On July 18, 2009, approximately 1905 central daylight time, a 1944 Beech TC-45J, N6688, was destroyed during a forced landing after a loss of engine power near Verdel, Nebraska. The pilot sustained serious injuries and the passenger was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight conducted under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The flight originated from the pilot's private airstrip in Lynch, Nebraska, approximately 1855. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The pilot reported that he and his passenger (who had helped him restore the airplane) departed from his private airstrip en route to O’Neil, Nebraska, where the airplane was going to be dropped off for an annual inspection. He did not obtain an FAA issued ferry permit for this flight. Approximately 5-10 minutes after departure, at an altitude of approximately 500 feet above ground level, the right engine “started vibrating.” The pilot said the engine started to shake so badly he thought it was going to come off the airplane. Due to the low altitude, he elected to land in a field but “something went wrong during the landing.”
An on-scene examination of the airplane was performed by two Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors. According to an inspector, the airplane came to rest in a pasture and a post-impact fire consumed the fuselage. Both of the radial engines had separated from the airframe and sustained impact damage.
The pilot reported that he had topped off the airplane’s fuel tanks 2-3 days prior to the accident from his fuel storage tank based at his private airstrip. He stated that he had owned the airplane for several years and refurbished the interior and exterior before registering it with the FAA in February 2009.
A review of FAA airman records revealed that the pilot held a private pilot certificate for airplane single-engine land and was not certified to operate multi-engine airplanes. His last FAA third class medical was issued on June 30, 2008. At that time, he reported a total of 1,000 flight hours.
The pilot reported that he “could have done things differently…and accepts full responsibility for what happened.” He stated that he had never flown this airplane by himself prior to this flight or had received any training in the airplane. However, he did have some flight experience in a Cessna 310 and an Aero Commander. He could not recall how much multi-engine time he had accrued because his logbook was on board the airplane and was destroyed by the post-impact fire.
According to the previous owner of the airplane, the airplane had been out of annual inspection for approximately 8 years. The recorded airframe total time was approximately 21,218 hours at the time the avionics upgrade was performed.
According to the pilot, the right engine was sent to a facility in Oklahoma for a post-accident examination. He stated that the damage was extensive and most likely the result of a connecting rod failure.