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On June 16, 2001, about 1630 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172, N7106T, was substantially damaged during takeoff from Onyon Airport (VT43), Newfane, Vermont. The certificated private pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight destined for North Windham Airport (3N3), Londonderry, Vermont. No flight plan was filed for the personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.
According to witnesses, the pilot flew to VT43, and dropped off two passengers. He then departed on runway 15, a 2000-foot long, 40-foot wide turf runway. The airplane flew approximately 10 feet above a tractor that was mowing the lawn on the adjacent property. The airplane then banked left, made a "half-circle" turn, and "nosed in."
Another witness stated that he was approximately 1/2 mile from the accident site. He did not see the airplane, but heard the takeoff. The witness said that he heard the engine operating with no sputtering. He did not hear the engine for 1-2 seconds, and then heard the "crunch" of the impact. The witness could not be sure if the engine stopped for the 1-2 seconds, or the airplane turned away from his position.
The accident occurred during the hours of daylight; located about 43 degrees 01.03 minutes north latitude, and 72 degrees 39.05 minutes west longitude
The pilot held a private pilot certificate, with a rating for single engine land airplane. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) second class medical certificate was issued on October 24, 2000.
The pilot's logbook was not recovered. However, he reported a total flight experience of 1,350 hours on the application for his most recent medical certificate.
The most recent annual inspection of the airplane was performed on December 4, 2000. At the time of the accident, the airplane had a total flight time of 2,364.2 hours, and the engine had accumulated 152.2 hours of operation since overhaul on May 26, 1998.
The reported weather at an airport approximately 15 miles away, at 1635 was: wind from 260 degrees at 7 knots; visibility 10 miles; few clouds at 4,200 feet, scattered clouds at 4,900 feet; temperature 88 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 68 degrees; altimeter 29.93 inches Hg.
The wreckage was examined at the accident site on June 17 and 18, 2001. It was located in a field behind a lodge, about 410 feet above mean sea level. All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the scene. The wreckage was intact, inverted, and oriented about a heading of 180 degrees. A strong odor of fuel was present at the site, consistent with automobile gasoline. Some of the grass in the vicinity of the wreckage was discolored. Other than a single impact crater, there were no ground scars.
Flight control continuity was confirmed from all control surfaces to the control column. The elevator trim tab was found in a 5-degree nose down position, and trim continuity was confirmed to the cockpit. Both fuel tanks were compromised, but still contained fuel. The fuel was clear and absent of debris. A few drops of water were found in the carburetor and gascolator. However, no water was found in the tanks. Fuel system continuity was confirmed from the carburetor to the tanks.
The left wing exhibited impact damage along the leading edge, which was more severe at the wingtip. The wing flap was broken, partially extended, and the inboard section near the fuselage was folded upward. The aileron was in an approximate neutral position. The right wing also exhibited impact damage at the leading edge, but less severe than the left wing. The right flap was broken and partially extended, and the aileron was approximately neutral. The fuselage was buckled, partially separated about midspan, and twisted to the right. The horizontal and vertical stabilizers exhibited little or no damage.
The cockpit area was crushed, but intact. The flap handle corresponded to a flaps retracted position. The throttle and mixture were in, and the carburetor heat was off. The magnetos were found on "Both", and the fuel selector was found on "Both". The lap belts were intact, and the airplane was not equipped with shoulder harnesses.
One propeller blade exhibited little damage, and the other was bent aft with some chordwise scraping. The valve covers and the top spark plugs were removed from the engine for inspection. The spark plugs appeared light to dark gray in color, and their electrodes were intact and absent of debris. The propeller was rotated by hand, and crankshaft and camshaft continuity was confirmed. Valve train continuity was confirmed, and thumb compression was attained on all cylinders. When rotated by hand, both magnetos produced spark at all leads.
The oil filter and suction screen were removed for inspection; they were both absent of debris. The carburetor was removed for inspection, and the floats were found intact. The stall warning horn was removed for testing. When the horn was secured to a battery, it sounded continuously.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Burlington, Vermont.
Toxicological testing was conducted at the FAA toxicology Accident research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. According to the toxicology report:
"0.104 (ug/ml, ug/g) HYDROCODONE detected in Blood
0.017 (ug/mL, ug/g) DIHYDROCODEINE detected in Blood
0.23 (ug/ml, ug/g) CHLORPHENIRAMINE detected in Blood
0.088 (ug/ml, ug/g) MORPHINE detected in Urine
1.655 (ug/mL, ug/g) HYDROMORPHONE detected in Urine
5.333 (ug/ml, ug/g) HYDROCODONE detected in Urine
0.909 (ug/mL, ug/g) DIHYDROCODEINE detected in Urine
CHLORPHENIRAMINE present in Urine"
According to the Drug Handbook for Heath Professionals, Hydrocodone was a narcotic painkiller used for the control of moderate to severe pain. The side affects were decreased blood pressure, increased sweating, flushed face, wheezing, dizziness, drowsiness, hypotension, and feeling unusually tired. Additionally, the Handbook warned of drug dependence following prolonged usage.
According to the Mosby Medical Encyclopedia, Chlorpheniramine was an antihistamine used to treat a variety of allergic reactions, but commonly caused drowsiness.
The wreckage was released to the executor of the pilot's estate on June 18, 2001.