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On November 9, 2006, approximately 1205 Pacific standard time, a Beech D35, N2843V, sustained substantial damage after impacting terrain during a forced landing following a loss of engine power about 1 nautical mile southwest of Sanderson Field (SHN), Shelton, Washington. The certificated private pilot, sole occupant of the airplane, received fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight, which was operated in accordance with 14 CFR Part 91, and no flight plan was filed. The flight departed SHN about 1130, with its destination unknown.
Four pilot-rated witnesses supplied the NTSB investigator-in-charge (IIC) with witness statements. The first witness reported observing the accident airplane doing an engine run up prior to its takeoff, and commented that there was nothing that sounded unusual with the engine prior to it departing Runway 23. The second pilot-rated witness, who had just completed a skydiving flight, stated that while in close proximity to the airport preparing to enter the traffic pattern to land, he heard the pilot of the accident airplane state that he "had a problem" and would be landing on Runway 05. The skydiving pilot stated that he subsequently observed the accident airplane in a spiral just before impact. A third witness, an instructor pilot who was in the process of landing on Runway 23, reported hearing the accident pilot say that he had experienced an engine problem and was on about a 5 mile final approach to Runway 05. The instructor pilot further reported that after landing he observed the accident airplane in a slow descent to Runway 05, then pitch up, followed by the right wing dropping. The instructor stated that he continued to watch the airplane descend until it disappeared behind a stand of trees. A fourth witness, an off duty pilot-rated fireman, reported being notified by the skydiving pilot on a portable radio that he had just witnessed an aircraft crash west of the runway (the approach end of Runway 05). The witness stated that he was one of the first responders to the accident site, and upon arrival [he] found the airplane in a near vertical nose down position. The witness further stated that during the time he was present at the accident site there was no overwhelming smell of fuel, nor was there any fuel observed leaking from the airplane. There was no post-accident fire.
On November 10, 2006, the IIC and two Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airworthiness inspectors traveled to the accident site. Initial documentation of the wreckage revealed that all components necessary for flight were accounted for. Both inspectors physically inspected the left wing fuel tank and auxiliary fuel tank, confirming that both cells were void of any fuel; the right wing fuel tank was ruptured and destroyed as a result of impact forces. It was also noted that there were no observable fuel stains to vegetation, as well as no latent fuel odor in the area. Additionally, it was also observed that the engine remained attached to the airframe and was embedded in a crater that was approximately 2 feet deep. Due to the inaccessibility of the engine and the inclement weather conditions present at the accident site, a more detailed examination of the airplane and engine was postponed until after the aircraft had been recovered to a secure facility.
FAA records revealed that the pilot possessed a private pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane ratings. A review of the pilot's logbooks indicated that he had accumulated a total of 510 flight hours, with 8 hours in the last 90 days, 5 hours in the last 60 days, and 3 hours in the preceding 30 days. The logbook review also disclosed that the pilot had accumulated 79 hours in the accident airplane since June, 2004. Pilot records also revealed that the pilot completed his most recent flight review on February 16, 2005, in the accident airplane. A review of records on file with the FAA Aero Medical Records Division indicated the pilot held a third-class medical certificate issued on December 15, 2005, with a restriction that he must have glasses available for near vision.
The 1947 Beech D35 airplane, serial number D-248, was a fixed wing, single-engine, retractable gear airplane, equipped with a Continental E185-11 engine, rated at 205 horsepower. The airplane was also equipped with a two-bladed Hartzell propeller. Maintenance records revealed that the airplane underwent its most recent annual inspection on September 18, 2006, at a total aircraft time of 4516.17 hours, and a tach time of 1811.17 hours.
The airplane's fuel system consisted of two 20-gallon tanks in each wing, with a total of 34 gallons usable. The fuel system also incorporated a 20 gallon auxiliary tank installed in the baggage compartment, of which 19 gallons was usable. Total fuel capacity was 60 gallons, with 53 gallons usable. According to a Raytheon Aircraft Company air safety investigator, information extracted from the Beech D35 Airplane Flight Manual (AFM) indicates that at a pressure altitude of 2,500 feet and a maximum gross takeoff weight of 2,500 pounds, the airplane would have a fuel flow of 9.7 gallons per hour (gph) at 65% maximum continuous power, and 11.2 gph at 75% maximum continuous power. According to the AFM, the airplane's endurance with full fuel tanks would be approximately 4.1 hours at 75% power and 4.8 hours at 65% power.
