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HISTORY OF FLIGHT
On April 24, 2004, at 1642 central daylight time, a Cessna 172, N75812, registered to Mark VII South Inc., operating as a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, collided with the WEEZ AM radio tower in the vicinity of Moselle, Mississippi, while maneuvering. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The airplane was destroyed. The commercial pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. The flight originated from Hester-Noble Field, Laurel, Mississippi, on April 24, 2004, at about 1636.
Two witnesses located near the crash site stated they observed the airplane flying eastbound between 400 to 500 feet agl in the vicinity of the WEEZ radio tower. The airplane circled around the tower once, and then was observed to go around the tower again heading east. One witness waved to the pilot. The pilot rocked his wings and waved back at the witness. The nose of the airplane was observed by both witnesses to pitch up, with the right wing colliding with one of the suspension cables. The cable snapped, and sounded like a rifle going off. The right wing collided with the tower, the nose of the airplane pitched down, and the airplane disappeared from view behind some trees. Both witnesses called the emergency 911 operator to report the accident.
Review of information on file with the FAA Airman's Certification Division, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, revealed the pilot was issued a commercial pilot certificate on August 9, 1997, with ratings for airplane single engine land, airplane multiengine land, and instrument airplane. In addition, the pilot was issued a flight instructor certificate on March 25, 2002, with ratings for airplane single engine land. The pilot held a second class medical issued on November 27, 2001, with the restriction "must wear corrective lenses." Review of the pilot's logbook revealed the pilot had accumulated 1,416.5 hours with 124 hours in the Cessna 172. The pilot had flown 9 hours in the last 90 days and 4.5 hours in the last 30 days. The pilot's last biennial flight review was conducted on March 25, 2004. The last entry in the pilot's logbook was March 19, 2004.
The last annual inspection was conducted on November 7, 2003, and the tachometer was 4708.4. The last 100-hour inspection was conducted on March 26, 2004, and the tachometer was 4810.9. The airplane had flown 37.5 hours since the last 100-hour inspection. The tachometer time at the crash site was 4848.4. The engine was overhauled at Aviation Engines, Inc., Centerville, Alabama, on March 25, 1996, at tachometer 2012.0. Review of refueling records on file at Aircraft Services, Laurel, Mississippi, revealed the airplane was topped off on April 24, 2004, with 2.6 gallons of 100 low lead fuel. Review of the aircraft flight log revealed the airplane flew for .9 hours after the airplane was refueled.
The Key Field Airport, Meridian, Mississippi, 1853 surface weather observation was: wind 170-degrees at 9 knots, visibility 10 miles, clear, temperature 81 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point temperature 61 degrees Fahrenheit, and altimeter 30.00.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The wreckage was located 2.5 miles northeast of Moselle, Mississippi, and 1.5 miles east of Route 11 in a wooded area. Examination of the crash site revealed the airplane collided with an orange and white antenna structure, 450 feet above the base of the antenna. The airplane came to rest inverted 465 feet east of the antenna on a heading of 110-degrees magnetic.
Examination of the wreckage revealed the airplane collided with the ground in a nose down attitude. The engine assembly was displaced to the left and remained attached to the firewall by the left upper and lower engine mounts. The firewall was crushed aft and to the left. The propeller assembly remained attached to the crankshaft flange and the spinner was crushed. Both propeller blades remained attached to the propeller hub, the propeller blades were bent aft, and chord wise scarring was present on both propeller blades. The upper and lower engine cowling separated. The firewall and lower fuselage skin received rearward accordion crushing. The nose wheel was partially attached to the firewall and bent aft.
The forward and aft cabin area was compressed aft to the forward baggage compartment doorframe. The windshield and left and right cabin doors separated from the airframe. Both door latches were in the locked position. Wire marks were present along the left side of the fuselage just aft of the engine firewall and continued aft diagonally across the fuselage skin towards the left cabin door. The cabin roof was buckled downward and compressed aft. The instrument panel was separated at the radio stack. The left and right main landing gear remained attached to the airframe. The flight controls were connected at the control column and extended aft through the wing root and tail cone pulleys. The left aileron push rod was separated from the bell crank. The left front seat remained attached to the seat track. The right front seat frame was crushed up and to the left and separated from the seat track. The rear bench seat remained attached to the floorboard structure. The cabin floor and seat tracks were bent and distorted. The left baggage compartment door was open and the door latch was in the locked position.
