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On August 11, 2007, about 1515 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna T210G, N225RJ, impacted two houses in Lomita, California, during a forced landing following a loss of engine power. The airplane, which was registered to and operated by the pilot, sustained substantial damage. The commercial pilot, who was the sole person on board, was killed. One person on the ground received minor injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 local personal flight. The flight departed from Zamperini Field Airport in Torrance, California, a few minutes before the accident occurred.
According to information provided by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) air traffic control personnel, the airplane departed from runway 29R, and the flight was cleared to make a right closed traffic pattern to return for landing on runway 29R. The local controller advised the pilot several times that his transponder was not operating. When the airplane reached a position about 3 nautical miles (nm) northeast of the airport, the controller advised the pilot that his transponder appeared to be inoperative. The controller then cleared another airplane to land on runway 29R. After this airplane landed, the controller observed the accident airplane at a low altitude about 1.5 nm northeast of the airport. He cleared the accident airplane to land and received no response from the pilot. He continued to observe the airplane as it descended into a residential area. No distress calls were received from the airplane.
A witness driving in a vehicle near the accident site observed the airplane flying west towards the airport at a low altitude with "the propeller turning slow." The witness realized the airplane was going to crash and had his wife, who was with him in the vehicle, call 911. He lost sight of the airplane, but was able to continue driving and locate the accident site. He had his wife relay the address to the 911 operator and within a few minutes emergency response personnel arrived.
According to a report by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, the airplane was found upside down on the property line between 2311 and 2319 246th Street, Lomita, California. The pilot was strapped into the airplane's left front seat by a seat belt. Firefighters extricated the pilot, and he was transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead at 1725.
The pilot, age 76, held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single engine land and instrument airplane ratings. His most recent medical certificate was a third class medical certificate issued on March 17, 2005, with the limitation, must wear corrective lenses. On the application for this medical certificate, the pilot reported having accumulated 15,000 flight hours with 60 hours flown in the past 6 months.
The 1967 model Cessna T210G, S/N T210-0287, was powered by a 285-horsepower Continental TSIO-520-C engine, S/N 140514-7-C. The most recent annual inspection was completed on May 5, 2007, at an airframe total time of 2,904 hours; as of that date, the engine had accumulated 1,676 hours since major overhaul.
Review of the airplane's Owner's Manual revealed that fuel was supplied to the engine from two integral fuel bays, one in each wing. Usable fuel in each bay, for all flight conditions, was 44.5 gallons when completely filled. Fuel from each wing fuel bay flowed through a reservoir tank to the fuel selector valve. Depending on the setting of the selector valve, fuel from the left or right fuel bay flowed to the engine. The airplane was equipped with a two position auxiliary fuel boost pump switch. The "LO" position was used for starting. The "HIGH" position was used for three situations: in case of failure of the engine-driven fuel pump, for fuel vapor control during hot engine starting, and when switching from an empty fuel bay to a bay containing fuel.
The reported weather at Zamperini Field at 1520 was wind from 290 degrees at 15 knots, visibility 10 miles, few clouds at 1,500 feet above the ground, temperature 22 degrees C, dew point 16 degrees C, altimeter setting 29.91 inches.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
An FAA inspector responded to the scene of the accident and reported that the airplane contacted the roofs of two buildings and then came to rest inverted with the fuselage and wings resting on a brick wall. The fuselage remained intact, the wings remained attached to the fuselage and the empennage remained attached to the tail cone. The right horizontal stabilizer and elevator had contacted the roof of the first building, and the elevator balance weight separated from the right elevator tip and was found near the first building. The nose and right main landing gear had contacted the roof of the second building, and the nose landing gear separated and was found near the second building.
Fuel was dripping from the right wing fuel filler cap; the left wing was not dripping or venting fuel. During recovery of the airplane, the FAA inspector observed approximately 18 to 20 gallons of fuel drained from the right wing and a residual amount of fuel drained from the left wing. No visual evidence of fuel contamination was noted. The fuel selector valve was positioned to the right tank, and the auxiliary fuel boost pump switch was found in the "HI" position.
After its recovery from the accident site, the airplane was examined on August 28, 2007, at the facilities of Aircraft Recovery Service in Pearblossom, California, under the supervision of an NTSB investigator by representatives from Cessna Aircraft Company, Teledyne Continental Motors and the FAA. The wings had been removed from the airplane, and the horizontal stabilizers and elevators cut from the empennage. All flight control surfaces remained attached and flight control continuity was established, through cable cuts made by recovery personnel, from the cockpit controls to each flight control surface. The landing gear was extended, and the flaps were extended to approximately 25 degrees. The transponder switch was found in the "STANDBY" position.
The fuel strainer bowl and screen were removed and inspected; the bowl and screen contained a slight amount of debris. The bowl and screen were reinstalled and compressed air was applied to the fuel inlets at the right and left wing roots. With the fuel selector valve placed in the appropriate position, compressed air was felt at the fuel hose leading from the fuel strainer bowl to the engine. The positive wire leading from the fuel boost pump switch to the fuel boost pump was found separated at a splice on the cabin side of the firewall, near an area of impact damage and a group of separated spliced wire connections. Fuel boost pump operation was verified by connecting the pump to the airplane's battery and listening for pump rotation.
The engine remained partially attached to its mounts. The propeller remained bolted to the engine crankshaft flange. One of the three propeller blades was undamaged. One blade was bent in the direction of rotation near the blade root and displayed multi-directional scratches on the forward face. One blade was bent in the direction of rotation near the blade tip and exhibited chordwise scratches on the forward face. Examination of the engine did not reveal evidence of abnormalities that would have prevented normal operation and production of power.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy of the pilot was conducted by the Department of Coroner, Los Angeles, California, on August 16, 2007. The cause of death was determined to be multiple traumatic injuries. Toxicology tests conducted by the FAA's Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide and ethanol. Bupropion, a prescription antidepressant, and bupropion metabolite were detected in blood and liver. Fluoxetine, a prescription antidepressant, was detected in blood at 0.623 ug/mL and in liver at 10.682 ug/mL. Norfluoxetine, a metabolite of fluoxetine, was detected in blood at 0.455 ug/mL and in liver at 8.659 ug/mL. Atropine, etomidate and midazolam, which are all drugs used in surgical/resuscitation situations, were also detected.