligned. Leak check of the intake and exhaust valves revealed slight leakage from the exhaust valve and very slight leakage from the intake valve. Both magnetos were destroyed by fire, the hold down clamps of both magnetos were in place and secured; the coils of both magnetos were separated but recovered. The rotating magnet of the left magneto was noted to rotate with rotation of the propeller; the rotating magnet of the right magneto would intermittently rotated with rotation of the propeller. The engine-driven fuel pump could not be rotated by hand, the driven shaft was not failed. The snap ring that secures the shaft to the pump body was partially out of position. Examination of the muffler revealed no obstructions of the outlet; the internal baffle exhibited damage inline with the exterior damage. The servo fuel injector, distributor valve, injector lines, fuel injector nozzles, engine-driven fuel pump, propeller governor, and spark plugs were removed for further examination or testing.

Visual examination of the three-bladed propeller revealed all blades were in position but loose in the hub. The leading edge of the No. 1 propeller blade was twisted towards low pitch and the blade was bent aft approximately 45 degrees. The leading edge of the No. 2 propeller blade was twisted towards low pitch and the blade was bent aft approximately 80 degrees; the blade tip was curled aft approximately 210 degrees beginning at blade station 38. The leading edge of the No. 3 propeller blade exhibited a slight twist towards low pitch and the blade was bent aft approximately 15 degrees. The propeller was retained for further examination.

Examination of the propeller revealed no evidence of fretting on the propeller flange. Disassembly of the propeller revealed all three link blocks were broken. Both actuating pin bolts of the No. 1 propeller blade were sheared at the blade pin mounting face; the dowel pin was bent towards the leading edge of the propeller. The actuating pin assembly of the No. 2 propeller blade was loosely attached; impact damage to the pin was noted and the threads in the butt end of the blade were damaged. The actuating pin of the No. 3 propeller blade was separated from the blade; impact damage to the pin was noted and the threads in the butt end of the blade were completely stripped. Impact damage was noted to the butt end of all three propeller blades; though to a lesser extent on the No. 2 propeller blade. No evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction of the propeller was noted.

Bench testing of the propeller governor revealed no evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction. Removal of the pressure relief valve from the governor revealed evidence of slight wear on three of the coils.

Examination of the servo fuel injector revealed heat damage which precluded bench testing. Disassembly of the servo revealed that the fuel and air diaphragms were destroyed by fire; the fuel diaphragm stem was in position and was not failed. No preimpact mechanical failure or malfunction was noted. Examination of the distributor valve revealed the diaphragm was destroyed by fire. Examination of the fuel injector lines revealed no blockage. Examination of the fuel injector nozzles revealed all contained an insert; bench testing of the nozzles revealed Nos. 1, 2, and 3 flowed within limits in terms of pounds per hour (pph). Nozzle No. 4 flowed 2.2 pph, and nozzle Nos. 5 and 6 flowed .2 pph, less than specification. Of the three nozzles that were out of limits, nozzle Nos. 4 and 5 exhibited impact damage. All nozzles except the No. 5 cylinder nozzle passed the air check; the air screen of that nozzle was bent, and the screen contained contaminant. Bench testing of all spark plugs revealed all produced spark when tested at 80psi.

Examination of the fuel selector valve revealed heat damage which precluded bench testing. Resolidified aluminum was noted at one of the inlet fittings on the valve; the fuel selector could not be rotated by hand. The fuel selector was disassembled which revealed the filter ring was destroyed. Examination of the selector plate revealed two separate areas on the sealing surface side of the plate where circular marks were noted. One of the areas had four circular marks indicative of the fuel selector valve being in the "off" position. The other area where three circular marks were noted was indicative of the fuel selector valve being positioned to one of the four fuel tanks. A score line was noted on the sooted surface of the selector plate. No evidence of rotational scoring was noted on the shaft or on the inside diameter of the valve housing, and no obstructions other than the previously mentioned resolidified aluminum was noted from the remaining fittings into the valve body.

