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On December 28, 2002, at 1155 central standard time, a Beech F-35 single-engine airplane, N3367C, was destroyed during a forced landing following a loss of engine power after takeoff from the Addison Airport (ADS), near Addison, Texas. The airplane was owned and operated by the pilot. The private pilot, sole occupant of the airplane, sustained fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The local flight was originating at the time of the accident.
Personnel from the air traffic control tower (ATCT) at ADS, stated that the flight was cleared to takeoff from Runway 15 at 1146. The ATCT received a call from the Addison Police Department with notification of an airplane accident near the intersection of Beltline Road and Winwood Road, minutes after the aircraft had departed.
According to witnesses, the airplane was traveling toward the east, at a "very low altitude," and parallel to Beltline Road. Two witnesses reported that the airplane appeared to be gliding and they could not hear the sound of the engine. The witnesses also stated that they were unable to determine if the propeller was rotating. Subsequently, the airplane descended behind trees and out of the witnesses field of view.
The pilot held a private pilot certificate, issued on August 15, 1989, with a single-engine land rating. On the pilot's last application for a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) medical certificate, which was dated January 31, 2002, he reported that he had accumulated a total of 2,300 flight hours, of which 50 hours were in the last six months. He held a third-class medical certificate with two limitations. The first limitation required the pilot to wear corrective lenses for near and distant vision and the second stated "not valid for any class after January 31, 2003."
The 1955-model airplane, serial number D-4034, was registered to the pilot/owner on February 6, 1990. On August 30, 2002, the last annual inspection was completed, at which time the airplane had accumulated a total airframe time of 6,258.1 hours, tachometer time of 1,582.8. At the time of the accident the airplane had accumulated a total airframe time of 6,329.8 hours, tachometer time of 1,654.5.
The airplane was powered by a 260-horsepower Continental IO-470-N11B engine, serial number 458172. The engine was manufactured on July 4, 1999, and installed on the airplane on August 2, 1999. On December 27, 2002, at a total engine tachometer time of 1,653.8 hours, a new ignition kit, which consisted of two new magnetos, a new harness, and 12 new spark plugs, was installed in the airplane. The engine was ground run and no anomalies were noted. According to the mechanic who installed the kit, the pilot requested that the kit be installed due to a vibration.
A two-bladed McCauley model 2A36C23-P-CE6 propeller assembly (Hub serial number 713597 and blade numbers HF005YS and HF014VS) received an annual inspection on August 30, 2002.
The airplane was last refueled on December 20, 2002, with 24.8 gallons of 100LL fuel by Mercury Aviation at ADS.
The Automated Surface Observing Station ADS, at 1147, reported winds from 190 degrees at 5 knots, visibility 13 statute miles, clear skies, temperature 16 degrees Celsius, dew point 3 degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 30.31 inches of Mercury. The Investigator-In-Charge (IIC) calculated the density altitude to be approximately 554 feet.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The airplane came to rest upright in a moderately wooded area, adjacent to Beltline Road, on a measured magnetic heading of 120 degrees. The Ground Positioning System (GPS) location of the accident site was 32 degrees 57 minutes 24 seconds North latitude, and 096 degrees 48 minutes and 58 seconds West longitude. The initial impact point was 46 feet from the wreckage. Located at the initial impact point was the outboard section of the right wing and aileron. The ruddervator and inboard section of the right wing were located 32 feet from the wreckage. The fuselage, left wing, cockpit, engine, and propeller remained attached to each other. There was no post-impact fire.
The propeller blades did not display chordwise scratching; the blades' leading edges were clean, and the propeller spinner did not display rotational damage. One of the propeller blades was bent aft at mid-span.
The cockpit was examined. The fuel selector was found in the right tank position and the auxiliary boost pump was in the OFF position. The throttle and mixture were observed in the full-forward position. The flap selector was in the UP position, the landing gear selector was in the retracted position. The autopilot switch was OFF and the emergency air switch was CLOSED.
Flight control continuity was established from the cockpit to the left aileron; however continuity was not possible to the right aileron as a result of the right wing separating. All cable separations examined displayed frayed, uneven ends consistent with overstress. Flight control continuity for the rudder, elevator and elevator trim was established from the cockpit to the point at which the tail separated from the airplane; continuity past this point was not possible as a result of the tail separating. However, all cable separation examined displayed frayed, uneven ends consistent with overstress.
The engine was examined and there were no signs of catastrophic failure. The propeller was rotated and continuity was established from the propeller, through the crankshaft, to the air conditioning drive belt. Theleft main fuel cell was breached. Approximately three gallons of fuel was found in the tip tanks, and twelve gallons of fuel was found in the auxiliary fuel tank. The oil dipstick was removed and indicated 7 quarts of oil, which is within the full range. The only anomaly noted was that an air line was disconnected from the vacuum pump, as a result of the impact. The engine was transported to Lancaster, Texas, for further examination.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences, Dallas, Texas, on December 29, 2002. The pilot's death was a result of multiple blunt force injuries.
Toxicological testing were performed by the FAA's Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI) in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Atropine and Lidocaine were detected in the pilot's blood and liver.
TESTS AND RESEARCH
On January 3, 2003, the engine was examined at Air Salvage of Dallas, Lancaster, Texas. The fuel sump beneath the low point fuel strainer was drained. The fuel sample from the sump was clear and free of contaminants. The fuel strainer, which was positioned beneath the fuel selector was removed. The fuel strainer was installed improperly (upside down), so that fuel moving through the selector did not pass through the fuel strainer screen, therefore allowing unfiltered fuel to reach the fuel pump. The fuel pump was removed, indexed, and disassembled. The fuel pump did not exhibit any debris and its gears did not appear worn. The fuel pump's drive coupling was intact and its two relief valves were not obstructed by any debris. The fuel pump was reassembled and reinstalled on the engine. The top spark plugs were removed. The number 1,2,4, and 6 cylinder spark plug electrodes were extremely light in color, consistent with a lean mixture. The number 3 and 5 cylinder spark plug electrodes contained light carbon deposits. The propeller was rotated and "thumb compression" was established for each cylinder and the impulse couplings from the magnetos were heard clicking. The top spark plugs were then reinstalled in the engine. The throttle, propeller, and mixture control were manipulated by hand in the cockpit and continuity was established to their attach points in the engine.
On January 10, 2003, an engine run was performed at Air Salvage of Dallas, Lancaster, Texas. The engine was started on a test stand and allowed to idle. The engine was then run up to 1,800 RPM and a magneto check was performed. There was a 250 RPM drop on the left magneto, and a 75 RPM drop on the right magneto. Sixty pounds of oil pressure was noted at 2,000 RPM. The engine was run to full power, and 2,600 RPM static, and 28.5 inches of manifold pressure were obtained. The engine run lasted for ten minutes. The engine was run through the aircraft fuel selector, on the left and right positions.
The airplane was released to the owner's representative.