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On January 17, 2004, at 1536 eastern standard time, a Cessna 182A, N4744D, registered to and operated by a private pilot, collided with the ground during a forced landing in Traphill, North Carolina. The personal fight was operated under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91 with no flight plan filed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident, and the airplane was substantially damaged. The pilot was fatally injured, and the three passengers received serious injuries. The flight departed Wilkes County Airport, Wilkesboro, North Carolina, on January 17, 2004, at 1455.
Witnesses reported the airplane was flying low and the engine sounded like it was "idling". The airplane continued to descend below the tree line and a loud "crash" was heard. According to a passenger, they had been flying for approximately 45 minutes when the engine began to lose power. The passenger recalled that the engine sounded, "Like a choke was pulled on the engine, as if you were restricting air". The pilot then pulled the carburetor heat and tried to lean the fuel mixture. The engine did not regain full power, and the pilot made an force landing in a rough and uneven field. The airplane cart wheeled before coming to rest.
Review of pilot's flight records revealed the pilot was issued a private pilot certificate on October 7, 1970, with ratings for airplane single engine land. Review of medical records revealed the pilot held a third-class medical certificate issued on August 29, 2001, valid when wearing corrective lenses during flight. Review of the pilot's logbook indicated that the pilot accumulated a total of 710 flight hours.
Review of records revealed that the last recorded annual inspection was conducted on January 6, 2004.The tachometer time was 52.1 hours, and the tachometer time at the crash site was 53.5 hours. Maintenance records were not recovered for examination of the altimeter system, static pressure system, and transponder inspections.
The nearest weather reporting facility at the time of the accident was North Wilkesboro, North Carolina. The 1542 surface weather observation was: 9000 overcast, visibility 10 statue miles, temperature 46 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point temperature 48 degrees Fahrenheit, wind 210-degrees at 6 knots, and altimeter 30.04. Review of the icing probability chart revealed that the conditions were favorable for carburetor icing.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
Examination of the accident site revealed, the airplane came to rest in a field nine miles north of the Wilkes County Airport. Examination of the airplane revealed that both wing assemblies were buckled, and outboard sections of the wings were curled upwards. The ailerons and flaps were still connected to the wing assemblies. Fuel was observed in the right and left wing tank when the fuel caps were opened. The engine assembly was displaced aft against the firewall. The propeller displayed chord-wise scoring, and aft tip bending on one blade. The nose wheel assembly was bent aft under the fuselage. The cabin section of the fuselage was breached, and displayed buckling. The aft section of the fuselage aft of the baggage door was breached. The tail assembly was buckled and curled to the right. The horizontal stabilizers and elevators were buckled. The vertical stabilizer and rudder was buckled. Flight control cables were traced from the elevators and rudder to the flight controls in the cockpit. Flight control cables were traced from the left and right ailerons to the flight controls in the cockpit. The main landing gear struts were buckled.
Examination of the engine revealed, valve train movement to the accessory pulley and on all valve assemblies. Compression was attained on all cylinders and ignition spark was produced from the ignition leads. Fuel was found in the supply hose and in the carburetor fuel bowl. Examination of the engine did not reveal any mechanical or flight control anomalies.
The North Carolina Baptist Hospitals, Inc., Department of Pathology, preformed the postmortem examination of the private pilot on January 19, 2004. The reported cause of death was multiple blunt force trauma. The examinations of the postmortem toxicology of specimens from the pilot were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, drugs and alcohol.
Review of the North Wilkesboro, North Carolina weather revealed that flight conditions were favorable for carburetor icing. The wreckage of N4744D and all of its components were released to the wife of the pilot on May 21, 2004.