Examination of the engine driven fuel pump revealed the unit was heat damaged which precluded bench testing. Disassembly of the pump revealed evidence of normal wear on all teeth of the drive coupling, and on the thrust plate. The rotor journal diameter measured .6237 inch; new limits are .623 to .624 inch. All four rotor slots measured .127 inch; new limits are .125 to .127 inch. One of the blades measured 1.090 inch, the other blade measured 1.0895 inch; serviceable limits minimum are 1.089 inch. No evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction was noted.


MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL

Michael D. Bell, M.D., Deputy Chief Medical Examiner of the Broward County Medical Examiner's Office performed postmortem examinations of the four passengers. The cause of death of all was listed as fire injuries and smoke inhalation following the airplane accident.

The FAA Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory (CAMI) performed toxicological analysis of the specimens of the pilot that were obtained when she was admitted to the first hospital. The result of analysis by CAMI of specimens of the pilot was negative for ethanol. The results were positive for carbon monoxide (16 percent saturation), cyanide (0.64 ug/ml), and pentobarbital (0.305 ug/ml in serum and 0.351 ug/ml in blood). Toxicological analysis of specimens of the right front seat passenger was also performed by CAMI. The results were positive for carbon monoxide (40 percent saturation), and cyanide (1.54 ug/ml).

The Broward County Medical Examiner's Office performed toxicological analysis of specimens of the four passengers. The results for carbon monoxide saturation for the right front seat, middle row right seat, middle row left seat, and aft row right seat passengers were 48 percent, 47 percent, 62 percent, and 23 percent, respectively.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

According to the person who fueled the airplane, both "tip" tanks and the right main fuel tank were topped off. The fuel level in the left main fuel tank was to a "tab." The fueler reported pointing out to the pilot the fuel quantity in the fuel tanks, and both looked into a couple of the tanks. A copy of the statement from the fueler is an attachment to this report.

A sample of fuel from the fuel truck that refueled the accident airplane was taken for analysis. The results indicate that the submitted specimen met the specifications for aviation gasoline. Sometime after the accident, the owner of the accident airplane fueled a Cessna 182 from the same facility that fueled the accident airplane; he did not report any discrepancies related to the fuel. A copy of the fuel analysis report is an attachment to this report.

Cargo that was recovered from the forward baggage compartment consisted of four bags of low-fire ceramic slip material each containing remnant of material (see photograph 16), cardboard material (the remains of cardboard material was marked "C and F", with a Hialeah, Florida, address). Additional cargo recovered from the forward baggage compartment consisted of a cargo net, mail, magazines (see photograph 5), a propeller lock, a portable radio, a cable with black insulation, and a pair of boots. Cargo consisting of automobile parts, a desktop computer, computer manuals, a computer keyboard and mouse, a medium sized duffle bag, a four to five man life raft, four personal life preservers, a stroller, mail, and magazines were found in various places in the cockpit and cabin. Cargo consisting of a white colored styrofoam type cooler containing food products, and a large duffle bag containing clothing were found outside the airplane in close proximity to the cabin (see photographs 10 and 11). A luggage tag embossed with "Air Canada" was affixed to the duffle bag. All cargo with the exception of the white cooler and duffle bag was placed and remained in air-conditioned storage until dry (see photograph 18).

The airplane owner reported to the NTSB approximately 1 week after the accident the ceramic material on-board may have been for an individual in the Bahamas. The individual in the Bahamas verbally advised the FAA-IIC that the 4 boxes/bags of the ceramic slip material were for her and it was cheaper to ship the clay on the accident airplane than with a commercial operator; she provided the name Miami Clay Company. It was later determined that on the day of the accident, four prepackaged boxes/bags of low slip ceramic material were purchased from Miami Clay Company, Inc., located in Miami, Florida. A copy of the FAA record of conversation with the individual in the Bahamas, a record of visit at Miami Clay Company, and the receipt from Miami Clay Company, Inc., are attachments to this report.