At 1153, the KSHN Automated Surface Observing System reported wind from 250 degrees at 5 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, few clouds at 2,100 feet, scattered clouds at 5,000 feet, temperature 9 degrees C, dew point 6 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.06 inches of Mercury.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The airplane impacted terrain in a heavily wooded area at a measured distance of 4,792 feet southwest of the departure end of Runway 23, and about 325 feet south of the runway's extended centerline on a magnetic heading of 223 degrees. A Global Positioning System (GPS) recorded the accident location at 47 degrees 13.57 minutes north latitude and 123 degrees 10.39 minutes west longitude, at an elevation of 267 feet mean sea level (msl). The airplane came to rest on its right side on a magnetic heading of 125 degrees, with its fuselage and empennage elevated approximately 10 degrees above the ground.
On November 14, 2006, the IIC, accompanied by an FAA airworthiness inspector, conducted an examination of the airplane and engine at the facilities of AvTech Service, LLC, of Kent, Washington.
The examination of the engine revealed that all cylinders were intact, with minor damage to forward upper right cooling fins of the #3 cylinder. The top spark plugs were removed and observed to be in good condition, with all showing fire at their terminals except #2 & #5, whose leads were cut just above the lead connection. The propeller was rotated by hand with continuity observed to the engine accessory gear section; all engine accessories were intact. There was no fuel detected from the fuel outlet line to the carburetor. The engine driven fuel pump was removed and observed to be intact and not compromised, with approximately 2 ounces of fuel drained form the component. The induction system was observed to be intact and not compromised.
The propeller remained attached to the propeller flange, with the propeller spinner observed bent and twisted. Propeller blade #1 was not damaged, while propeller blade #2 exhibited aft bending of approximately 20 degrees beginning about 6 inches from the propeller hub.
An examination of the airplane's cockpit area revealed that the pilot's control yoke was separated from the control column. The throttle, propeller, and mixture controls were all found in the full forward position, with the throttle control bent 90 degrees to the right. The fuel selector knob was found separated from the fuel selector handle. The roll pin, which secures the knob to the handle, was missing and not located at either the accident site, or during a subsequent examination of the wreckage following its recovery.
The aircraft's right wing remained attached to the fuselage but was crushed aft through its entire span to the front wing spar. The wing's aileron and flap sustained minor damage and remained attached to the wing at all attach points; the flap was in the retracted position. The right main landing gear was observed in the retracted up and locked position. The right wing fuel tank was ruptured, with no evidence of fuel present.
The airplane's left wing remained attached to the fuselage with the inboard half of the wing wrinkled on both the top and bottom surfaces. The outboard half of the wing was bent, twisted and wrinkled, with aft deformation to the outboard one-third of its leading edge. The wing's flap and aileron remained attached to the wing at all attach points. The flap was observed in the retracted position, while the aileron, which was bent upwards about 20 degrees at the mid-span area, was observed to be in the neutral position. The left main landing gear was found in the retracted position. The wing's fuel tank was observed intact with no evidence of fuel present.
Flight control continuity was established to all flight controls.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
On November 10, 2006, an autopsy was performed on the pilot at the facilities of the Mason County Coroner's Office in Shelton, Washington. The results of the examination revealed that the cause of death was attributed to blunt force injuries to the head, neck and chest.
Toxicological samples were tested at the FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The results of the examination revealed no cyanide detected in Blood, no ethanol detected in Vitreous, Terazosin present in Blood and Urine, and Naproxen detected in Urine.
TESTS AND RESEARCH
On November 20, 2006, under the supervision of the IIC, the aircraft's carburetor was examined at the facilities of Precision Engine Corporation, Everett, Washington. Bench/flow testing and a complete component teardown revealed no anomalies which would have precluded normal operation of the carburetor.
On December 14, 2006, the fuel assembly unit was removed and examined by the IIC, a Senior NTSB air safety investigator, and a FAA airworthiness inspector. The examination of the component revealed that the fuel valve was found selected to the left tank position. All three fuel ports of the fuel valve were observed to be unobstructed, and it was also observed that when the valve was rotated through each of the four 90-degree detented positions, movement was free and alignment was correct. The fuel strainer was removed and observed to be free of any foreign material. It was observed by the IIC that circumferential scoring signatures were present in the cup of the knob that retains the fuel selector handle.
Fueling Records and Flight Times
A review of fueling records and pilot logbook entries revealed that on the day after the airplane's annual inspection, September 19th, the airplane was fueled with 31.65 US gallons of low lead (LL) fuel; the airplane was subsequently flown for 1.1 hours on that day. Pilot logbook records indicate that the airplane was flown .85 hours on September 25th, 1 hour on October 5th, .90 hours on October 13th, 1.2 hours on October 22nd, and .70 hours on October 29th. The last recorded refueling occurred on October 22nd, when 27.6 gallons of 100LL fuel was added. As the pilot used a self-service fueling station, it could not be determined if refueling took place prior to or after a flight.
The airplane was released to a representative of the owner's insurance company on November 14, 2006.