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On October 13, 2001, about 2102 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 152, N94567, was destroyed during an in-flight collision with terrain near Middlefield, Connecticut. The certificated commercial pilot was fatally injured. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.
The pilot had flown from the Chester Airport (3B9), Chester, Connecticut, and arrived at the Meriden Markham Municipal Airport (MMK), Meriden, Connecticut, about 1830, the day of the accident. The pilot and a friend then proceeded by car to New Haven, Connecticut, for a dinner engagement, and returned to MMK, about 2045.
The pilot departed MMK about 2050; however, he was reported missing later that night. The airplane was located on October 14, in an up-sloping wooded area, about 6 miles northeast of MMK, at an elevation of 493 feet mean sea level (msl). The peak of the ridgeline where the accident occurred was 758 feet msl.
The accident occurred during the hours of darkness, at 41 degrees, 32.77 minutes north longitude, 72 degrees, 43.77 minutes west latitude.
The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single and multi-engine land, instrument airplane. He also held a flight instructor certificate for single and multi-engine land, instrument airplane. His most recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) first class medical certificate was issued on July 29, 2001.
According to the pilot's logbook, he had accumulated about 1,524 hours of total flying experience, 21 hours of which were in actual instrument flight conditions..
The weather at MMK, at 2056, was reported as winds calm, visibility 4 statute miles with mist, scattered clouds at 1,600 feet, temperature 13 degrees Celsius, dew point 13 degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 30.20.
The weather at 3B9, at 2100, was reported as, visibility 3 statute miles, broken clouds at 500 and 1,000 feet, and a temperature and dew point of 13 degrees Celsius.
According to the FAA, the pilot did not obtain a weather briefing the day of the accident.
The airplane was examined at the site on October 14 and 15, 2001. All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the scene.
An initial impact point was observed at the top of a tree approximately 60 feet tall. The wreckage path was oriented on a heading of 280 degrees and extended 220 feet. Several pieces of angular cut tree branches, with red and black paint transfer marks, were observed along the wreckage path.
The left wing was separated into four major sections located along the debris field. The outboard sections of the wing displayed crushing damage along the leading edge of the wing. The ruptured left fuel tank was observed in one inboard section of the wing, with the fuel cap secured.
The right wing was separated into three major sections along the wreckage path. Two of the sections remained embedded in the treetops. Visual observations from the ground revealed that the wing sections displayed crushing damage along the leading edge. The remaining major section of the wing included an aileron section and a fuel tank. The fuel tank contained about 10 gallons of liquid similar to aviation fuel.
The main wreckage came to rest upright about 150 feet from the first tree strike. The wreckage was oriented on a 180 degree heading, and impacted terrain which sloped upward about 5 degrees. This section included the fuselage and empennage. The vertical stabilizer and rudder remained intact and attached to the empennage. The left horizontal stabilizer was bent rearward and remained attached to the empennage by the aft securing bolt. The left stabilizer also displayed crushing damage along the leading edge. The right horizontal stabilizer remained attached to the empennage and displayed crushing damage along the leading edge. The elevator trim tab remained attached to the left elevator, which was separated from the left horizontal stabilator. Rudder control continuity and stabilator control continuity were observed from the control surfaces to the cockpit area. The forward fuselage and cockpit area were destroyed.
The engine was about 15 feet beyond the main fuselage, resting against a tree trunk. The right magneto was separated from the accessory case and was destroyed. The left magneto was attached to the accessory gear case, and was removed for testing. The magneto, when rotated by hand, produced spark on all leads. All spark plugs, except the number 2 cylinder top spark plug and the number 3 cylinder bottom spark plug, were removed; their electrodes were intact and light gray in color.
The propeller was detached from the engine at the hub assembly, and came to rest next to the main fuselage. The propeller was painted black, with the tips painted white and red. One propeller blade was curled rearward on the leading edge tip and displayed S-bending, twisting, and chordwise scratches. The second propeller blade was curled forward and also displayed S-bending, twisting, and chordwise scratching.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The State of Connecticut, Office Of The Chief Medical Examiner, Farmington, Connecticut, performed an autopsy on the pilot, on October 15, 2001.
The FAA Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, conducted toxicological testing on the pilot.
A straight-line course from MMK to 3B9 was approximately 16 miles long and oriented on a heading of 128 degrees. A straight-line course, drawn from MMK to the crash site, was 6 miles long and oriented on a heading of 064 degrees.
Review of radar data by the Bradley International Airport TRACON facility, Windsor locks, Connecticut, for the approximate location and time of the accident, did not reveal any primary or secondary targets. The facility also stated that the approximate altitude for radar coverage in the area of the accident site was about 1,200 feet msl.
According to the manager of a fixed base operator (FBO) at 3B9, the airplane was last refueled with 15.4 gallons of fuel, which topped off the fuel tanks. The airplane was then flown for .6 hours prior to the accident pilot's flight. The manager also stated that review of flight scheduling sheet did not reveal any other destinations for the accident flight other that MMK or 3B9.
The wreckage was released to a representative of the airplane owners insurance company on July 19, 2001.