The left wing separated from its fore and aft attachment points. The leading edge of the left wing received accordion crushing from the wing root extending outboard 6-feet. The remaining leading edge of the wing was not damaged. The left wing strut separated at the fuselage attachment point. The inboard wing strut attachment fitting was not located. The left flap was extended 20-degrees and remained attached to the flap track. The left aileron remained attached to the aileron hinges. The left main fuel tank was ruptured and the vented fuel cap was installed.
The tail cone remained attached to the fuselage. The left and right side of the tail cone was buckled upward. The top12-inches of the dorsal fin received damage. The dorsal fin remained attached to the tail cone and received damage on the leading edge. The top 20-inches of the vertical fin had separated. The rudder assembly was separated from the lower and middle hinge assembly and remained attached to the rudder horn and rudder cables. The top 20-inches of the rudder assembly was damaged. Wire marks were present on the leading edge of the rudder assembly. The rudder balance weight remained intact. The left and right horizontal stabilizers and elevators received damage. Both elevator balance weights were intact.
The right wing was separated from the fore and aft wing attachment points. The leading edge of the right wing exhibited accordion crushing from the wing root extending outboard to the separated right wing tip. The right wing strut was damaged and remained attached at the wing and fuselage attachment points. Orange paint was present on the leading edge of the right wing 2-feet 3-inches outboard of the right wing strut attachment fitting and extended outboard to the separated right wing tip. The right flap was attached to the flap track and the flap was extended 20-degrees. The outboard three feet of the aileron separated. The remaining inboard aileron section remained attached to their respective aileron hinges. Orange paint transfer was present on the separated section of the aileron. The right main fuel tank was ruptured and the vented fuel cap was installed.
Examination of the engine assembly revealed the left and right engine exhaust was crushed up against the engine oil sump. The No.3 induction tube was displaced aft. The oil sump moved forward and was fractured. The oil cooler separated from the firewall and received damage. The alternator and drive pulley remained attached to the engine assembly. The alternator cooling fan was crushed against the alternator. The starter remained attached to the engine and the bendix pinion was retracted. The magneto was crushed. The vacuum pump remained attached to the engine and the spline drive was intact. The oil filter was crushed and the oil filter adapter was fractured on the top. The No.2 cylinder intake push rod tube was damaged. The carburetor was separated from the engine and fractured across the throttle plate bushing. The carburetor was opened, and the inlet screen was free of contaminants. The carburetor bowl was free of contaminants and the main nozzle was unobstructed. The carburetor float exhibited hydraulic crushing. The carburetor needle valve and seat were not damaged. The mixture lever was found in the full rich position. The muffler and the air box were crushed. No fuel was present in the fuel lines or carburetor. The carburetor fuel screen was free of contaminants. The fuel strainer bowl was removed, no fuel was observed, and the fuel screen was free of contaminants.
The engine was partially disassembled. The starter ring gear was fractured. The crankshaft and crankshaft flange were bent to the left. The top and bottom ignition harness were damaged. The top and bottom spark plugs were removed and exhibited worn out normal when compared to the Champion Check A Plug chart. The No.2 cylinder top spark plug was oily, and the bottom spark plug was oil soaked. The engine was rotated using a drive tool inserted as an adapter into the vacuum pump drive. Compression and suction was obtained at all cylinders. The rocker arms and valves moved when the crankshaft was rotated. The oil filter was removed, opened, and was free of contaminants. The oil suction screen was removed and was free of contaminants.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The Rankin County Morgue located in Pearl, Mississippi, conducted a postmortem examination of the pilot, on April 25, 2004. The cause of death was blunt force trauma. The Forensic Toxicology Research Section, Federal Aviation Administration, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma performed postmortem toxicology of specimens from the pilot. The results were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, and ethanol. Acetaminophen 6.821 (ug/ml, ug/g) was detected in the blood. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is a fever- and pain-reducing medication that is widely used to relieve simple headaches and muscle aches.
A certificate of death was issued by the Jones County Coroner, on April 26, 2004, for the two passengers. The cause of death was multiple blunt force trauma. No postmortem toxicology of specimens from the passengers were requested or performed.
The wreckage was released to Atlanta Air Recovery, Griffin, Georgia, on June 16, 2004.