HISTORY OF FLIGHT Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
On March 18, 2010, at 1154 eastern daylight time (EDT), a Beech B95, N9389Y, was substantially damaged after impacting the ground near Sky Acres Airport (44N), Lagrange, New York. The certificated commercial pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight which departed from 44N, with an intended destination of Sullivan County International Airport (MSV), Monticello, New York. The flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.
The accident pilot was observed by several eyewitnesses taxiing out and departing runway 35. One eyewitness, who was a pilot and had just landed at the airport, observed the airplane climb to approximately 50 feet above ground level (agl), yaw to the left, return to straight flight, climb to approximately 300 feet agl, yaw to the left a second time, and bank to the left. The nose of the airplane pitched down to approximately a perpendicular position with reference to the surrounding terrain, performed 1 to 1 1/2 spin rotations, and then went out of sight behind a row of trees. The eyewitness subsequently saw a plume of smoke arising from the last observed location of the airplane.
A review of airport security video showed the self service fuel pump, which was the only fuel service point located at the airport, was not utilized by the accident pilot on the day of the accident. The last known refuel date and amount could not be determined at the time of this writing.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Air Traffic Control facility, 3 radar returns were observed near the accident site at an altitude of 900 feet above mean sea level (msl), which correlates to approximately 300 feet agl, about the time of the accident.
According to FAA records, the pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with a rating for airplane multiengine land and private pilot privileges for airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued on April 2, 2009. According to the pilot's logbook, his most recent recorded flight was on September 6, 2009 and at that time he had accrued 1,027.1 total hours of flight experience. It could not be determined the exact amount of flight experience in the accident airplane make and model; however, since April 2002 he had recorded 231 total hours of flight experience in make and model and within the preceding 12 months of the accident he had accrued 13.2 total hours of experience all of which was in the accident airplane. His most recent flight review was conducted on March 22, 2009.
The airplane was a Beech B95 "Travel Air," manufactured in 1960. It was equipped with two Lycoming O-360-A1A engines and two Hartzell two-bladed metal propellers. It was a five-place, high performance, all-metal, low-wing, multiengine cantilever monoplane with fully retractable tricycle landing gear.
According to the airplane's maintenance records, an annual inspection was performed on April 1, 2009 and at that time the recorded aircraft total time in service was 3,934.9.
The 1153 recorded weather observation at Dutchess County Airport (POU), Poughkeepsie, New York, located approximately 8 miles southwest of the accident site, included calm wind, clear skies, 10 miles visibility, temperature 16 degrees C, dew point minus 1 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 29.80 inches of mercury.
The privately owned airport was equipped with a single asphalt runway oriented north to south and designated 17/35. The runway was 3830-feet-long and 60-feet-wide. The airport did not have an air traffic control tower. Communication was conducted utilizing the airport common traffic advisory frequency; however, the frequency was not recorded.
The airport was equipped with two security cameras oriented toward the self service fuel pumps. The cameras, although primarily focused on the fuel pumps, did capture the approximate middle one-third of the paved portion of the runway. The airplane was observed in the camera's field of vision and no abnormalities were observed.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The wreckage was located in the right of way area for powerlines, along a paved road, approximately 2,100 feet from the departure end of runway 35. The airplane impacted the ground immediately adjacent to the paved road. The airplane came to rest upright 13 feet from the surrounding tree line and 90 feet from the overhead powerlines on a heading of 309 degrees. One broken limb on a tree, approximately 2 inches in diameter, was located approximately 30 feet agl.
The cabin and inboard section of the right wing from the wing root to approximately the engine nacelle was consumed by post-impact fire. The left wing root sustained thermal damage and the wing tip was observed "exploding" by first responders. The tail section exhibited crush damage along the vertical axis along the entire underside of the fuselage. The leading edge of the vertical and horizontal stabilizer exhibited thermal damage; however, exhibited no impact damage. The left main and nose landing gears were in the down position; however, due to the extensive fire damage to the right wing, the right main landing gear position, at the time of impact, could not be confirmed. The passenger compartment and all flight instruments were consumed by post impact fire.
