ERA09LA026
ERA09LA026

On October 22, 2008, at 1330 central daylight time, a Cessna 175A, N7919T, unregistered airplane, collided with runway 18 during takeoff from the Foley Municipal Airport (5R4), Foley, Alabama. The certificated private pilot received serious injuries, and the airplane sustained substantial damage by impact forces and postcrash fire. The flight was operated as a positioning flight under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91, and no flight plan was filed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

The owner of the airplane witnessed the accident from the west side of the departure runway. In a written statement he reported, the pilot did a run-up and magneto check and taxied to the end of the runway 18. The take-off sounded like the engine was at full power. The airplane wobbled back and forth a little before take-off, then rose to about 30 feet high and nosed over.

The owner stated that the airplane was being flown to Jasper, Alabama (JFX), 206 nautical miles to the north, to receive an annual inspection. He said the pilot was a mechanic, and had obtained a ferry permit for the flight, and would perform the annual inspection. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) found no record of a ferry permit for this flight.

The pilot, age 64, held a private pilot certificate with rating for airplane single-engine land, issued on June 12, 1968. He also held an expired first class medical certificate, issued on May 13, 1971, with a restriction that he must wear corrective lenses. The pilot reported on his last medical application that he had accumulated 0 civilian flight hours in all aircraft. The pilot’s logbook was not recovered, and the pilot failed to complete a pilot/operator report, as requested by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Investigator-in-charge (IIC).

The airplane was not registered at the time of the accident. The FAA Registry listed the status of the airplane as “In Question” and the name of the registered owner as “Sale Reported.”

A review of the airplane’s logbooks found that the airplane’s most recent annual inspection was performed on October 1, 2004, at a total airframe time of 1,989.7 hours; the entry documents the aircrafts removal from storage, painting and extensive renovation. The entry contains a notice: AIRCRAFT MUST BE TEST FLOWN BY A CERTIFIED PILOT BEFORE RELEASE TO SERVICE. In addition, the entry contains a certification stating the aircraft has been inspected in accordance with an annual inspection and found to be in airworthy condition. The certification was not signed.

According to the owner, the airplane had not flown and had been tied down outside for the last three years. He stated that he would run the engine each month. Several mud wasp nests, dislodged from the airplane, and were observed in the wreckage path. One large nest was observed wrapped around the number 1 cylinder top spark plug ignition lead.

Examination of the airplane by a FAA inspector, a representative from Cessna Aircraft Company, and a representative from Continental Engines, found that during take off the airplane struck the departure runway approximately 2,600 feet from where it started its takeoff roll. Four propeller strikes were noted at the point of impact. The nose gear separated from the fuselage and the airplane slid about 525 feet before coming to rest 10 feet to the east side of the departure runway an a heading of 135 degrees magnetic. The fuel supply line separated from the carburetor during the impact sequence and a post-impact fire started during the last 100 feet of the slide down the runway.

The fuselage was damaged by post-impact fire from the firewall to the empennage. The main landing gear remained attached to the fuselage. The nose gear assembly separated from the firewall. The engine remained attached to the fuselage. The wing struts remained attached to the fuselage and wings; however, the wing roots and cabin overhead were consumed in the post-impact fire.

All flight controls remained attached to the airframe and flight control cable continuity was established throughout the airplane. The flap handle was observed in the retracted position. The flap position was not reliable due to extensive fire damage to the structure. The elevator trim tab actuator extension was measured at approximately .75 inches or approximately 10 degrees tab down. The wing and empennage did not display impact damage, but were heavily damaged by the post-impact fire.

The fuel selector handle was in the “both” position. Fire damage prevented a complete examination of the fuel system.

The engine remained attached to the firewall. The propeller and gear reduction drive separated from the engine.

The engine was transported to the Teledyne Continental Motors (TCM) facility in Mobile, Alabama. On October 24, 2008, the engine was disassembled and examined by TCM personnel. No pre-impact anomalies were noted to the engine.

The propeller blades displayed extensive leading edge damage. The tip of one blade was curled forward approximately 360 degrees. The diameter of the curl was four inches with approximately one inch of the tip separated from the blade. Deep and extensive chordwise scoring and scratches were noted to the outside surface of the curled area of the propeller blade. The other propeller blade displayed “S” bending. Approximately three inches of the tip separated from the blade. The remaining tip of the blade was curled forward and displayed leading edge damage and chordwise scoring and scratches similar to the other blade.

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