The cooler and duffle bag were weighed using a Broward County Sheriff's Department scale that had been previously inspected and found to be accurate (a copy of the inspection record is an attachment to this report). The cooler and food products combined weighed 25.0 pounds. The duffle bag containing clothing that was completely dry was found to weigh 47.0 pounds.

An exemplar box/bag of "low fire ceramic slip" material prepackaged and ready for purchase was weighed at the distributor's facility and found to weigh 46.5 pounds (see photograph 19). The cargo recovered from the forward baggage compartment was found to weigh 243.75 pounds. That weight excluded the actual weight of the recovered 4 bags containing remnant of "low fire ceramic slip" material, but included the weight of an exemplar box/bag of "low fire ceramic slip" material ready for purchase, multiplied by the number of bags recovered. Cargo recovered from the cockpit, cabin, and outside the airplane was found to weigh 211.25 pounds. Two documents that lists the weight of the cargo recovered from the forward baggage compartment and from the cabin section are an attachment to this report. The scale used to determine the weights listed above was calibrated/certified for the NTSB (a copy of the scale calibration/certification record is an attachment to this report).

Weight and balance calculations were performed post-accident using the latest weight and balance sheet dated September 22, 1997, which was found in the wreckage. The sheet contained an inked entry showing a new empty weight due to the installation of the 3-bladed propeller (see photograph 15). The calculations were also performed using the weight of the pilot listed on her last medical application, the weights of the passengers listed in the autopsy reports, the known amount of usable fuel on board, and the weight of the cargo found in the forward baggage compartment. Since the preimpact location of cargo in the cabin was not determined, for calculation purposes all remaining cargo was placed in the aft baggage compartment. At the time of engine start based on the above listed information, the airplane was calculated to weigh approximately 3,410 pounds and the center of gravity location was approximately 87.12 inches aft of datum. Based on the estimated fuel consumption for taxi, the airplane weight at the time of takeoff was calculated to be approximately 3,392 pounds and the center of gravity location was approximately 87.07 inches aft of datum. Based on the estimated fuel consumption for the accident flight, the airplane weight at the time of the accident was calculated to be approximately 3,384 pounds and the center of gravity location was approximately 87.06 inches aft of datum. As previously mentioned in the "History of Flight" section of this report, a witness noted cargo in the left rear portion of the cabin. Further weight and balance calculations determined that with placement of some of the cargo in the cabin instead of all being placed in the aft baggage compartment, the center of gravity location moved further forward than the original calculated amount. A copy of the weight and balance calculations is an attachment to this report.

The "Owner's Handbook" and the Type Certificate Data Sheet indicates that the maximum weight for the forward baggage compartment is 100 pounds, and the gross weight of the airplane is 3,400 pounds. The type certificate data sheet indicates at gross weight, the forward center of gravity limit is 91.4 inches aft of datum. According to the airplane flight manual which is an attachment to this report, the forward center of gravity limit at the weight at the time of the accident is approximately 91.0 inches aft of datum. Excerpts from the Owner's Handbook and Type Certificate Data Sheet are attachments to this report.

The New Piper Aircraft Company, Inc., was requested by the NTSB to comment on the flight characteristics of the airplane when operating at the calculated weight and center of gravity location. The company would not comment on the flight characteristics based on the airplane being operated outside of the established center of gravity envelope.

FAA Advisory Circular (AC) 61-23C, titled, "Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge", has a chapter that discusses weight and balance and airplane performance. The chapter states in part, "Loading in a nose-heavy condition causes problems in controlling and raising the nose, especially during takeoff and landing", and, "It may be possible to maintain stable and safe cruising flight if the CG is located ahead of the prescribed forward limit; but during landing which is one of the most critical phases of flight, exceeding the forward CG limit may cause problems." Excerpts from the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge are an attachment to this report.

