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On September 3, 2007, at 2106 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172C, N1301Y, collided with the water in Lake Erie approximately one-quarter mile off the east end of Kelleys Island, Ohio. The airplane departed on runway 09 (2,203 feet by 50 feet) at the Kelleys Island Municipal Airport (89D) just prior to the accident. The private pilot and one passenger were fatally injured. A second passenger received serious injuries. The Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight was operating in visual meteorological conditions without a flight plan. The flight was originating at the time of the accident with an intended destination of Lima, Ohio.
A person on the island reported speaking with the pilot at the airport. The witness stated he drove the pilot and two boys to see the glacial grooves on the island. He stated the pilot told him this was the first time he had flown into Kelleys Island and that he landed hard due to the airstrip sloping down near the waters edge.
Another witness reported seeing the airplane takeoff and climb to an estimated altitude of about 200 feet. The airplane then veered to the right and descended into the water. Another witness reported seeing the airplane porpoise twice as it was taking off.
A resident of the island reported seeing the airplane takeoff and descend into the water. This witness used his rowboat to get to the accident site where he rescued the surviving passenger.
The pilot, age 46, held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. This certificate was issued on September 26, 2006. The pilot was issued a third-class medical certificate on December 27, 2006. This certificate did not contain any limitations.
The pilot's logbook was not located during the investigation. He reported having a total of 92 hours of flight time as of December 27, 2006, when he applied for his last medical certificate.
The accident airplane was a 1961 Cessna 172C, serial number 17249001. It was single-engine, high-wing, four-place airplane with fixed landing gear. The pilot was one of the owners of the airplane. A review of the maintenance logbooks indicated the most recent annual inspection was completed on June 19, 2007, at an aircraft total time of 1,681.21 hours. The aircraft total time at the time of the accident was 1,699.22 hours.
The airplane was equipped with a 145-horsepower, Continental O-300-D engine, serial number 35458-D-7-D. The most recent annual inspection on the engine was completed on June 19, 2007. The tachometer time at that inspection was 1,681.21 hours and the time since major overhaul was 777.29 hours.
The weather conditions reported at Hopkins International Airport, Cleveland, Ohio, 39 miles east-southeast of the accident site, at 2051, were: Wind from 210 degrees at 4 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; few clouds 5,000 feet, scattered clouds 10,000 feet; temperature 24 degrees Celsius; dew point 15 degrees Celsius; altimeter 30.09 inches of mercury.
The winds on the island at the time of the accident were reportedly from the west at approximately 10 knots.
According to the U.S. Naval Observatory, Astronomical Applications Department, on the day of the accident, the end of civil twilight was at 2029 and there was a quarter moon that rose at 2328.
The pilot used runway 09 for takeoff. Runway 09 is 2,203 feet long by 50 feet wide. The departure end of runway 09 is approximately 200 feet from the Lake Erie shore. The Ohio shoreline is located approximately 10 miles south of the departure end of the runway. The airport field elevation is listed as being 598 feet.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The wreckage was located in Lake Erie approximately one-quarter mile from the east end of the island. The engine was located at the bottom of the lake, approximately 100 feet from the main wreckage. The airplane was inverted on the bottom of the lake and it was recovered on September 5, 2007. The wreckage was examined on September 6, 2007.
The airplane was intact with the exception of the engine and the nose gear, which were separated from the airframe. The right side of the fuselage was crushed inward just aft of the rear seat. The lower fuselage was buckled upward. The top of the fuselage from the firewall aft to the rear seats was crushed downward. The bottom and aft portions of the left entrance door was crushed. The top of the right door was bent inward. The forward portion of the aft fuselage was crushed and partially separated from the forward fuselage.
The bottom of the empennage was crushed upward. The elevator and horizontal stabilizer were intact. The elevator trim setting was measured to be 1.1 to 1.2 inches, which equates to an approximate 5-degree tab down setting. Slight buckling was visible on the vertical stabilizer and rudder. The tops of the rudder and vertical stabilizer were missing. Both main gears remained attached to the fuselage with the left main gear being loose at the gearbox.
The leading edge of the left wing was crushed rearward with the outboard leading edge having sustained more damage than the inboard leading edge. The wing remained attached to the fuselage. The aileron was intact and the flap was buckled downward, but still attached to the wing.
The outboard 18 inches of the right wing leading edge were bent rearward. The right wingtip was missing. The right aileron and flap were attached to the wing. The bottom of the right wing was slightly buckled. Control continuity for the elevator and rudder was established from the flight control surfaces up to the crushed firewall. Movement of the cockpit flight controls was restricted due to impact damage. The left and right aileron cables were intact from the control surfaces to the center of the fuselage and from the center of the fuselage to the firewall.
The vacuum pump was removed from the engine and water was expelled from the pump when it was rotated. The carburetor was separated from the engine and remained attached to the wreckage by the throttle cable. The carburetor throttle arm moved freely and the accelerator pump discharged a clear liquid when moved. The carburetor was fuel screen was clean.
The top spark plugs were removed and appeared worn with dark deposits near the electrodes. The magnetos were removed from the engine and dried. Both magnetos produced spark when rotated by hand. The engine oil screen contained a minor amount of debris. A boroscope was used to inspect the inside of the cylinders. The number one cylinder was full of water. A minor amount of rust was visible on the inside of all of the cylinders. The propeller was removed. Engine continuity was established when the engine was rotated by hand at the crankshaft.
The propeller spinner sustained impact damage and the front of the spinner was missing. One propeller blade was bent rearward approximately 90 degrees at a point halfway from the propeller hub. The other blade was relatively straight.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy of the pilot was performed on September 5, 2007, at the Lucas County Coroner's Office, Toledo, Ohio. The autopsy report listed the cause of death as "Drowning" due to blunt force injuries of the head.
A Forensic Toxicology Fatal Accident Report was prepared for the pilot by the FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The results for tests performed were negative.
The surviving passenger, age 7, had been seated in the front right seat of the airplane. The pilot was located approximately 35 feet away from the airplane and the fatally injured passenger, age 9, was located still strapped in the rear seat of the airplane. The airplane was not equipped with shoulder harnesses.
TESTS AND RESEARCH
A portable Garmin GPSMAP 396 global positioning system (GPS) was found in the wreckage. The unit was sent to the NTSB Vehicle Recorder Laboratory for examination. Data was recovered from the pilot's flight from Lima, Ohio to Kelleys Island, and the accident flight. The data for the accident flight began at 2101 and ended at 2106. The data showed a maximum GPS altitude of 645 feet (above mean sea level). The last calculated aircraft groundspeed and course was 89 miles per hour and 094 degrees true.