HISTORY OF FLIGHT Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
On September 15, 2004, about 0250 central daylight time, a Cessna 336, N3832U, registered to and operated by a private individual as a Title 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, crashed in Magee, Mississippi. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The student-rated pilot and three non-rated passengers received fatal injuries, and the airplane was destroyed. The flight originated in Atmore, Alabama, the same day, about 0057.
On September 24, 2004, a relative reported the family as missing to the Escambia Sheriff's Office, Escambia County, Florida, and on September 25, 2004, an investigation was initiated. The investigation revealed that that the family had last been seen on September 14, 2004, at the Atmore Airport, Atmore, Alabama. The investigation further revealed that the student pilot/aircraft owner had been preparing his house and property in Molino, Florida, in anticipation of the arrival of Hurricane Ivan. During the course of the investigation a relative revealed that the pilot had been frantically searching for an airport where he could move his airplane, in order to avoid Hurricane Ivan, since the airplane had not been insured.
After being notified on September 26, 2004, the U.S. Air Force Rescue Coordination Center initiated a case, and the Civil Air Patrol commenced a search. The accident airplane was discovered on October 4, 2004, by the Mississippi Wing of the Civil Air Patrol, in a thicket of trees, in a remote area of Simpson County, Mississippi, in geographic position 31 degrees 49.141 minutes North latitude, 089 degrees 48.853 West longitude, about 288 degrees magnetic, and about 2.5 nautical miles from the Magee Airport, Magee, Mississippi.
According to radar data obtained from the Air Force, on the night of the accident the pilot had over flown, and was maneuvering the accident airplane in the vicinity of the Magee Municipal Airport. His final radar position at noted to be at 0249:24, and the position was 31 degrees 52 minutes 33.9 seconds North latitude, 089 degrees 48 minutes, 28.9 Seconds West longitude. At that time the radar data showed the airplane to be at an altitude of 2300 feet, and having a climb rate of about 1,000 feet per minute.
Records obtained from the FAA showed that the pilot held an FAA student pilot certificate/third class medical issued on July 12, 2004. He also held an FAA airframe and powerplant license. The pilot's logbook, which was located in the wreckage, showed that the pilot commenced flight training in a Cessna 150 on August 2, 1976, and the last logbook entry was on September 9, 2003. According to the logbook, he had accumulated 96.5 flight hours, of which about 43.3 flight hours were in the same make and model airplane, as the accident airplane. His total flight experience according to the logbook showed that he had accumulated 3.4 hours of night flight experience, all of which was in the accident airplane, and he had no current endorsements, nor had he any recorded flight experience during the previous 90 days. The accident pilot's flight instructor also confirmed that the pilot had last received instruction on September 9, 2003.
N3832U was a 1964 Cessna 336, serial number 336-0132. The airplane was equipped with two 300-horsepower Teledyne Continental Motors IO-360-C4, mounted in forward and aft configurations. The airplane had received an annual inspection on August 18, 2004, at which time it had accumulated about 3,147.2 hours.
According to maintenance records, the front engine, serial number 50763-7-C, had been installed on July 18, 1996. At the time of the accident, the engine had accumulated about 2673 flight hours. The aft engine, serial number 10277-3-A, had been installed on October 6, 1995, and at the time of the accident, it had accumulated about 1753 flight hours.
The airplane was also equipped with two 2-bladed constant speed Hartzell propellers. The serial number of the one mounted on the forward engine was 721662 and the number on the aft engine was 692750.
Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The Jackson, Mississippi, 0254 surface weather observation was sky clear, visibility 8 statute miles, wind from 100 at 5 knots, temperature 21 degrees C, dew point temperature 20 degrees C, altimeter setting 29.91 inHg.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
N3832U crashed in a remote rural area in the township of Magee, in Simpson County, Mississippi. The airplane came to rest in an area of dense trees and shrubs and the heights of the trees varied from 20 to 75 feet. Signs of the initial impact were observed in the trees at a height of about 60 to 75 feet, and the airplane had collided with successive trees in the impact sequence, along a heading of about 100 degrees magnetic, and an impact angle of about 30 to 35 degrees.
The distance of the debris field when measured from the initial point of impact to the downstream most extremity along the debris path was about 200 feet. In addition the debris path was narrow, and airplane related debris was located consistent with the airplane being in a left wing low attitude. A few trees that were about 75 feet tall marked the point of initial impact, and the left wing and left rudder were observed in their vicinity. As the distance proceeded along the debris field, the main cabin and other fractured sections of the airplane were found. All sections of the airplane were confirmed to be present and were immediately located in the general vicinity of the main wreckage.
