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On November 8, 2002, about 0430 Pacific standard time, a Cessna 150E, N6236T, collided with power lines near Anaheim Hills, California. The pilot was operating the borrowed airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The commercial pilot, the sole occupant, sustained fatal injuries; the airplane was destroyed. The personal cross-country flight departed Temecula, California, about 0400, en route to Fullerton, California. Weather at the accident site could not be determined; however, night instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the nearest reporting station, Chino, California, which was about 8 nautical miles (nm) at 020 degrees from the accident site. No flight plan had been filed.
Southern California Edison (SCE) power company personnel responded to a transmission line problem. The SCE personnel discovered downed power lines, and the main airplane wreckage about 100 yards west of the downed lines. The empennage was about 40 feet east of the main wreckage. SCE personnel stated that the transmission lines were approximately 150 feet above the ground, which had an estimated elevation of 450 feet above mean sea level (msl).
A witness said that he was traveling on the westbound California 91 freeway. He heard and saw an aircraft pass over him from his right shoulder to his left shoulder. He saw a white light on the aircraft that periodically flashed. He watched the light and it remained at the 11 o'clock position in his windshield, and left of the freeway.
The witness then observed a quick bright white, egg shaped flash. From his position, he estimated that the flash of light was about the size of an eraser. Immediately below that flash, he observed two white flashes that were each about 1/3 of the size of the upper flash. The three flashes formed a triangle and all were teardropped in shape. The white flashes disappeared and he observed a red light streak 135 degrees across the sky to the right, and it went out as it reached a position in front of the middle of the passenger seat.
The witness was two lanes right of the fast lane, which had two toll road lanes to its left. He didn't see the aircraft after he rounded a curve, and hoped nothing happened to it.
The witness noted that it was very dark night conditions when he observed the aircraft. From his observation location, on many of his morning commutes he could often see the lights of Anaheim and beyond. However, on that morning he could not see the lights. He frequently observes fog and haze and said that this was a normal hazy morning. He saw a ceiling that was definitely above the aircraft. He could not tell if the ceiling was above the surrounding mountaintops, but thought that the clouds were near the mountaintops. He felt that if the aircraft had not hit the wires, it would certainly have hit the mountains immediately west of the wires, because the aircraft was definitely below the level of the mountain tops.
A review of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airman records revealed that the pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single engine land, multiengine land, and instrument ratings. The pilot held a certified flight instructor certificate with an airplane single engine land rating.
The National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge (IIC) obtained the aeronautical experience listed in this report from a review of the FAA airmen medical records on file in the Airman and Medical Records Center located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The pilot held a third-class medical certificate issued on August 5, 2002. It had the limitation that the pilot must wear corrective lenses. The pilot reported on his medical application that he had a total time of 2,740 hours with 0 hours logged in the previous 6 months.
The airplane was a Cessna 150E, serial number 15060936. A review of the airplane's logbooks revealed a total airframe time of 6,532.3 hours at the last annual inspection. An annual inspection was completed on September 18, 2002. The tachometer read 6,562.3 at the accident scene.
The engine was a Teledyne Continental Motors O-200, serial number 60386-4-A. At the last annual inspection, the total time on the engine was 5,918 hours, and it had 14 hours since a major overhaul.
There was no record of the pilot receiving a weather brief from a flight service station or Direct User Access System (DUATS).
The closest official weather observation station was Chino, California (KCNO), which was 020 degrees at 8 nautical miles (nm) from the accident site. The elevation of the weather observation station was 652 feet above mean sea level (msl). An aviation routine weather report (METAR) for KCNO was issued at 0428. It stated: skies 1,600 feet overcast; visibility 2 1/2 miles, light rain, mist; winds from 060 degrees at 7 knots; temperature 52 degrees Fahrenheit; dew point 50 degrees Fahrenheit; altimeter 30.04 inches of mercury.
Fullerton (KFUL), the destination airport at an elevation of 96 feet, was about 15 nm at 250 degrees from the accident site.
METARs issued for Fullerton at 0153 and 0253 stated that the skies were 1,200 feet overcast with light rain and mist. The visibility was 3 miles at 0153, and 2 miles at 0253.
A METAR issued for Fullerton at 0353 stated: skies 1,000 feet broken, 1,600 feet overcast; visibility 2 1/2 miles; light rain, mist; winds from 080 degrees at 9 knots; temperature 56 degrees Fahrenheit; dew point 55 degrees Fahrenheit; altimeter 30.01 inches of mercury.
