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On October 30, 2004, at 1730 eastern daylight time, a Bellanca Citabria 7ECA, N57388, registered to and operated by a private owner, collided with the ground shortly after takeoff from runway 24 at Summerville Airport, Summerville, South Carolina. The personal flight operated under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91with no flight plan filed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The private pilot and pilot-rated passenger received fatal injuries. The flight originated at Summerville, South Carolina, at 1728, on October 30, 2004.
According to witnesses, the pilot performed an engine run-up and then departed from runway 24. Witnesses state that the take-off appeared and sounded to be normal. The airplane reached approximately 400 feet above the ground, beyond the end of the runway and witnesses report no longer hearing engine noise or seeing the propeller turning. The airplane was observed entering a steep left turn toward runway 06 and disappeared below the tree line. Witnesses recalled hearing the engine start again and then heard the airplane collide with the ground.
Review of information on file with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airman's Certification Division, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, revealed the pilot was issued a private pilot certificate on October 10, 1979 with a rating for airplane single engine land. Review of the FAA aeromedical records showed that the pilot held a third class medical certificate issued on March 23, 2004, with the restriction "must have available glasses for near vision." The pilot's log book was not located. The pilot's medical records revealed that he reported 400 flight hours.
Review of information on file with the FAA Airman's Certification Division, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, revealed that the pilot-rated passenger was issued an airline transport pilot certificate on May 29, 2003 with ratings for airplane single engine land and airplane multiengine land. The pilot-rated passenger also holds a flight instructor certificate issued on May 06, 2004 with ratings airplane single engine and multiengine land. Review of the FAA aero medical records indicated that he held a second class commercial limited medical certificate issued on January 15, 2004 with the restriction "must wear corrective lenses." The pilot-rated passenger's medical records showed that he had reported 7900 flight hours.
The airplane is a two place, tandem seating, high wing 1973 Bellanca Citabria 7ECA with conventional landing gear. The Citabria is powered by a carbureted, four cylinder, horizontally opposed, direct drive Lycoming O-235 engine. At the time of the accident, the tachometer time was 1279.21 hours and the hobbs time was 1340.1 hours. A review of maintenance records revealed that the last recorded annual inspection was conducted on January 12, 2004 at tachometer time 1265.15.
A lineman of the Summerville Airport FBO stated that the aircraft was topped of on October 17, 2004 with 7.2 gallons of 100 low lead fuel. This was the last refueling record found.
The nearest weather reporting facility at the time of the accident was Charleston International Airport, Charleston, South Carolina. The 2156 Zulu surface weather observation was clear, visibility 10 miles, temperature 71-degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 70-degrees Fahrenheit, wind variable and altimeter 30.01"Hg.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
Examination of the accident site revealed the airplane rested south of the approach end of runway 06, 40 feet to the left of the taxiway, next to a retention pond. The wreckage debris was spread 62 feet across and the nose of the airplane was on a 300-degree magnetic heading. The propeller was separated from the engine mount and came to rest 23 feet from the engine. The spinner was still attached to the propeller and showed little damage. The top cowling of the engine was detached and came to rest 26 feet from the engine. The gascolator was broken off and never recovered and the carburetor was separated at the neck. The exhaust system and battery had crush damage.
The right wing was detached except for one leading edge attach fitting. The right wing also had crush damage from the leading edge aft. Witnesses reported that fuel was pouring from the right wing fuel tank at the time of the accident and there was approximately four gallons of fuel remaining in the tank. The left wing was separated from all attach points and resting against the left side of the fuselage. The left fuel tank was still approximately full. Both the left and right wing spars were broken approximately two-thirds out from the wing root. The fuel shut-off was found in the on position and actuated without binding. Continuity of the flight control system was established.
The engine was recovered from the accident site and further examination disclosed that both magnetos produced ignition sparks through the spark plug leads during engine rotation. Engine continuity was confirmed and all four cylinders produced compression. During the functional test of the engine, the engine ran for over two minutes at 1750 RPM.
The post-accident examination of the airframe and subsystems failed to disclose any mechanical problems or component failure.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
There was no post mortem examination conducted on the private pilot.