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On November 26, 2002, approximately 1135 Pacific standard time, a Cessna 172P, N65564, registered to Red Apple Aircraft LLC, operated by Wings of Wenatchee, Inc., and being flown by a private pilot, was destroyed during impact with trees and terrain while in cruise six nautical miles southwest of Malaga, Washington. The pilot and passenger sustained fatal injuries. Instrument meteorological conditions existed in the vicinity of the accident site and no flight plan had been filed. The flight, which was personal, originated from Pangborn Memorial airport, Wenatchee, Washington, approximately 1115 and was expected to last no more than an hour in duration.
The operator reported that the pilot and his passenger arrived about 1100 for a short local scenic flight. The aircraft was scheduled for use at noon by another customer so the flight duration was expected to be less than an hour. The pilot conducted a preflight after which the aircraft departed. The operator also reported that an individual who was monitoring aviation frequencies on his aircraft radio reported hearing a radio transmission that "...they were flying up Squilchuk Canyon in Cessna 65564..." (refer to attached NTSB Form 6120.1). There were no known witnesses who observed the accident scenario.
According to records maintained by the operator, the pilot acquired his flight training from the operator with the first flight logged on April 01, 2001. All his training flights were in the Cessna 172 aircraft and he received a private pilot certificate on November 17, 2001. The documentation showed the pilot having a total of 48 hours of flight experience at the time of his certificate issuance (37 hours instructional).
The operator maintained a record of flights made by the pilot subsequent to his certification. The record showed the pilot having made 20 separate flights between the time of his certification and October 26, 2002, the last time he flew before the accident flight. The total flight time (pilot in command) accrued during these flights was 22.0 hours (refer to Attachment PR-I).
The pilot acquired a third class medical certificate on April 26, 2001, with the restriction that he "must wear corrective lenses for near and distant vision."
The pilot did not possess an instrument rating, however the operator's records documented 3.4 hours of instrument time during his initial flight training.
According to fueling records maintained by the operator, N65564, Cessna 172P, was topped off with 18.8 gallons of 100 octane low lead aviation fuel the day previous to the accident. The aircraft then flew for the first time (40.0 gallons of usable fuel total) departing on the morning of the accident.
Aviation surface weather observations taken on the morning of the accident at Pangborn Memorial airport (1,249 feet above mean sea level [MSL]), located 7.6 nautical miles north-northeast of the accident site reported the following conditions:
0955PST: winds calm, visibility 9 statute miles, ceiling 2,000 foot overcast, temperature 0 degrees Celsius, dew point -2 degrees Celsius, altimeter, 30.61 inches of Mercury.
1055PST: winds calm, visibility 10 statute miles, ceiling 2,000 foot overcast, temperature 1 degrees Celsius, dew point -1 degrees Celsius, altimeter, 30.61 inches of Mercury.
11:55PST: winds calm, visibility 10 statute miles, ceiling 2,000 foot overcast, temperature 2 degrees Celsius, dew point -1 degrees Celsius, altimeter, 30.59 inches of Mercury.
1255PST: winds calm, visibility 10 statute miles, ceiling 1,800 foot overcast, temperature 2 degrees Celsius, dew point -2 degrees Celsius, altimeter, 30.57 inches of Mercury.
Several individuals who arrived at the accident site shortly after the accident reported foggy conditions and poor visibility (refer to Attachments W-I and W-II).
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The aircraft crashed in moderately wooded, up-sloping terrain coming to rest a short distance from a logging road. The accident site coordinates were determined using a hand held GPS unit and were recorded as 47 degrees 17.285 minutes north latitude and 120 degrees 17.780 minutes west longitude. The elevation of the accident site was approximately 3,500 feet MSL (refer to CHART I).
The first evidence of impact was with the upper portion of several conifer trees. The average magnetic bearing line between these tree impacts and the ground impact site was approximately 140 degrees magnetic, with the ground impact site at the southeast point (refer to photograph 1). The distance from the northwestern most tree impact to the ground impact was approximately 170 feet. The terrain over this track sloped up approximately 20 degrees (refer to Diagram I). A side view of several tree strikes looking northwest revealed a relatively flat plane (horizontal) between the strikes (refer to photograph 2).