There was no evidence of a fire having occurred, but there were damaged trees shrubbery/grass in the area, which possessed a brown color. The airplane's cabin had incurred damage consistent with a high-energy impact, and it had compacted in an "accordion-like" manner, with the cowling, structure, gauges, wiring, upholstery, and other cabin-related debris being compressed together. All flight, navigation, and engine instruments exhibited damage consistent with the impact, and the seats were deformed, with the most damage occurring to the front seats/front cabin area, and diminishing further aft within the cabin.
Both wings had separated into large pieces. The left wing had severed at the cabin and had fractured into a four and a six-foot section, and the flaps had buckled. The flap indicator showed 15 degrees, with the flap selector being in the neutral position, however the flap actuator was consistent with the flaps being in the retracted position. All wing mounted fuel tanks displayed hydraulic deformation. The right wing had severed near the aileron/flap junction, and the three fuel tanks also displayed hydraulic deformation. The right tailboom had also severed from the right wing, and the associated rudder had severed at the upper and lower connecting points to the vertical stabilizer. The elevator indicator was destroyed, and the elevator tab position measured about 3.5 inches.
Further examination of the cabin revealed that the airspeed indicator read 0, the altimeter read 1,700 feet, and the heading indicator showed 130 degrees. The attitude indicator had tumbled for both roll and pitch, and the vertical speed indicator was destroyed. the turn and bank indicator was functioning and was consistent with normal operation. The magnetic compass was intact, and both Nav. No. 1 and 2 were destroyed. The master switch as well as the magneto switches for both the left and right magnetos for the left and right engines were noted to be on. The avionics switch, and the switch for the navigation lights were also on, and the landing and taxi light switches were noted to be in the off position.
The transponder was set to 1200, and the hour meter showed 3173.0 hours. the manifold pressure was noted to be 16.5 for engine No 1, and for engine No. 2 38.in addition, the fuel flow for engine No 1 was noted as 17, and for no 2. it was 6. The throttle control was positioned at the idle position, and the mixture control for both the left and right engine was about 1 inch aft. Both propeller control were full aft, the cowl flaps were both closed, the left primer was out, and the right one was positioned inboard.
All flight control surfaces were accounted for at the accident site, and severe impact forces with resulting compression and pinching in the area of the main wreckage precluded tracing flight control cable continuity in the area of the main cabin, however control continuity was confirmed on both sides of the compressed area to the flight controls, as well as the flight control surfaces, and all cable separations were consistent with tension overload. The front fuel selector handle was in the "Main Tank" position and the rear fuel selector handle was on the "Cross Feed" position.
The forward propeller had incurred impact damage, and the propeller assembly was broken free of the crankshaft and had incurred impact damage. One blade exhibited "S" bending, the tip was twisted and bent forward, and the trailing edge of the blade at midspan had a 7 inch gouge. Cordwise scoring was present on the face of the blade 4 inches inward from the tip. The other blade had a slight bow from the hub to the tip. The tip was twisted about 3 inches inboard, and chordwise scoring was present on the face of the blade at the tip.
The aft propeller assembly and the crankshaft propeller-mounting flange were broken free of the crankshaft and were damaged. The spinner and backing plate had also incurred impact damage. One propeller blade was bent aft about 10 degrees and it exhibited "S" bending, with the tip at the leading edge having scratches. however, the blade face, back, and trailing edge were intact. The second blade also had "S" bending from about midspan to the tip, and the leading edge, from the tip inboard 3 inches, had incurred impact damaged and was missing.
The front engine it was noted to have separated from the airframe, and incurred impact damage. The propeller had separated from the crankcase and it too had incurred damage. the crankcase was noted to have impact damage to the sump rails and accessory mounting area. However, no anomalies were noted which would have precluded engine operation. The engine assembly was noted to have continuity through both the crankshaft and camshaft gears, and the remaining gear train was missing. Compression was present on all cylinders, and a borescope examination revealed that the piston crowns were intact, and the pistons and cylinder assembly displayed normal combustion deposits. In addition, the valve faces were intact, seated, and exhibited normal combustion deposits. All spark plugs were intact, but had incurred impact damage. The magnetos had been separated during the impact and were not recovered.
