HISTORY OF FLIGHT Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
On March 29, 2005, approximately 1225 Pacific standard time, a Cessna T337E airplane, N1711M, was destroyed during an in-flight collision with water following an emergency descent and landing approximately one-half mile south of Point Lawrence, Orcas Island, Washington. The certificated commercial pilot received fatal injuries and the sole passenger sustained minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the 14 CFR Part 91 flight which was personal, and a flight plan was not filed. The flight departed the Blakely Island Airport (38WA), Blakely, Washington, at 1220, and its destination was the Bellingham International Airport (BLI), Bellingham, Washington.
In a telephone interview with the NTSB investigator-in-charge (IIC), and according the a statement submitted on June 24, 2005, (NTSB Form 6120.9), the passenger reported that the pilot performed the preflight by checking the fuel for water, inspected the entire airplane, and ran the engines up prior to departing. The passenger stated that about two minutes after taking off, "...one engine began to cut out, [the] pilot was switching [the] fuel selector while [the] second engine died. Impact was extreme and [the] windows were imploded. Water rushed in." The passenger further stated that after successfully exiting the airplane, he pulled the pilot out of his [the pilot's] window. The passenger reported that he and the pilot stood on the wing for about 30 minutes waiting for rescue craft to arrive; however, during this time the airplane began to sink in approximately 200 feet of water. The passenger related that as he swam away from the airplane he yelled at the pilot to swim toward the shoreline. The passenger stated that the pilot began swimming in his direction, but a short time later the pilot yelled back that he couldn't go any further. A boat responding to the accident site subsequently rescued the passenger and recovered the pilot.
A witness, who was working on Orcas Island, reported to the IIC of observing an airplane with its engine "missing," "cutting out," and "sputtering." The witness further reported that the airplane was heading north, then turned left, "...like it was trying to get back over land." The witness stated that he estimates the airplane was at least 1,000 feet above the ground, and that as the airplane continued its turn it was losing altitude and the engine was still sputtering. The witness reported that just before the airplane impacted the water he heard a "pop", but wasn't sure if it was the engine or the airplane hitting the water.
On May 2, 2005, Underwater Admiralty Services, Inc., of Kirkland, Washington, conducted a 6 hour search of the accident location with the intent of locating the aircraft for future recovery purposes. The results of the search proved negative, and no further search and/or recovery efforts are planned.
A review of FAA records revealed that the pilot was an instrument rated commercial pilot in airplane single-engine land and single-engine sea aircraft. The pilot held a second class medical certificate, dated January 13, 2004, with a limitation that he must have glasses available for near vision. On the application for the most recent medical certificate, the pilot reported his total flight time in all aircraft as 3,400 hours, with 80 hours accumulated in the previous 6 months.
The airplane was a Cessna T337E, serial number 33701311, which is a centerline thrust airplane with the engines configured ahead and behind the wing, along the centerline of the fuselage. Examination of the maintenance logbooks revealed the airplane had accumulated a total of 2,786.6 hours of operating time as of March 25, 2005. The forward engine's operating time since maintenance overhaul (TSMOH) was 1,280.0 hours and the aft engine's TSMOH 1,456.4 hours, as of March 25, 2005. The most recent annual documented in the logbooks was completed on March 25, 2005.
At 1253, the weather reporting facility at the Bellingham International Airport (BLI), located 12 nautical miles north-northeast of the accident site, reported wind 340 degrees at 5 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, scattered clouds at 400 feet, broken clouds at 1,500 feet, overcast clouds at 2,400 feet, temperature 7 degrees C, dew point 6 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 29.65 inches of Mercury.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy was performed on the pilot at the Snohomish County Medical Examiner's office, Everett, Washington, on March 30, 2005.
A Forensic Toxicology Fatal Accident Report was prepared by the FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
The toxicology report indicated the following results:
* No Carbon Monoxide detected in Blood * No Cyanide detected in Blood * No Ethanol detected in Vitreous * 30.77 (ug/ml, ug/g) Salicylate detected in Urine
Salicylate is part of a group of chemical substances with anti-inflammatory properties, which includes aspirin, choline salicylate, magnesium salicylate, sodium salicylate and salsalate.
Metoprolol was detected in Blood and present in Urine. Metoprolol is a prescription drug used in the treatment of high blood pressure.
A family member reported to the IIC that on June 18, 2004, the airplane had been involved in a gear up landing at Blakely Island. Repair of the airplane was conducted at the facilities of Chuckanut Aviation, located at the Burlington-Mount Vernon, Skagit Regional Airport (BVS), Burlington, Washington. On March 28, 2005, the day the airplane was scheduled to be picked up by the pilot, the aircraft was fueled with 55.2 gallons of aviation fuel. The pilot then flew two trips from BVS to Blakely Island, a distance of 20 nautical miles each way, to return family members and luggage to their home. After the pilot returned on the last leg to Blakely Island, the family member asked him how he felt about the airplane, to which the pilot replied "fine." The pilot said he wanted to do some touch-and-go takeoffs and landings, but cancelled the touch-and-goes when it started to rain. The family member then related that after the accident she spoke with the passenger on the accident flight, who told her that after the engine started to "sputter" the pilot said he was switching tanks, and then both engines quit. The family member stated that she thought the passenger also said the pilot attempted to restart the engines.