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On February 09, 2007, at 1815 eastern standard time, a Beech A36, N506BC, registered to and operated by Blue Heron Aviation Sales LLC, was destroyed when it went out of control and broke up in-flight over Fort Stewart, Georgia. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was being conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91, and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan had been filed. The private pilot and three passengers were fatally injured. The flight originated from Space Coast Regional Airport, Titusville, Florida, on February 09, at 1644, and was en route to Anderson Regional Airport, Anderson, South Carolina.
According to the personnel from the FAA Jacksonville Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC), the pilot contacted controllers at 1741, and reported he was operating under visual flight rules at 9,500 feet. The pilot then advised the controller that he had an IFR flight plan on file which was to be opened over the Malcolm McKinnon Airport, Brunswick, Georgia. At 1748, the controller contacted the pilot and activated his IFR flight plan. The controller cleared the pilot "direct to the Anderson Regional Airport and advised him to descend and maintain 9,000 feet." At 1753, the pilot requested to climb to 11,000 feet. The controller acknowledged and advised the pilot that there were reports of icing between 12,000 and 16,000 feet, and if "it began to affect him, [to] let [him] know." The pilot acknowledged the weather advisory and reported that he would be "on top of it." At 1757, the pilot requested to climb to 13,000 feet. The controller cleared the pilot to climb and maintain 13,000 feet. Shortly thereafter, the pilot advised the controller that he was "experiencing some precipitation" and requested to descend to 11,000 feet. The controller cleared the pilot to descend to 11,000 feet. During the descent the airplane was lost off radar in a right descending turn. At 2214, Wright Army Airfield Control Tower personnel notified the Coast Guard of a downed airplane. The Coast Guard reported that they were getting a faint emergency signal on the Fort Stewart Military Reservation. At 2343, parts of the airplane were located in a heavily wooded area on the Fort Stewart Military Reservation, Hinesville, Georgia.
The pilot, age 32, held a private pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land rating, dated July 15, 2005, and an instrument rating, dated November 14, 2005. When he applied for the instrument rating, he listed his total flight time as 320 hours, 240 hours of which were as pilot-in-command. His total instrument time was listed as 52.5 hours. He held a third class airman medical certificate, dated February 4, 2004, containing no restrictions or limitations. The pilot's logbooks were not recovered for review.
N506BC (s.n. E-1024), a model A-36, was manufactured by the Beech Aircraft Corporation in 1977. It was equipped with a new Continental IO-550-B-51 engine (s.n. 828947-R), manufactured on May 16, 2005, and installed on June 28, 2005, and a McCauley all-metal, 3-blade, constant speed propeller (m.n. 3A32C-76-S-MR, s.n. 770173). According to the maintenance records, the last annual/100-hour inspection was done on January 25, 2007, at a tachometer and total time of 3530.9. There was no documentation of recent IFR certification, the last of which being dated December 26, 2002. Examination of the airplane also revealed that it was no equipped with weather radar.
AIDS TO NAVIGATION
There were no reported difficulties with aids to navigation.
There were no communication difficulties.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
Examination of the wreckage site revealed that the airplane was located off Fort Stewart road 36 approximately .3 miles south of 144 west. The wreckage of the airplane was scattered over an area of 1-1/2 miles. All primary flight control surfaces and airframe components were located in the wreckage area during the ground and air search.
The wing spar and rear spar attachments were examined by NTSB's Materials Laboratory. "All fracture faces showed features typical of overstress separation." There was no evidence of fatigue cracking.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
Autopsies were performed on the pilot and the three passengers by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's Medical Examiner. In all three cases, death was attributed to "blunt force injury sustained as a result of an airplane crash."
Toxicological screening performed by the FAA's Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI) found 0.0397 (ug/ml, ug/g) tetrahydrocannabinol, 0.128 (ug/ml, ug/g) tetrahydrocannabinol carboxylic acid in the pilot's blood, and 2.5494 (ug/ml, ug/g) tetrahydrocannabinol carboxylic acid in his urine.
A similar toxicological screen performed on one of the passengers revealed the presence of marijuana, Hydrocodone, Norpropoxyphene, and acetaminophen. Photos taken at the accident site showed a bag of marijuana on the ground.
The pilot's most recent application for airman medical certificate indicated "No" for "Substance dependence or failed a drug test ever, or substance abuse or use of illegal substance in the last 2 years" and for "history of any conviction(s) involving driving while intoxicated by, while impaired by, or while under the influence of alcohol or a drug ...."