During examination of the fuel system, the fuel pump was noted to have remained attached to the engine and it had incurred some impact damage, with the drive coupling remaining intact and the shaft rotated freely. The manifold valve was intact and had separated from the engine and had incurred impact damage when examined, the screen was intact, clean, and a trace of fuel was found. Fuel injector lines had impact damage and except for No.5 injector line, had detached and remained attached to the cylinder, with the other injector lines being attached to the manifold valve and nozzles which had been damaged. the throttle body/metering was missing.
During examination of the lubrication system, the oil sump/relief valve were noted to be intact, but had been damaged and was separated from the engine. The oil filter oil filter adapter, alternator, and crank case debris had separated from the crankcase. The drive gear and pump gear was also missing. In addition the oil sump, the oil pickup tube, and screen were also missing from the engine.
The vacuum pump had incurred impact damage. Its drive coupling was intact on the pump could not be rotated when turned by hand. The pump was disassembled and examined and the rotor had fractured and the blades were intact.
The aft engine had incurred impact damage and had separated from the airframe. The crankcase was intact and was not separated. The connecting rods, rod bearings, main bearing, counterweight s, camshaft, lifters, fuel pump gear, and propeller gear were intact, when viewed through the fractured oil sump. It was examined to and continuity to the crankshaft gear and valve train were noted. Compression was obtained on all cylinders, and the pistons and valve faces were intact. The spark plugs were intact but had been damaged. Both magnetos were intact and sparked at all distributor towers when rotated with a power drill. The throttle body was intact and undamaged. The fuel pump and drive coupling were intact and the pump turned freely by hand. The crankcase pistons and valve faces were all intact, and the oil sump had impact damage. The top and bottom spark plugs, induction system, throttle body, metering unit, manifold valve, lines and nozzles, fuel pump, propeller governor, both magnetos cylinders, push rods, oil pump and filter, oil cooler, alternator, and vacuum pump, were intact with some impact damage. In addition the starter, starter adapter, ignition harness, exhaust system, induction system and oil sump had impact damage as well.
Both magnetos had remained attached the aft engine. In addition of magnetos and impulse couplings were and tact and the magnetos produce spark when the distributor towers were turned with a power drill. He ignition harness had incurred impact damage to the No. 1 ignition lead which had severed at the spark plug. All other leads were found to be intact. Top Nos. 1, 2, and 3 spark plug cavities were gray in color and were free of carbon deposits. Top numbered 2, 4, and 6 spark plug cavities had oil on them, and a center electrode was warned to an oval shape. No 5-bottom spark plug had impact damage, and remaining bottom spark plugs were in tact, but all bottom spark plugs all had oval shapes and were gray in color.
On the fuel system to fuel pump and drive coupling were intact and undamaged the pump rotated freely when turned by hand. The manifold valve was intact and had impact damage. The fuel inlet and vent fittings were broken free of the manifold valve. When the manifold was examined the diaphragm was found to be intact and the screen was clean. with no fuel being found present. Fuel injector lines were intact, and fuel nozzle No. 5 had incurred impact damage, was free of obstruction, and had separated from the cylinder. The remaining nozzles were intact undamaged and were free of obstructions as well. The throttle body and metering unit was intact. The throttle mixture arm and fuel pump cam a well as the induction alternate air door were all intact.
On the lubrication system the oil pump a relief valve was intact. The oil screen was examined and the oil was clean and free of debris. The oil sump had incurred impact damage and the oil pickup had been damaged but its screen was clean.
The cylinder valve covers are removed to, and a rocker arms, shafts, and push rods, were intact undamaged and well lubricated. Examination of cylinder domes and barrels using a borescope revealed that they were intact, and exhibited no unusual signatures. Examination of the cylinders and pistons using a borescope reveal they intact and exhibited normal combustion deposits, with no scoring being evident.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
Pathologists with the Simpson County Medical Examiner's Office performed postmortem examinations on the pilot and 3 passengers. According to the Coroner, the cause of death is attributed to blunt force trauma. No findings, which could be considered causal were reported.
The FAA Toxicology Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, conducted toxicology studies on specimens from the pilot. The samples were tested for volatiles and drugs. Pseudoephedrine was found to be present in the muscles.
On October 6, 2004, the NTSB released the wreckage of N3832U to Sheriff Lewis, Sheriff of Simpson County, Mississippi.