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On March 5, 2007, at approximately 1035 eastern standard time, a Cessna 150M, N66513, piloted by a student pilot was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain and a house in Bedford, Indiana. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The personal flight was being operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91 without a flight plan. The student pilot and his passenger were fatally injured. There were no ground injuries reported. The local area flight departed the Virgil I. Grissom Municipal Airport (BFR), Bedford, Indiana, at approximately 0900.
Eyewitnesses reported that the airplane was on a high final approach to runway 6 when it made a sudden 90-degree left turn to the north. The airplane then momentarily leveled its wings before entering a 45-degree dive toward the ground. The eyewitnesses thought it was unusual that the airplane was maneuvering toward runway 6, because the winds were out of the west.
According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the student pilot, age 47, was issued his student pilot and third-class medical certificate on November 14, 2006. The medical certificate had the limitation "holder must wear corrective lenses."
The student pilot had accumulated 15.9 hours total flight time since commencing flight training in July 2006. All of his flight training was completed in a Cessna 150 airplane. His only solo flight was completed on January 20, 2007, and was under the supervision of his flight instructor. The solo flight was 0.3 hours in duration. During the previous 90-days, 30-days, and 24-hours, the pilot had flown 5.7 hours, 1.6 hours, and 1.6 hours total flight time, respectively.
The accident airplane was a single engine 1975 Cessna 150M (Commuter II), serial number 15076092. The airplane incorporated a strutted high-wing design with a fixed tricycle landing gear, and could accommodate two occupants. The airplane was powered by a Teledyne Continental Motors O-200-A48 four-cylinder, carbureted, reciprocating engine. The 100-horsepower engine provided power through a McCauley 1A102/OCM two-bladed propeller. The metal propeller was a fixed-pitch design.
According to the maintenance logbooks, the last annual inspection was completed on October 16, 2006, at 6,745 total airframe hours. At the time of the accident, the airplane had accumulated 6,838 hours since new and the engine had accumulated 1,423 hours since its last overhaul. A review of the airframe, engine and propeller records found no history of unresolved airworthiness issues.
The Virgil I. Grissom Municipal Airport (BFR) was equipped with an automated surface observing system (ASOS). At 1055, the BFR ASOS reported the following weather conditions: wind 260 degrees true at 6 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; sky clear; temperature 7 degrees Celsius; dew point -3 degrees Celsius; altimeter setting 30.26 inches of mercury.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The airplane contacted a tree line before impacting an asphalt driveway and a house. The house was about 0.3 miles north-northwest of the runway 6 threshold. The tree line was about 90 feet south of where the airplane impacted the driveway. The calculated descent angle was 28-degrees. The airplane nose and engine penetrated the south-facing external wall and subfloor of the house. Both wing leading edges were crushed rearward. The ailerons and flaps remained attached to their respective wings. The wing flaps were in a fully retracted position. The empennage remained attached to the fuselage, with the rudder and elevator still attached to their respective hinges. Flight control cable continuity was confirmed at the accident site.
The engine was rotated by turning the propeller flange. Crankshaft continuity was confirmed to all engine cylinders, rear gear assemblies, and the valve train. Compression and suction was confirmed on all four cylinders. Both magnetos provided spark while the crankshaft was rotated. The upper spark plugs were light brown in color and exhibited wear consistent with normal engine operation. Both propeller blades exhibited pronounced chord-wise scratching.
Examination of the wreckage revealed no evidence of a pre-impact mechanical malfunction.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
On March 6, 2007, an autopsy was performed on the pilot at the Dunn Memorial Hospital, Bedford, Indiana. The cause of death was attributed to an "aircraft crash with multiple blunt force injuries."
The FAA's Civil Aeromedical Institute in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology tests on the pilot. No carbon monoxide or cyanide was detected in blood, no ethanol was detected in vitreous, and no drugs were detected in blood.
According to the Indiana State Police, the student pilot and his ex-wife had an on-going custody dispute concerning their minor daughter. The passenger on board the airplane was the pilot's minor daughter. The house that the airplane impacted belonged to the pilot's ex-mother-in-law. The event was handled by the Indiana State Police as a murder/suicide homicide investigation.
According to FAA regulation 14 CFR Part 61.89(a), a student pilot is prohibited from acting as pilot-in-command of an aircraft carrying passengers.