All major parts of the aircraft, with the exception of the right horizontal stabilizer/ elevator/trim tab and the left main landing gear, were observed in the vicinity of the ground impact site (refer to photographs 3 through 6). The right horizontal stabilizer/ elevator/trim tab was noted lying on the ground about 75 feet down slope from the ground impact site (refer to photograph 7). The left main landing gear was located slightly up slope from the ground impact site along the edge of the logging road and slightly southwest of the ground impact site (refer to photograph 8).
The aircraft's fuselage from engine aft through the empennage remained as a single section. Both left and right wings however, had separated from the fuselage. The right wing remained as a single unit exclusive of its tip and displayed extensive leading edge damage. The flap and aileron remained attached, as did the strut, which was separated at the fuselage attach point (refer to photograph 9). Two longitudinal tears along the chordline separated the left wing. The outboard tear was located along the flap/aileron seam and the inboard tear was forward of the flap midsection. The wing displayed major leading edge deformation and both the flap and aileron remained attached to their respective sections, as did the strut. The inboard section of the left wing remained attached to the fuselage (refer to photographs 10 and 11).
A roughly hemispherical impact impression was observed near the outboard leading edge of the left wing. A representative tree branch was nested in the impact impression and an approximate +20 degree above the horizontal was measured when looking along the wings lateral axis (refer to photograph 12). Likewise, a view along the wing's chordline showed an approximate -3 degrees (left wing down) position (refer to photograph 13). The propeller and spinner remained attached to the engine. The spinner displayed crushing on one side and both propeller blades displayed aft bending (refer to photograph 14).
Control continuity was established for all three control surfaces. The elevator trim position could not be established due to impact damage/forces. The flaps jackscrew was noted in the fully retracted position. The aircraft's tachometer was observed to read 9,042.5 hours and the Hobbs meter was observed to read 508.05 hours at the accident site. Documentation found at the site showed the aircraft blocking out on the accident flight at a tachometer time of 9,042.2 hours and a Hobbs meter reading of 507.7 hours.
Examination of the aircraft's Lycoming O-320-D2J engine revealed fuel in the carburetor accelerator pump cavity. Continuity of the crankshaft/camshaft was established with appropriate accessory and rocker arm movement noted. Thumb compression checks on all four cylinders were successfully conducted and the magnetos were found to produce a spark at all leads.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
Gina M. Fino, M.D., conducted a post-mortem examination of the pilot at the facilities of the Chelan County Coroner's Office, Wenatchee, Washington, on November 27, 2002, (case number CH-2002-264).
The FAA's Toxicology Accident and Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma conducted toxicological evaluation of samples from the pilot. The following findings were reported (refer to attached TOX report number 200200329001):
Diphenhydramine present in urine
0.107 (ug/ml, ug/g) Diphenhydramine detected in blood
Doxylamine present in urine
0.042 (ug/ml, ug/g) Doxylamine detected in blood
25.69 (ug/ml, ug/g) Acetaminophen detected in urine
Ranitidine present in urine
Documentation provided by the FAA related to the pilot's April 26, 2001, 3rd class physical was reviewed. The medical Examiner noted in Item 60 "Comments on History and Findings" that the pilot "...is currently on multiple medications for hypertension and hyperlipidemia. He is having no side effects from any of these medications. He takes occasional generic Benadryl over-the-counter for allergies, but does not take it within 24 hours of flying...." Diphenhydramine (commonly known by the trade name Benadryl) is an over-the-counter antihistamine with sedative effects, often used to treat allergy symptoms. Doxylamine is another sedating over-the-counter antihistamine, often used in sleep aids such as Unisom. It is also commonly found in nighttime multi-symptom cold relievers.
On-site examination of the wreckage was conducted on the morning of November 27, 2002, after which the wreckage was verbally released to the insurance representative for recovery. Written wreckage release was accomplished on December 18, 2002, and is documented on NTSB form 6120.15 (enclosed).