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On March 4, 2002, at 1108 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-28-151, N41340, registered to MCN Incorporated, and operated by South East Flight School collided with a stand of pine trees during a training flight while maneuvering at Herbert Smart Airport, Macon, Georgia. The training flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91 and visual flight rules. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The airplane was substantially damaged. The certified flight instructor (CFI) and private pilot were fatally injured. The flight originated at Herbert Smart Airport, Macon, Georgia, at 1100.
According to the witness, the certified flight instructor and his student were on an instrument training flight in the local area. They departed runway 28, climbed to approximately 400 feet, and reported that they were returning to the airport for a landing on runway 10. A witness departed from runway 33, and flew over the airport at 2000 feet. They looked to the right of their airplane and saw the wreckage in the sand pit. They returned to the airport, and landed on runway 10. The reason for the accident airplanes return to the airport was not determined.
The certified flight instructor received a flight instruction rating on December 7, 2000 for airplane single engine land. The instructor also held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single and multiengine land instrument ratings. The CFI had accumulated 55 hours as a flight instructor. The CFI had a total flight time of 541 hours. The CFI had a total flight time of 11 hours in the Piper PA-28-151. The CFI held a first class medical certificate dated November 26, 2001, and valid when wearing corrective lenses.
The private pilot received his airplane single engine land rating on February 4, 2002. His total flight time was 66 hours, with a total of 60 hours in the PA-28-151. On August 20, 2001, the private pilot received a second-class medical certificate with no limitations.
Examination of the airplane maintenance records showed at the time of the accident, the engine had accumulated a total of 1341 hours since the last major overhaul, and 20 hours since the most recent inspection. The last annual inspection was conducted on October 28, 2001. The tachometer time at the annual inspection was 3491, and the airframe total time was 7982.
The weather observation for Herbert Smart Airport at 1500Z, reported, airmet Tango for turbulence with gust up to 18 knots. The wind observation reported, medium turbulence below 10000 feet, surface winds from 310 at 12 knots. The visibility was reported clear below 12000 feet. Temperature -2 degrees Celsius and dewpoint -11 degrees Celsius. The altimeter setting was 30.03 inches.
Herbert Smart Airport has an elevation of 451 feet mean sea level. It has two runways, runway 10-28 and 15-33. At the time of the accident runway 28 was in use.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
Examination of the wreckage site revealed that the airplane collided with a stand of pine trees 3/4 miles southwest of the airport. Wreckage debris was scattered over an area of 256 feet long and 52 feet wide. There was a fresh slash mark 49-inches above the base of a pine tree. The airplane came to rest on a heading of 256 degrees magnetic. The left wing fuel tank was not ruptured and fuel was witnessed seeping from the fuel filler.
Examination of the right wing revealed separation from the fuselage at the wing root, and found approximately 30 feet from the fuselage along the wreckage debris line. Mid-span on the right wing displayed separation with heavy crush damage to the leading edge. The aileron was secure to the outboard section of the wing and the flap was secure to the inboard section. The aileron bellcrank was separated, pulled inward, and both the control and balance cables were frayed at separation. The aileron control cable was attached to the control chain in the cockpit, and was separated near the wing root area, and cable strands were frayed at separation.
Examination of the left wing revealed separation from the fuselage at the wing root. The wing displayed leading edge crush damage along the edge of the wingtip. The wing was found approximately 70 feet from the main fuselage along the impact debris line. The wing flap showed signs of buckling damage and was partially separated from the wing at the attachment points. The aileron bellcrank was separated, pulled inward and both the control and balance cables were frayed at separation. The aileron control cable was attached to the control chain in the cockpit, and the cable was separated near the wing root area, and cable strands were frayed at separation.
Examination of the fuselage revealed it was separated into two separate sections. The forward section consisted of the engine, firewall and instrument panel. The forward fuselage section displayed compression damage to the left side. The instrument panel also displayed compression damage, and all controls were found in their respective positions. The left seat was separated from the seat track. The seat belt was not fastened and the shoulder belt was not attached to the belt. The right seat was buckled and the seatback was bent. The right seat was secure on the tracks, and the seatbelt was fastened and had been cut. The shoulder harness was not attached to the airplane. The aft cabin and empennage assembly displayed crush and buckling damage. The rudder was in place and free to move.
The rudder cables were secure to the attach points. The stop and hinge bolts were in place. Rudder cable attach points to the cockpit rudder bar were separated. The stabilator was in place, secure and free to move. Both the upper and lower stabilator cables were secure to the stabilator tube. Stabilator control cables were secured to the cockpit "T" bar attachment points. The control cables were separated in the forward cabin area and were frayed at separation.
Examination of the engine revealed that the crankshaft rotated freely by hand. Compression and suction was obtained on cylinders 1, 3 and 4. The No. 2 cylinder valve cover displayed crush damage. Valve covers were removed and movement was noted on all cylinders. Fuel was found in the carburetor bowl and fuel discharged from the accelerator pump. The metal float in the carburetor showed signs of hydraulic-action from impact. The main jet was clear and free from debris, and fuel was found in the fuel pump. The mixture control was found in the full rich position and the throttle control was found full forward. The magnetos were removed and rotated. Spark was observed from all 4 leads on the left and right magnetos.
The propeller was located approximately 256 feet from the initial impact point. The propeller separated from the propeller flange and the propeller blades were attached to the propeller hub. The propeller displayed tip bending on both blades. One propeller blade had chip marks along the leading edge, chordwise surface scratches and displayed twisting. The other blade displayed an aft bend approximately 10 inches from the tip. Chord wise surface scratches were noted along the leading edge of the blade.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation Division of forensic Sciences, Macon, Georgia, preformed the postmortem examination of the certified flight instructor on March 4, 2002. The cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head. The Forensic Toxicology Research Section, Federal Aviation Administration, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma performed postmortem toxicology of specimens from the pilot. The results were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, drugs and alcohol.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation Division of forensic Sciences, Macon, Georgia, preformed the postmortem examination of the student pilot on March 4, 2002. The cause of death was multiple blunt force trauma. The Forensic Toxicology Research Section, Federal Aviation Administration, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma performed postmortem toxicology of specimens from the pilot. The results were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, drugs and alcohol.
The wreckage of N41340 was released to Phoenix Aviation Managers Incorporated, on June 19, 2002.