NYC01LA224
NYC01LA224

On September 10, 2001, at 2023 eastern daylight time, an experimental Yakovlev YAK-52, N1189N, was destroyed when it collided with terrain near Washington, Connecticut. The certificated commercial pilot was fatally injured. Instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) prevailed for the cross-country flight that originated from the Wurtsboro Sullivan County Airport (N82), Wurtsboro, New York, destined for the Providence, Rhode Island, area. No flight plan was filed, and the flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, the pilot purchased the airplane a couple of days before the accident from an individual in Arlington, Washington, and was in the process of flying it to Providence. The accident occurred during the last leg of the cross-country flight. The airplane was equipped for IMC flight, but the person that executed the sale warned the pilot not to fly in IMC or night VFR because the layout of the instrument panel was different from the airplanes the pilot normally flew. In addition, he stated that the odds would have been against a pilot unfamiliar with an airplane that had touchy controls, and a roll rate like the accident airplane.

Examination of the wreckage by the FAA inspector revealed that the airplane crashed in an area of wooded mountains. The down angle from the initial tree strikes to the main impact crater was approximately 40 degrees. The airframe was fragmented, and the majority of its structure was destroyed in a post crash fire. Flight control continuity could not be confirmed because of impact and fire damage. The flight instruments and system instruments were also destroyed in the post crash fire. The engine displayed severe impact and fire damage.

The propeller was comprised of two blades. Each blade was constructed of wood with a metal strip on the leading edge. The No. 1 blade was destroyed. The No.2 blade had separated from the hub, and was located in the main impact crater. Examination of the blade revealed an impact mark in the metal strip on the leading edge. The mark was 4 to 6 inches from the tip of the blade, and had a radius of approximately 2 1/2 inches.

A weather observation taken 30 minutes after the accident at an airport approximately 22 miles to the south of the accident site, recorded the wind as calm, visibility 3 miles in rain and mist, overcast clouds at 6,500 feet, temperature 72 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and an altimeter setting of 30.07 Hg.

Examination of a weather radar image captured 23 minutes before the accident occurred revealed an area of strong radar returns consistent with heavy precipitation in the vicinity of the accident site.

The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane-single-engine-land, airplane-multi-engine land, and instrument airplane. On her last FAA second-class medical certificate, which was dated February 23, 2001, she reported a total flight experience of 1,680 hours.

A witness, along with her husband, reported hearing the sound of an engine operating at high rpm, and then a "loud bang" that vibrated through their house. About 15 to 30 minutes after hearing the bang, the witness started to smell the odor of something burning. She did not go out to investigate the source of the bang or odor until the next morning because it was rainy, foggy, and "extremely" dark when the accident took place. The next day the witness went out on horseback, and identified the wreckage. She then called the state police.

According to another witness, the pilot was scheduled to work a 16-hour day on September the 11th, the day after the accident. The witness also stated that the pilot left him a voice message about 1700 the day before the accident stating she was "socked in" from a storm approaching from the west. The pilot added, "I'll get home when I get there."

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