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On June 21, 2002, approximately 1915 mountain daylight time, a Beech A35, N658B, registered to and operated by the pilot as a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, collided with trees shortly after aborting a landing at the Atlanta Airport, Atlanta, Idaho. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed. The aircraft was substantially damaged and the private pilot and his passenger were fatally injured. The flight departed from Nampa, Idaho, about 45 minutes prior to the accident.
A representative of the family reported that the purpose of the flight to Atlanta was that the pilot and passenger wanted to check out the local campground near the airport for a church group. It is not known if the pilot had flown into this airstrip before the accident date.
Witnesses reported observing the aircraft circle the airport before setting up an approach to runway 34. One of the witnesses reported that the aircraft was too high and fast while on final approach. Based on the aircraft's glide slope, the witness thought that the aircraft would touchdown about mid-field. Trees blocked his view and he could not see what the aircraft did after this. Another witness reported that the aircraft made a sharp right turn to the runway. A "popping" sound was heard as power was added near the approach end of the runway. The witness stated that more power was applied when the aircraft was about two-thirds of the way down the runway and still 20-30 feet above ground level. This elevation was maintained for a short distance when the aircraft made a slight right turn. The wings were rocking and more power was added when the aircraft collided with trees in a slight right wing low attitude. This witness reported that the winds were calm and the temperature was about 70 degrees. Thunderstorms moved into the area about 1 1/2 hours later.
The wreckage was located within one-half mile from the departure end of the runway 34. A post-crash fire consumed the wreckage.
At the time of the accident, the pilot held a private pilot certificate for single-engine land aircraft with an instrument rating. The pilot's flight logbook was not located and presumed destroyed in the post-crash fire. The Federal Aviation Administration Medical Division reported that the pilot held a Class III medical certificate dated September 7, 2001, with a limitation that the pilot must have glasses available for near vision. At this time, the pilot reported a total flight time of 1,400 hours, with 30 hours in the preceding six months.
At 1747 the pilot contacted Boise Flight Service Station and requested a standard weather briefing for a visual flight rules flight from Nampa to Atlanta, with a departure time of about 1830. The pilot reported that it would be about a one hour flight and that they would be flying at "low altitudes." The specialist reported a convective sigment to the south of Boise with severe thunderstorms moving to the north. Increasing clouds and a chance for thunderstorms were reported for the route of flight in the evening. The current weather conditions at Boise were reported as the winds from 280 degrees at 13 knots. Visibility was ten miles and clear below 12,000 feet. Hailey, Idaho, was reporting scattered clouds at 9,000 feet and broken at 15,000 feet, with forecasts of broken tops reported at 20,000 feet. Widely scattered rain and thunder showers were reported with a few thunderstorms possibly severe, with tops as high as 42,000 feet. The winds aloft were reported at 6,000 feet as 340 degrees at 10 knots, and at 9,000 feet as 290 degrees at six knots.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The terrain to the north of the airstrip rose sharply. Tall ponderosa pines and spruce trees surround the area. The elevation at the airport is 5,500 feet mean sea level. The runway alignment is 34-16. The first indication of a collision was to a pine tree located approximately 40 degrees magnetic and 362 yards from the departure end of the runway. The top of the approximate 60 foot pine tree was severed. White paint chips were located in this area. The terrain elevation at this site was 5,474 feet. A second tree impact was located 30 degrees magnetic from the end of the runway, and 112 yards from the first point of impact. Evidence of broken tree limbs and paint chips were located. The estimated height of this tree was 80-90 feet. The elevation was measured at approximately 5,480 feet. The terrain sloped down for a short distance in this area leading up to the third tree impact. The third tree impact was located 30 degrees magnetic from the end of the runway, and 67 yards from the second impact point. Once again, broken tree limbs and paint chips were noted. The estimated height of this tree was 110 to 120 feet, at an elevation of 5,470 feet. The fourth impact was located 20 degrees magnetic from the end of the runway and approximately 136 yards from the third point of impact. This eight to ten inch diameter tree was estimated to be 110-120 feet in height at an elevation of 5,510 feet. Numerous broken limbs and paint chips were noted in this area. The diameter of this tree was later noted to be consistent with the diameter of leading edge damage noted to the wing near the wing root. The final resting point of the wreckage was located 55 yards from the fourth tree impact. The magnetic bearing back to the airport was measured at 200 degrees. The accident site elevation was approximately 5,560 feet. The area immediately around the wreckage was burned. The fuselage was destroyed by the post-crash fire. The wreckage was resting upright and positioned on a southerly heading. All four corners of the aircraft to include flight control surfaces were accounted for. The landing gear was retracted. Both left and right side flaps appeared to be in the retracted position. The right side aileron separated and was located 18 yards to the south of the main wreckage. The right side outboard wing section was located 11 yards southwest of the main wreckage.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The Elmore County Coroner's Office reported that the pilot's cause of death was due to blunt force trauma, with 100 percent charring of the total body surface area.
