HISTORY OF FLIGHT Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
On November 24, 2004, at 1204 eastern standard time, a Cessna 310R, N310DM, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain near Paeonian Springs, Virginia while executing an instrument approach to the Leesburg Executive Airport (JYO), Leesburg, Virginia. The certificated commercial pilot and passenger were fatally injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed for the flight that originated from the Wilmington International Airport (ILM), Wilmington, North Carolina. The personal flight was conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.
According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) air traffic control transcripts, at 1104, the pilot was provided weather for his destination. At 1106:12, the pilot was provided a heading to maintain until receiving the Casanova VORTAC. After the VORTAC, the pilot was to then fly direct to the Leesburg airport. About one minute later, the air traffic controller re-iterated the assigned heading to the pilot, and asked him if he was on that heading. The pilot replied, "we're returning to it something knocked off the ah autopilot there we got out of control for a few seconds." At 1129:28, the pilot was asked which approach he preferred at Leesburg, which he replied, "the localizer approach." At 1143:51, the controller instructed the pilot to proceed direct to the STILL intersection, which he replied, "ah direct still three ten delta mike tell me where still is." The controller replied that the intersection was on the localizer, and subsequently assigned the pilot a heading.
At 1150:29, the controller cleared the pilot for the LOC RWY 17 approach at Leesburg, and asked him if he was established. The pilot replied, "coming up on now." At 1150:48, the controller asked the pilot if he was established on the localizer. The pilot replied, "ah we just as we just lost it." The controller then issued a heading for the pilot to re-intercept the localizer. At 1152:01, the controller again asked the pilot if he was established on the localizer. The pilot replied, "sure we're we're established." The controller then terminated the radar services, and instructed the pilot to "call with a cancellation."
Review of radar data revealed that at 1150:31, as the airplane was about 1-mile south of STILL intersection, at 2,600 feet; it began a right hand turn towards the final approach course. During the turn, the airplane descended from 2,600 feet, to 2,200 feet, and then ascended to 2,800 feet. The right hand turn continued, and the airplane began to fly west, away from the final approach course. At 1151:12, when the airplane was about 1-mile west of the final approach course, a left hand turn was initiated back toward the final approach course. During the turn, the airplane descended from 2,700 feet, to 2,200 feet, and then ascended to 2,700 feet. At 1152:22, about 6 miles prior to the runway 17 threshold, the airplane intercepted the final approach course and began a descent. About 20 seconds later, the airplane made a right hand turn and began to track a parallel heading, about 1/2-mile west of the final approach course. The descent continued to 600 feet until about 5 miles prior to the runway 17 threshold, where a climb began at 1154:03, followed by a right hand turn. The right turn continued to a point where the airplane began to track northwesterly parallel to the final approach course.
At 1154:04, the pilot transmitted to air traffic control that he was executing a missed approach from Leesburg. After not hearing a reply, the pilot subsequently transmitted two more times that he was executing the missed approach. At 1154:35, the controller acknowledged the pilot's transmissions, and instructed him to "ident" and to state his intentions, to which the pilot replied, "we'd like to go and try another one." The airplane was vectored back to the final approach course, and at 1158:23, about five miles from the WARDE intersection, was again cleared for the LOC RWY 17 approach at Leesburg. At 1159:16, the controller terminated radar services, and the pilot replied, "thank you." No further radio transmissions were received from the pilot.
Review of radar data revealed that at 1158:49, as the airplane was about 3/4-mile southwest of STILL intersection, at 2,900 feet; it began a right hand turn towards the final approach course. At 1200:08, about 6 miles prior to the runway 17 threshold, the airplane intercepted the final approach course and began a descent. The airplane continued to track the final approach course, and about 7 miles prior to the runway 17 threshold, the last radar return was received at 1201:54, which indicated an altitude of 700 feet.
The airplane came to rest about 6.5 miles from the runway 17 threshold.
The accident occurred during the hours of daylight, at 39 degrees, 09.819 minutes north longitude, 77 degrees, 35.737 minutes west latitude, at an elevation of 717 feet.
The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine land, airplane multiengine land, and instrument airplane. The pilot's most recent application for an FAA third class medical certificate was dated on November 11, 2004. The pilot reported on the application that he had accumulated about 9,000 total hours of flight experience, 140 hours of which were during the previous 6 months. The pilot's logbook was not recovered during the investigation.
The airplane's logbooks were not recovered during the investigation.
