LAX05FA062
LAX05FA062

On January 8, 2005, about 0815 mountain standard time, a Cessna 150J, N51256, collided with static power lines near Marana, Arizona. The private pilot operated the borrowed airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91. The airplane sustained substantial damage. The pilot, the sole occupant, sustained fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local area flight, and no flight plan had been filed. The flight departed Marana Regional Airport (AVQ), Tucson, Arizona, at an undetermined time, with a planned return to AVQ. The approximate global positioning system (GPS) coordinates of the primary wreckage were 33 degrees 49.05 minutes north latitude and 111 degrees 53.52 minutes west longitude.

According to the airplane owner, the pilot had stopped by his residence around 0600 on the morning of the accident to ask if he could take the owner's daughter on the flight. The owner indicated that it was too early to get her up, so the pilot went to the airport by himself. Around the time of the accident the owner and his spouse were in their front yard with their coffee and newspaper walking towards the back of the house when they saw the accident airplane. The airplane made one low pass over them. On the second pass, the airplane was headed to the west, and crossed over the power lines. They continued toward the back of their house as the airplane made the turn back toward the house. The owner then heard a "pop, a surging engine, and then a crash." As he came to the front of the house, the owner saw the airplane coming to its final resting place about 150 feet from the power lines with its nose in the ground.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector responded to the accident site and examined the airplane. He noted that the power lines ran in a north to south direction. The poles were measured at a height of 47 feet. The static power lines were about 2 feet below that, at a height of 45 feet. The most westerly static power line had been cut. The other cable wrapped around the airplane; however, it remained connected to the poles. The FAA inspector reported that he found green lens fragment from the right wing about 100 feet from the power lines, the first identified point of contact (FIPC). The propeller was 1.5 feet deep in a crater about 25 feet beyond the FIPC. A majority of the airplane came to rest at the main wreckage; 17 feet beyond the main wreckage was the left door and the engine. The engine came to rest on top of the left door. The airplane came to rest on a magnetic heading of 65 degrees. The owner's house was about 500 feet from the accident site.

The airframe and engine were examined at Air Transport, Phoenix, Arizona, on January 9, 2005, under the auspices of the National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge (IIC). The FAA and a representative from the Cessna Aircraft Company, a party to the investigation, were present for the investigation. There were no preexisting mechanical anomalies noted during the inspection of the airframe or engine.

The visual inspection of the airplane revealed an indentation mark that spanned the lower cowling from side to side and across the airbox. On the left side of the lower cowling near the exhaust port were chatter marks similar in appearance to the braiding of the static power line. On the right side of the lower cowling, about a foot outboard of the airbox port, was a large jagged separation. On the inner portion of the lower cowling were additional chatter marks.

Investigators conducted a visual examination of the engine with no discrepancies noted. They removed the top spark plugs. According to the Champion Aviation Check-A-Plug chart AV-27, the spark plugs exhibited coloration that showed operation in the normal range. The electrodes for numbers 1, 2, and 3 were normal to worn-out in appearance. The electrode for the number 4 spark plug separated from the spark plug assembly. Manual rotation of the engine from the crankshaft produced thumb compression in each cylinder in proper firing order. Both magnetos remained connected to their respective mounting pads at the engine. During manual rotation of the engine, both magnetos produced spark at their respective points.

Investigators inspected the propeller. One propeller blade showed S-bending and chordwise scratching. The aft-facing side of the propeller blade had chatter marks similar in appearance to the braiding of the static power line. The marks were 11 inches in length and ran from the trailing edge to the leading edge. The other propeller blade was relatively straight with chordwise scratching present. The aft-facing side of the propeller blade also had chatter marks. The marks were about 15 inches in length and ran from the leading edge to the trailing edge.

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