On October 6, 2007, at 1025 eastern daylight time, a Bellanca 7GCAA, N8642V, registered to Brandywine Soaring Associates Incorporated, crashed while attempting to takeoff with a glider in tow at the New Garden Airport (N57), Toughkenamon, Pennsylvania. The certificated commercial pilot was killed, and the airplane sustained substantial damage by impact forces and postcrash fire. The flight was operated for the purpose of glider towing under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91, and no flight plan was filed. Visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed at the time of the accident. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
Several witnesses stated that the airplane was taking off towing a glider. As they proceeded down the runway gaining airspeed, the tailwheel of the airplane began to shimmy back and forth. The airplane seemed to go straight with the shimmying for at least 100 hundred feet or so and then began to veer right. The glider pilot released the towrope and continued straight down the runway. The airplane continued off the right side of the runway onto grass with the tailwheel on the ground. The airplane then became airborne, and with trees ahead, made a steep climb. The airplane then rolled right and entered a near vertical descent. The witness added that the airplane appeared to be turning when he lost sight of it. He did not see the impact. The witness then ran to the airport office to advise of the crash.
The pilot, age 63, held a commercial pilot certificate, issued December 28, 2005, with ratings for airplane single and multi-engine land, and instrument airplane. His most recent medical, a third-class medical certificate, was issued on April 17, 2006, which required the pilot to wear corrective lenses. A review of the pilot’s logbook found that he had accumulated 1,344 hours of total flight time with 20 total hours in the accident airplane make and model.
The two-seat, high wing, fixed tailwheel airplane, was manufactured in 1975, it was powered by a Lycoming O-320-A2B, 150-horsepower engine. The airplane’s logbooks were not recovered.
Examination of the airplane by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) found the airplane in a nose down attitude and consumed by the postcrash fire. At the conclusion of a limited examination (due to extensive postcrash fire damage) of the airframe and engine, no evidence of any preimpact mechanical failures or malfunctions were identified.
An autopsy was performed on the pilot on October 7, 2007, by Richard T. Callery, M.D., Forensic, Anatomic and Clinical Pathology, Newark, Delaware. The autopsy findings reported the cause of death as; Inhalation of products of combustion and extensive fourth degree thermal burns covering 100 percent of external body surfaces.
Forensic toxicology was performed on specimens from the pilot by the FAA Aeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The toxicology report stated that no Carbon Monoxide, Cyanide, Ethanol or Drugs were detected in the pilot’s blood.