The weather reported at Leesburg, at 1104, included winds from 150 degrees at 7 knots; 1-1/4 statute miles of visibility; an overcast cloud layer at 300 feet agl; temperature 56 degrees Fahrenheit; dew point 56 degrees Fahrenheit; and an altimeter setting of 29.85 inches of mercury. At 1141, the weather included winds from 150 degrees at 6 knots; 5 statute miles of visibility; an overcast cloud layer at 300 feet agl; temperature 56 degrees Fahrenheit; dew point 56 degrees Fahrenheit; and an altimeter setting of 29.82 inches of mercury. At 1201, the weather included winds from 150 degrees at 5 knots; 10 statute miles of visibility; an overcast cloud layer at 300 feet agl; temperature 56 degrees Fahrenheit; dew point 56 degrees Fahrenheit; and an altimeter setting of 29.80 inches of mercury.
Leesburg Airport was an uncontrolled airport, and utilized a common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF) for air traffic communications. The CTAF was also used for pilot controlled lighting.
The elevation of Leesburg Airport was 389 feet.
AIDS TO NAVIGATION
Review of the LOC RWY 17 instrument approach procedure at Leesburg revealed that the final approach fix (FAF), identified as WARDE intersection, was located 5 miles from the runway 17 threshold. The minimum crossing altitude at WARDE was 1,800 feet msl. The minimums for the straight in approach to runway 17, utilizing distance measuring equipment (DME), were 1 statute mile of visibility, and a minimum descent altitude of 720 feet msl (400 feet agl). The minimums for the straight in approach to runway 17, without utilizing distance measuring equipment (DME), were 1 statute mile of visibility, and a minimum descent altitude of 1,100 feet msl (800 feet agl). No procedure turn was required for the approach.
In addition, STILL intersection was located along the final approach course, 11.2 miles from the runway 17 threshold.
Examination of the accident site on November 25, 2004, revealed that the terrain where the first impact point was observed consisted of hardwood trees reaching a height of about 80 feet. The wreckage path was about 250 feet in length, and oriented on an approximate 178-degree heading, with the main fuselage coming to rest on a grass lawn on an approximate 110-degree heading.
Surrounding the area of the first tree strike, were branches of varying diameters cut at 45-degree angles and displaying black paint transfer. Along the wreckage path were skin sections from the left and right wings and the empennage assembly. The left and right wing tip fuel tanks (main fuel tanks), were fragmented into several sections. The landing lights, which were installed in each of the tip tanks, were observed in the extended position. Post crash fire and soot damage was also observed on sections of the fragmented wing tip tank sections.
Also noted along the wreckage path was the left engine propeller assembly, with two of the blades remaining attached. The blades displayed s-bending and slight chord-wise scratching. The third blade, which separated from the assembly, was located about 40 feet beyond the other blades. The blade was twisted and bent rearward, and had two leading edge nicks and slight chord-wise scratching. A section of the number 6 cylinder head was located near the separated blade. When the blade was placed in the position where it would have been installed on the engine, the leading edge nicks were adjacent to the number 6 cylinder area.
All flight control surfaces were accounted for at the accident site.
The left engine was separated from the airplane structure. The crankshaft could not be rotated due to impact damage. With the exception of the number 6 cylinder, the top spark plugs of all remaining cylinder heads were removed; their electrodes were intact and light gray in color. The left and right magnetos were separated from the engine, and only the left magneto was located during the wreckage examination. Attempts to test the left magneto were unsuccessful due to impact damage. The left engine's vacuum pump was removed from the engine case. When rotated, suction from the inlet and outlet lines was observed. Fuel was present at the fuel distributor.
The right engine remained attached to the main fuselage. The 3-bladed propeller assembly remained attached to the engine. All three blades displayed s-bending and slight chord-wise scratching. The right engine was rotated via the propeller assembly. Thumb compression and valve train continuity was confirmed to all cylinders. The right engine's vacuum pump was removed from the engine case. Examination of the pump revealed that it sustained impact damage, and was seized. Disassembly of the pump did not reveal any abnormalities. The top spark plugs of all the cylinder heads were removed; all of the spark plug electrodes, except the number 5 cylinder spark plug which was sooted, were intact and light gray in color. The left and right magnetos were removed from the engine case and rotated by hand. Spark was observed from all leads. Fuel was present at the fuel distributor.
Examination of the cockpit area revealed that the left and right fuel selectors were selected to their respective main tanks. The flap selector switch was observed in the retracted position.
The pilot's altimeter displayed 190 feet, and the Kollsman window displayed an altimeter setting of 29.83 inches of mercury.
The throttle, mixture, and propeller controls were observed in the full forward position.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The Commonwealth of Virginia, Department of Health, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Fairfax, Virginia, performed an autopsy on the pilot, on November 26, 2004.
The FAA Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma conducted toxicological testing on the pilot.
The airplane wreckage was released on November 25, 2004, to a representative of the owners insurance company.