Toxicological samples were sent to the Federal Aviation Administration Civil Aeromedical Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, for analysis. The results of the analysis were reported as negative.
The wreckage was moved to Twin Falls, Idaho, for security. On July 11, 2002, investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board and Teledyne Continental Motors inspected and tore down the engine. A visual inspection noted that the propeller blades and assembly remained attached to the crankshaft. The overall engine displayed heat distress and the accessory section was severely burned. The accessory case was partially melted at the bottom. The number three rocker box cover was broken at the top. The exhaust was crushed and broken. Both magnetos were burned, but remained attached to their respective mounts. The oil pump gears were exposed. The fuel pump and vacuum pump were destroyed. The carburetor and oil sump were destroyed. The induction system was melted and destroyed. The oil tank was cracked and burned. The nose section of the crankcase displayed a crack running across the left side casing. The fracture surface was rough. The right side also displayed a thinner crack line.
Initially the crankshaft would not rotate, however, after the removal of the partially melted accessories, the crankshaft would rotate. Continuity was established to the accessory gear area. Thumb compression was noted to all cylinders. The magnetos were removed from their mounts. The drivers would not rotate due to heat distress. The rocker box covers were removed. The upper valve assemblies and rocker arms were intact.
Both propeller blades were loose in the hub. Blade "A" was reversed and displayed "S" bending signatures. Leading and trailing edge gouges and indents were noted. The outboard tip of the blade was bent forward. Blade "B" was bent aft approximately 90 degrees. Chordwise striations were noted as well as minor leading edge nicks. The tip of the blade was bowed forward slightly.
All spark plugs displayed normal operating signatures.
All six cylinders were removed from the crankcase. During disassembly it was noted that for the number three cylinder, the top aft thru bolt was out quite a ways. The nut was screwed down a long ways to take up the slack. The number two cylinder forward top thru bolt nut was cross threaded and was only 3/4 on. The slack was taken up by screwing down the nut on the right side. The number six cylinder forward top stud was just rotating in the hole.
All piston heads displayed light deposits. All rings were free to move. Little to no scoring was noted in the cylinder bores.
The crankcase halves were separated. The forward area of the case which previously noted a crack on the left side came apart at this point. The fracture surfaces were rough and appeared overload. Heat damage was noted to the rear of the engine. The number one and two main bearings were damaged. Connecting rods for number one and two would not rotate freely on the journals. The lifters displayed normal operating signatures, but were heat distressed. The camshaft displayed heat distress, however, the lobes appeared normal. The bearing areas appeared heat distressed.
The Atlanta Airport is a 2,650 foot long and 60 feet wide turf runway. The airport elevation is 5,500 feet. The Airport/Facility Directory airport remarks section for this airport states, "Airport is located in mountainous area, high timbered ridges limit maneuvering area." "Recommend land Rwy 34, depart Rwy 16..."
The wreckage was released to the owner's representative on July 12, 2002. At the time, the wreckage was located at Twin Falls, Idaho.