A METAR issued for Fullerton at 0453 stated: skies 800 feet overcast; visibility 1 1/2 miles; rain, mist; winds from 070 degrees at 8 knots; temperature 55 degrees Fahrenheit; dew point 54 degrees Fahrenheit; altimeter 30.01 inches of mercury.
A METAR issued for Long Beach Airport (230 degrees at 19 nm), Long Beach, California, at 0356 stated: skies 500 feet overcast; visibility 4 miles; light rain, mist; winds from 100 degrees at 11 knots; temperature 55 degrees Fahrenheit; dew point 55 degrees Fahrenheit; altimeter 30.00 inches of mercury.
A METAR issued for Long Beach Airport at 0456 stated: skies 500 feet overcast; visibility 3 miles; light rain, mist; winds from 090 degrees at 5 knots; temperature 55 degrees Fahrenheit; dew point 55 degrees Fahrenheit; altimeter 30.00 inches of mercury.
A METAR issued for Orange County Airport (200 degrees at 15 nm), Santa Ana, California, at 0353 stated: skies 1,700 feet scattered, 2,300 feet broken, 3,000 feet overcast; visibility 4 miles; light rain, mist; winds from 110 degrees at 8 knots; temperature 55 degrees Fahrenheit; dew point 54 degrees Fahrenheit; altimeter 30.02 inches of mercury.
A METAR issued for Orange County Airport at 0453 stated: skies 2,400 feet overcast; visibility 6 miles; light rain, mist; winds from 110 degrees at 8 knots; temperature 57 degrees Fahrenheit; dew point 54 degrees Fahrenheit; altimeter 30.00 inches of mercury.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The Orange County Coroner completed an autopsy. The FAA Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory performed toxicological testing of specimens of the pilot. The results of analysis of the specimens contained no findings for carbon monoxide or cyanide detected in blood, and no ethanol detected in the kidney or liver. The report contained the following findings: 0.155 (ug/ml, ug/g) diphenhydramine detected in blood, diphenhydramine detected in liver; ephedrine detected in blood and liver; pseudoephedrine detected in blood and liver; and 8.787 (ug/ml, ug/g) acetaminophen detected in blood.
TESTS AND RESEARCH
Investigators from the Safety Board, Cessna Aircraft Company, and Teledyne Continental Motors examined the wreckage at Aircraft Recovery Service, Little Rock, California, on November 14, 2002.
The left wing had leading edge dents and striated scrapes just inboard of the strut attachment point. The left side of the fuselage aft of the cabin had similar striated scrape marks. A dent with striated scrape marks was about 1 foot below the top of the vertical stabilizer.
Control cables for the control surfaces exhibited numerous disconnects. All cables fractured and separated in a broom straw pattern.
Investigators removed the engine. They placed it on a stand and removed the top spark plugs. The intake push rod for cylinder No. 2 and both the intake and exhaust push rods for cylinder No. 3 were bent. They straightened the rods and then manually rotated the engine. All valves moved in sequence and about the same amount of lift. They obtained thumb compression on all cylinders in firing order.
Investigators manually rotated the magnetos, and both magnetos produced spark.
The spark plug electrodes were circular and not mechanically damaged. The electrodes for cylinders No. 1 and No. 3 were gray in color, which corresponded to normal operation according to the Champion Aviation Check-A-Plug AV-27 Chart. The electrodes for cylinders No. 2 and No. 4 were moist.
The carburetor sustained mechanical damage to the housing and internal components. The carburetor finger screen was clean.
The fuel selector valve was in the ON position.
One propeller blade exhibited leading edge gouges and scratches on the cambered side.
The number one communications radio was on frequency 125.05. The Airport/Facility Directory, Southwest U. S., indicated that the Fullerton Automatic Terminal Information Service (ATIS) was on frequency 125.05. It noted that Fullerton had an Automated Surface Observation System (ASOS). It also indicated that the air traffic control tower (ATCT) operated between 0600 and 2200. The FAA indicated that when the ATCT was not in operation, the ATIS would automatically broadcast the ASOS weather information, and update it every 5 minutes.
The airplane was operating below 1,200 feet above ground level (agl) and below 12,000 feet msl at night in Class G airspace, and not in an airport traffic pattern. With those conditions, Federal Aviation Regulations Part 91 stipulated that no person may operate an aircraft under visual flight rules when the flight visibility was less than 3 statute miles.
The IIC released the wreckage to the owner's representative.