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On May 26, 2007, at 1107 eastern daylight time, a Columbia Aircraft Manufacturing LC42-550FG, N2537A, was destroyed when it impacted several parked airplanes during an aborted landing at Mountain Air Airport (2NC0), Burnsville, North Carolina. The certificated commercial pilot/owner, a pilot-rated passenger, and a second passenger were fatally injured. An instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the flight, which departed Albert Whitted Airport (SPG), St. Petersburg, Florida, at 0802. The personal flight was conducted under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.
Several witnesses observed the airplane as it approached the airport, and all provided written or verbal statements that depicted a similar series of events. Most of the witness were either former or current pilots, or observed operations at the airport on a regular basis.
According to the witnesses, the airplane entered the airport traffic pattern, and transmitted all of the expected radio calls; however as the airplane approached runway 32 it was "high and fast." The airplane touched down within the first third of the runway and bounced about 10 to 20 feet above the surface. The airplane continued about 300 feet further down the runway and bounced again, in a 20- to 30-degree nose up attitude, and with the speed brakes deployed. The airplane veered left of the runway centerline and the engine sound increased to "full power."
As the airplane headed toward an embankment off the left side of the runway, it rolled right, and the right wing tip scraped the runway. After traveling up the embankment, the airplane turned back right toward the runway and a row of airplanes parked along the apron that paralleled the runway. The airplane continued across the runway, and impacted two parked airplanes before striking a Cirrus SR-22, deploying its parachute in the process. The accident airplane finally impacted a Cessna 421 before coming to rest. A post-impact fire consumed the accident airplane, the Cirrus, and the Cessna.
The weather reported at Mountain Air Airport, at 1100, included winds from 023 degrees at 1 knot, with gusts up to 6 knots, and a temperature of 19 degrees Celsius. The reported density altitude was 5,695 feet.
The pilot's logbook was not recovered. The pilot/owner held a commercial pilot certificate with multiple ratings including airplane single engine land and instrument airplane. He also held a third class medical certificate, which was issued on March 10, 2006.
According to the pilot's most recent insurance application, dated October 17, 2006, he had accumulated 1,672 total hours of flight experience with 11 hours in the accident airplane make and model. His most recent flight review was completed on March 10, 2006. Additionally, the pilot completed aircraft manufacturer's factory training program on October 26, 2006.
The maintenance logs for the airplane were not recovered. Maintenance invoices and electronic log entries were provided by a repair station that had serviced the airplane in the past. According to those records, the airplane was last serviced on May 2, 2007. The entries detailed several services completed on that date, which included compliance with an airworthiness directive relating to an inspection of the aileron and elevator liner bearings for the presence of foreign material. No defects were noted during the inspection.
Mountain Air Airport was located at the top of a mountain, at an elevation of 4,432 feet. The single asphalt runway was oriented in a 14/32 configuration, and was 2,875 feet long by 50 feet wide. There was a slope in the runway near the mid-field point, and as a result, the approach end of runway 32 was about 50 feet lower in elevation than the approach end of runway 14. A visual approach path device and a windsock were located at the approach end of runway 32. A paved parking apron was located immediately adjacent to the northeast third of the runway. The airplanes struck by the accident airplane were all parked in the row closest to the runway, about 50 feet east of the runway centerline.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
Examination of the runway revealed two rubber deposits, consistent in geometry with the accident airplane's main landing gear, about 1,400 feet beyond the runway 32 threshold, oriented in a direction about 315 degrees. About 220 feet beyond that point was a white paint transfer mark that arced left, away from the runway centerline. Located about 280 feet beyond the beginning of the paint transfer were three depressions in the turf embankment next to the runway, also consistent with the geometry of the airplane's landing gear. Several pieces of composite debris, including the nose wheel faring, were strewn along and around the depressions. The rubber deposits and white paint transfer resumed on the runway just beyond the embankment, and arced in a direction toward where the airplane came to rest. The nose landing gear was separated and found on the runway between the embankment and the parked airplanes.
The first two airplanes struck by the accident airplane incurred minor damage to their forward sections. The Cirrus was skewed about 30 degrees nose right from the nominal parking position, and with the exception of the empennage and both wingtips, was consumed by fire. Its engine was separated from the firewall, and came to rest near the tail of the Cessna.
The accident airplane came to rest oriented roughly 120 degrees, and occupied the same general area as the Cessna it struck. Flight control continuity was traced from the rudder pedals to the rudder horn and from the ailerons to the center section of the cabin. The left speed brake was found in the retracted position. Two of the three propeller blades were melted, while the third exhibited leading edge gouging and chordwise scratching. Crankshaft and valvetrain continuity were established through rotation of the propeller.
No preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions of the airframe or engine were identified.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological testing on the pilot. The testing revealed the presence of Metoprolol in the pilot's blood and urine.