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On March 4, 2007, about 1525 eastern standard time, a Beech 95-C55, N100FG, registered to Northwest Jersey Airways, Inc., experienced an in-flight loss of control following loss of power in one engine, and collided with the ground, during takeoff from Spruce Creek Airport, Port Orange, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 personal, local flight. The airplane was substantially damaged and the commercial-rated pilot, the sole occupant, was fatally injured.
The pilot announced on the Spruce Creek Airport UNICOM frequency that the flight was departing from runway 23. A pilot-rated witness located near the intersection of runway 5/23 and "Beech Boulevard" reported that the airplane became airborne before that intersection, and "yawed to the left." He thought an instructor had given "a V1 or VR left engine cut." The airplane climbed out slowly to no greater than 50 to 60 feet above ground level (agl), and with the landing gear extended, the "...left wing dropped and it went straight down." He further stated he did not hear any loud engine noises or power changes.
Several witnesses reported seeing the airplane "swaying," "rock", or "shifting" side to side, and also hearing surging or sputtering from what they thought was the left engine. The airplane was in a steep climb, rolled to the left, and pitched straight down.
Another pilot-rated witness located immediately adjacent to the crash site reported the airplane was only 25 feet above the peak of a hangar with the landing gear extended and in a slight nose high attitude. While flying southbound the airplane banked to the right and while flying at an estimated 75 feet agl, the airplane, "...snapped roll to the left." Both propellers were rotating but the engines were not "running hard"; he did not hear any sputtering. There was no smoke trailing the airplane. Postcrash he noted fuel dripping from the damaged part of the left wing.
The pilot, age 67, held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane multiengine land, and instrument airplane, issued March 8, 1975, and a second class medical certificate issued April 21, 2005. His last flight review in accordance with 14 CFR Part 61.56 occurred on January 23, 2007. He listed a total flight time of 4,500 hours on his last medical application, and as of May 17, 2005, he had logged 2,977 hours in multi-engine land airplanes.
The airplane was manufactured by Beech Aircraft Corporation in 1967, as model 95-C55, serial number TE-438. It was powered by two 285 horsepower Teledyne Continental IO-520-C engines. It was equipped McCauley 3AF32C75-NR constant speed, full manual-feathering propellers. The maintenance records were not located; however, the airframe and powerplant mechanic with inspection authorization who performed the last inspection reported an annual inspection was performed on September 15, 2006. The airplane had accumulated 11.7 hours since the inspection at the time of the accident.
A surface observation weather report taken at Daytona Beach International Airport, Daytona Beach, Florida, at 1453, or approximately 32 minutes before the accident indicates clear skies existed, the temperature and dew point were 21 and 02 degrees Celsius respectively, and the altimeter setting was 30.11 inches of mercury. The Daytona Beach International Airport is located approximately 6 nautical miles due north of the Spruce Creek Airport.
National Transportation Safety Board review of recordings of the Spruce Creek Airport, Common Traffic Advisory Frequency revealed there was no distress call made by the pilot.
The Spruce Creek Airport is private and has one runway designated 05/23, which is 4,000 feet long and 176 feet wide.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The airplane crashed next to a hangar located on the private airstrip and had descended nearly vertical coming to rest approximately 205 degrees magnetic and 1,721 feet from the intersection of the centerline of runway 23 and Beech Boulevard. The wreckage came to rest with the empennage elevated approximately 20 degrees past vertical. All components necessary to sustain flight were attached or in close proximity to the main wreckage. The right propeller separated from the engine but was found 2 feet forward of the engine; the propeller hub flange threads were stripped. The landing gear was locked in the down position. Minimal fuel smell was noted at the scene.
Examination of the wreckage following recovery confirmed flight control continuity for roll, pitch, and yaw. Rudder, left aileron, and elevator trim tab positions were neutral, 6 degrees tab trailing edge down, and 12 degrees tab trailing edge down, respectively. Examination of the cockpit revealed the left and right fuel selector handles were in each auxiliary fuel tank detent. A placard adjacent to the fuel selector panel indicates the fuel selectors are to be positioned to the main tank position for takeoff and landing. During recovery of the airplane, with Safety Board oversight, approximately 1/4 gallon and 9 gallons respectively of 100-low lead (100 LL) fuel were drained from the left and right auxiliary fuel tanks. No leakage was noted from the left auxiliary or main fuel tanks. Ten gallons and 1/4 gallon of 100 LL fuel respectively were drained from the left and right main fuel tanks. No contamination was noted in any recovered fuel. No obstructions were noted for the left and right wing fuel supply lines from each mechanical fuel pump in the engine compartment to both tanks in each wing. Both left and right main tank recessed alternate vent lines were blocked with tan colored material; however, both outboard fuel vent lines of each main tank were free of obstructions. The recessed alternate vent of the right auxiliary fuel tank was also blocked by tan colored material; however, the outboard vent of the same tank was free of obstructions.
The left engine was removed from the airframe and sent to the engine manufacturer's facility for an engine test run. Impact damaged components listed in the manufacturer's report were replaced, and a test club appropriate for the engine was installed. The engine started immediately, but a "massive" oil leak at the accessory end of the engine, and fuel leakage at the fuel control metering and mixture shafts were noted; both were attributed to impact damage. Excessive fuel flow during the engine run was attributed to impact damage to the fuel pump low pressure adjustment screw. The compressed adjustment screw was relieved from its compressed state and the engine test run continued but was limited due to the excessive oil leak. Throughout the engine test run no hesitation, stumbling, or interruption in engine power was noted. Post run differential compression readings revealed low compression in the No. 6 cylinder from blow-by past the exhaust valve and piston rings.
Examination of the right engine revealed crankshaft, camshaft, and valve train continuity. Each magneto was properly timed to the engine and produced spark at all spark plugs during hand rotation of the engine. All but the No. 2 fuel injector nozzle were free of obstructions; the No. 2 nozzle was partially obstructed. Borescope examination of all cylinders revealed normal combustion deposits. Examination of the lubrication system revealed no evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction. The oil filter was cut open and no ferrous particles were noted. The fuel manifold valve, mechanical fuel pump, and throttle body fuel control unit were removed and also sent to the engine manufacturer's facility for further examination. Impact damage to the mechanical fuel pump precluded operational testing in accordance with the accepted test procedure. Disassembly of the fuel manifold valve revealed no evidence of preimpact failure or malfunction. Bench testing of the throttle body fuel control unit revealed all recorded fuel flows were greater than specification; however, the recorded values can be subject to adjustment.
Examination of the left propeller, which remained attached to the engine, revealed all propeller blades remained secured in the propeller hub, which was impact damaged. Two propeller blades were bent aft approximately 30 degrees, and the third propeller blade was not bent. The third blade exhibited scratches on the cambered side of the blade.
Examination of the right propeller, which separated from the engine at impact, revealed all propeller blades remained secured in the propeller hub, All propeller blades were bent aft varying degrees, and one of the propeller blades exhibited slight leading edge twisting towards low pitch.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
Postmortem examination of the pilot was performed by the Office of the Medical Examiner, Districts 7 & 24, Daytona Beach, Florida. The cause of death was listed as "multiple injuries."
Forensic toxicology was performed on specimens of the pilot by the FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory (FAA Laboratory), Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and AIT Laboratories, Indianapolis, Indiana. The FAA toxicology report indicated the results were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, and volatiles. An unquantified amount of "Atenolol" was detected the submitted blood and urine specimen. The AIT Laboratories toxicology report indicated the results were positive for "caffeine."
TEST AND RESEARCH
The Airplane Operating Handbook (AOH) states use of auxiliary fuel tank position for takeoff is not approved.