ERA10LA442
ERA10LA442

On August 25, 2010, at 1100 eastern daylight time, a Universal Stinson 108, N97316, received substantial damage when it collided with trees and subsequently the ground near the Robert F. Swinnie Airport (PHH), Andrews, South Carolina. The student pilot was killed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight. The airplane was registered to and operated by the student pilot, under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The flight originated from PHH at an undetermined time. There were no witnesses to the accident.

Examination of the accident site by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector found that the airplane impacted the ground about 100 to 200 yards left of the departure end of runway 18 in a densely wooded area. The airplane came to rest with the underside of the airplane resting up against a tree at approximately a 75-degree angle, left wing low and nose down.

Examination of the wreckage found the majority of the airplane intact with the exception of the left and right wing tips, tail wheel, and the right main landing gear assembly. The impact with the ground shifted the nose of the airplane from the engine firewall forward to the left. Inspection of the cockpit found the push-pull tubes extended and bent over to the right. Examination of the wings revealed that the left fuel tank was void of fuel with no signs of fuel leakage. The right fuel tank contained a small amount of fuel; approximately 1 to 3 gallons. The engine fuel system was not examined due to impact damage. The damage to the engine and propeller was consistent with the engine not producing power at the time of impact. Universal Aircraft Corporation, Stinson technical support reported that the unusable fuel for each fuel tank for the airplane's configuration was 2 gallons.

At the conclusion of the engine and airframe examination, no evidence of any preimpact mechanical failure or malfunction was found.

The pilot, age 66, held a student pilot certificate, which was issued on November 18, 2009. His most recent FAA third-class airman medical certificate was issued on the same date, with a restriction that he must wear corrective lenses. The pilot reported on his most recent medical that he had accumulated a total time in all airplanes of 200 hours. The pilot's personal logbook was not located.

The airplane was a four-seat, high wing, fixed gear, single-engine airplane, serial number 108-316, airworthiness date September 18, 1955. It was powered by a Franklin 6A4165, 150-housepower engine. The review of the airplane's logbooks by the FAA inspector revealed that the airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on May 6, 2010.

A review of recorded weather data from the Georgetown County Airport (GGE) located 13 nautical miles southeast of the PHH automated weather observation station, elevation 27 feet, revealed at 1055, conditions were winds 020 degrees at 5 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, scattered clouds 1,100 feet above ground level, temperature 26 degrees Celsius, dew point temperature 23 degrees Celsius, and altimeter 29.94 inches of mercury.

An autopsy was performed on the pilot on August 26, 2010, by the Medical University of South Carolina, Department of Pathology and Lab Medicine, Charleston, South Carolina. The cause of death was listed as multiple blunt force injuries. Forensic toxicology was performed on specimens from the pilot by the FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The toxicology report indicated that there was no carbon monoxide or cyanide detected in blood, no ethanol detected in vitreous, and no drugs detected in urine.

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