ERA12FA151
ERA12FA151

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On January 22, 2012, about 2005 eastern standard time, a Cessna 150G, N73JK, was destroyed when it impacted trees and terrain shortly after taking off from Quincy Municipal Airport (2J9), Quincy, Florida. The certificated private pilot was fatally injured. Night instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed for the flight to Craig Field (CRG), Jacksonville, Florida. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to a witness who was also a pilot, he heard the accident airplane land after sunset, about 1830, and it subsequently taxied to the fuel pump for refueling. The witness, who was mostly working in his hangar while the airplane was on the ground, did not speak with the accident pilot. The witness later heard the airplane start up and taxi for takeoff from runway 14 about 2000. During the taxi and takeoff, the witness heard the engine operate "normally," and it was only later, after the witness heard sirens, that he realized that the airplane had crashed.

Several witnesses stated that they were standing in the front yard of a residence when they saw the airplane fly over it at a low altitude, headed “approximately northward.” They subsequently lost sight of it when it flew over a tree line, then heard a “loud crash.”

According to multiple sources, the pilot used the airplane to commute from his home in Mississippi to his job in Florida.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

Weather observations were not recorded at the airport. However, weather was recorded about 20 minutes before the accident at Tallahassee Regional Airport (TLH), Tallahassee, Florida, approximately 16 nautical miles to the southeast, and about 140 feet lower in elevation. The observation at that time included a scattered cloud layer at 100 feet above the ground (agl), an overcast cloud layer at 400 feet agl, mist, temperature 19 degrees C, dew point 18 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.13 inches Hg.

Shortly before the airplane departed 2J9, the witness noted that fog was beginning to roll onto the airport, the wind was from about 180 degrees, and an in-hangar weather station indicated a temperature of 19 degrees C and a dew point of 18 degrees C.

U.S. Naval Observatory data indicated that sunset occurred at 1805, and that the end of civil twilight occurred at 1831.

There was no recorded evidence found that the pilot obtained a weather briefing, but there was a phone-in ASOS (Automated Surface Weather Observation System) available at TLH.

AIRPORT INFORMATION

The airport had a single runway, 14/32 that was 2,964 feet long and 75 feet wide. Airport elevation was 225 feet.

AIRPLANE INFORMATION

According to the aircraft logbook, the airplane’s latest annual inspection occurred on December 11, 2011, at an airplane total time of 6,366.2 hours and a tachometer time of 251.3 hours. The tachometer at the accident site indicated 297.5 hours.

The pilot had previously owned a Cessna 150J. A change of registration certificate indicated that the pilot purchased the accident airplane on December 10, 2011.

PILOT INFORMATION

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single engine land rating. The pilot’s logbook could not be located; however, for the insurance binder dated December 7, 2011, the pilot indicated 230 total hours of flight time, 200 hours in model, and 88 hours in the previous 12 months.

The pilot’s latest FAA third class medical certificate was issued on October 13, 2010.

The witness noted that the pilot had been in the restroom in excess of 35 to 40 minutes during his stop at 2J9.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane came to rest upside down, about 0.8 statute miles northeast of the airport, in the vicinity of 30 degrees, 36.24 minutes north latitude, 084 degrees 32.81 minutes west longitude. The airplane was located at the edge of a clearing, at the end of an approximately 250-foot, 20-degree descending wreckage path through trees, that headed about 310 degrees magnetic. Initial tree cuts were consistent with an approximately 45-degree, right-wing-down attitude.

No preexisting mechanical anomalies were noted with the airplane. All flight control surfaces were located at the accident scene. The right wing was separated from the fuselage about midway along the wreckage path. Right wing control continuity was confirmed from the aileron, to where the aileron control cables exhibited separation signatures consistent with overload. Flight control continuity within the main wreckage was confirmed from the cockpit to the overloaded right aileron control cables, as well as all remaining flight control surfaces.

The propeller, which was found separated from the engine crankshaft flange, exhibited s-bending on one blade, while the other blade was bent 90 degrees aft, about midspan, and was further wrinkled near the tip. Numerous tree branches along the wreckage path exhibited approximately 45-degree cuts.

The engine was impact-damaged, with the carburetor and air box separated, and could not be rotated. Blue-colored fuel, that was clear and absent of debris, was found in the fuel lines. The gascolater was clean with a small amount of debris on the fuel screen. Both magnetos were sparked on all terminals, spark plug electrodes exhibited light gray deposits, and suction was produced from the wet vacuum pump when its drive shaft was rotated.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot at the Florida District Two Office of the Medical Examiner, Tallahassee, Florida, with the cause of death noted as “multiple blunt force trauma.”

The pathological diagnosis included, “severe coronary atherosclerotic disease of left anterior descending coronary artery” with 90% occlusion, and an enlarged heart. Microscopic evaluation of the underlying heart muscle that separated the left and right sides of the heart revealed broad bands of interstitial fibrosis. There was no evidence of an acute heart attack.

Toxicological testing was performed by the FAA Forensic Toxicology Research Team, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with:

Desmethylvenlafaxine (O-) detected in liver.
0.322 (ug/mL, ug/g) Desmethylvenlafaxine (O-) detected in blood.
Venlafaxine detected in liver.
0.02 (ug/ml, ug/g) detected in blood.

The FAA Aeromedical Research toxicology web site states that venlafaxine is an antidepressant used in the treatment of depression. “Warnings - may impair mental and/or physical ability required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks (e.g., driving, operating heavy machinery).” It also notes a therapeutic low dosage of 0.1 ug/ml and a high dosage of 0.3 ug/ml, and a half-life ranging from 3 to 7 hours.

According to the National Institutes of Health National Library of Medicine, venlafaxine side effects can include drowsiness and dizziness.

The FAA Aeromedical Research toxicology web site states that desmethylvenlafaxine is an antidepressant and an active metabolite of venlafaxine. “Warnings - may impair mental and/or physical ability required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks (e.g., driving, operating heavy machinery).” It also notes a therapeutic low dosage of 0.2 ug/ml and a high dosage of 0.4 ug/ml, with no half-life noted.

A review of the pilot’s FAA medical applications reveals no mention of prescribed venlafaxine, several bottles of which were found at the accident site.

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