As previously mentioned in the "Airport Information" section of this report, the ATC controller noted the airplane became airborne at a point approximately 2,625 feet from the approach threshold of runway 9L. About the time of the accident, the density altitude was approximately 696 feet. Using the takeoff distance charts found in the airplane "Owner's Handbook", with 10 degrees of flaps extended and the notes of the chart, the ground run was determined to be approximately 1,100 feet, and 1,600 feet to clear a 50-foot obstacle. Using the takeoff chart for 25 degrees of flaps extended and the notes of the chart, the ground run was determined to be approximately 1,000 feet, and 1,400 feet to clear a 50-foot obstacle. The distances above are for an airplane within weight and center of gravity limits. The rate of climb versus density altitude chart indicates the rate of climb would have been approximately 1,000 feet per minute. A note in the chart specifies gross weight. The density altitude calculation document and excerpts from the handbook are attachments to this report.

The NTSB Recorders Laboratory located in Washington, DC, performed analysis of voice transmissions from the pilot to the ATCT. The results indicates that, "...none of the radio transmissions contained any sound signatures that could be associated with either the rotating propeller or the aircraft's engine." A copy of the "Sound Spectrum Study" is an attachment to this report.

The pilot received a license from The Grand Bahama Port Authority, Limited, to operate a mail courier and messenger service. She had "Mailbox Service Agreement" forms with at least one individual and one company. The individual and company personnel reportedly paid her a yearly fee to transport mail, etc., from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to the Bahamas, and vice versa. Additionally, an individual in the Bahamas advised the FAA-IIC that a computer that was on-board was being shipped to him and he planned on paying the accident pilot to ship it. He also reported paying a yearly fee for the shipping of mail, etc. A copy of the statement and service agreement with the owner of the computer is an attachment to this report. Additionally, a copy of NTSB Record of Conversation with an individual with The Grand Bahama Port Authority is an attachment to this report.

According to a postal inspector with the U.S. Postal Service, the accident pilot did not have a contract with the U.S. Postal Service to carry U.S. mail, and the U.S. Postal Service does not sanction her. His investigation shows that she was bringing mail to be deposited into the U.S. Postal System from the Bahamas, and mail to the Bahamas from the United States that was previously delivered at a commercial mail-receiving agency in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The inspector also stated that the pilot did not violate any U.S. Postal Service Regulations by transporting the mail. A copy of NTSB Record of Conversation with the postal inspector is an attachment to this report.

According to FAA personnel, the pilot was operating as a 14 CFR Part 135 air carrier without the proper authorization to do so. Additionally, the pilot carried property for compensation or hire contrary to 14 CFR Part 119.5(g).

ADDITIONAL DATA

The NTSB did not receive the NTSB Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (6120.1/2) that was mailed with a letter to the attorney representing the pilot and airplane owner. Copies of the letter sent to the attorney with the 6120.1/2, and a record of conversation with the attorney are attachments to this report. The NTSB did receive a statement from the airplane owner that was requested in the letter sent with the 6120.1/2. The NTSB requested in writing with the attorney to interview the pilot. The attorney stated verbally that he would make her available for an interview if the NTSB granted her immunity from prosecution, or if presented with a subpoena. The NTSB has no statutory authority to grant immunity from prosecution, and did not issue a subpoena; therefore, no interview was performed.

An individual in the Bahamas advised the FAA-IIC that the accident pilot contacted him and said he did not have to talk to the FAA if an inquiry was made. The pilot also advised the Bahamian individual to contact her attorney if the FAA contacted him. A copy of the FAA Record of Conversation with the individual is an attachment to this report.

The wreckage minus the retained components was released to Charles Maynard, an insurance adjuster with Sample International Aviation, Inc., on July 5, 2001. All retained components were also released to Charles Maynard, on May 17, 2002.

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