Control continuity was confirmed from approximately the aft bulkhead in the cabin to the rudder. Cable continuity was confirmed from the aft bulkhead to the elevator; however, due to the impact damage, the control system was binding near the tailcone attach point. Control continuity was confirmed from the left wing aileron to the area in which the pilot control column would have been attached; however, due to post-impact fire damage the exact area where the control column would attach was unable to be confirmed. The left wing aileron trim actuator was measured and the measurements were consistent with an approximately neutral trim position. The tail cone and aft navigation position light were located 23 feet aft of the main wreckage and was the furthest part of the wreckage.
The right engine was examined and exhibited extensive fire damage. One propeller blade was attached to the propeller hub; the other blade was located 3 feet aft of the propeller attach point underneath the wing. Continuity was confirmed from the propeller to the rear accessory gear drive, and all four cylinders produced suction and compression. The magnetos exhibited thermal damage and did not produce any spark on any towers. The carburetor was destroyed by impact forces and post impact fire. The wet vacuum pump would not rotate by hand. The pump was disassembled and all components were found to be present. The source of the binding could not be determined. The oil filter was thermally damaged and no metallic particulates were located on the element. The engine driven fuel pump was attached to the engine but mostly consumed by fire. The oil cooler remained attached but was fire and impact damaged. The generator remained attached but was mostly consumed by fire.
The left engine was examined and contained oil throughout. The propeller blades remained attached to the propeller hub. One propeller blade was undamaged and the other propeller blade was bent aft beginning about mid-span and curled approximately 270 degrees chordwise, it also exhibited spanwise scoring. The spark plugs were removed and the electrodes were normal and gray in color.
The carburetor remained attached and had slight impact damage on the bowl mounting flange and exhibited no fuel staining. The fuel inlet screen was free of debris and the carburetor bowl contained approximately 1 tablespoon of blue fluid consistent with 100LL aviation fuel and no water was present when tested with water indicating paste. The left wing fuel strainer contained no fuel and was dry. The electrical fuel pump contained approximately 3 tablespoons of 100LL aviation fuel. The fuel pump was actuated by hand and suction was noted at the inlet port. Disassembly revealed no damage to the diaphragms or check valves. The fuel hoses were examined and free of obstructions.
The magnetos remained attached to the engine and were undamaged. The magnetos were removed, rotated by hand, and spark was produced on all towers. The wet vacuum pump remained attached, was removed and disassembled, and all vanes were intact.
The engine was rotated by turning the propeller and continuity of the crankshaft to the rear gears and to the valve train was confirmed. Suction and compression were observed in all four cylinders.
Examination of the wreckage revealed no evidence of preimpact mechanical malfunction.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The Office of the Medical Examiner of Dutchess County performed an autopsy postmortem examination of the pilot. The autopsy report indicated that the cause of death was "multiple blunt impact trauma."
The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed forensic toxicology testing on specimens from the pilot and no carbon monoxide, cyanide, ethanol, or drugs of abuse were detected.
Fuel Selector Valves
Both fuel selector valves were located in the wreckage and sent to the NTSB Materials Laboratory for examination. Both fuel selector valves had sustained severe thermal damage. Utilizing a diagram from the illustrated parts manual a visual examination was made to distinguish the right from the left valve and what position each valve was set. Both valves were set to the main tanks.
A review of FAA-H-8083-3, Airplane Flying Handbook, revealed:
"During flight, the angle of attack of an airplane wing is determined by a number of factors, the most important of which are the airspeed, the gross weight of the airplane, and the load factors imposed by maneuvering.
At the same gross weight, airplane configuration, and power setting, a given airplane will consistently stall at the same indicated airspeed if no acceleration is involved. The airplane will, however, stall at a higher indicated airspeed when excessive maneuvering loads are imposed by steep turns, pull-ups, or other abrupt changes in its flightpath. Stalls entered from such flight situations are called "accelerated maneuver stalls," a term, which has no reference to the airspeeds involved.
Stalls which result from abrupt maneuvers tend to be more rapid, or severe, than the unaccelerated stalls, and because they occur at higher-than-normal airspeeds, and/or may occur at lower than anticipated pitch attitudes, they may be unexpected by an inexperienced pilot. Failure to take immediate steps toward recovery when an accelerated stall occurs may result in a complete loss of flight control, notably, power-on spins."