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Aviation Accident

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NTSB Identification: ERA17LA261
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, July 30, 2017 in Danbury, CT
Aircraft: CESSNA 172S, registration: N612DF
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 2 Serious.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On July 30, 2017, about 1025 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 172S, N612DF, was substantially damaged when it impacted brush and terrain shortly after takeoff from the Danbury Municipal Airport (DXR), Danbury Connecticut. The pilot died 4 days after the accident, and the two passengers received serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight, which was operated by Arrow Aviation LLC under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to the airport tower controller , the airplane lost altitude after takeoff while still over runway 26, a 4,422-foot-long runway. He then observed it "appearing to correct – it had assumed a more nose up attitude." It then began a left roll, followed by a "full nose up attitude, rolling to the left" before it lost altitude and impacted the ground.

An initial examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administrator (FAA) inspector revealed that fuselage came to rest upright in a nose down attitude, in a heavy brush area about 1,000 feet from the departure end of the runway. The left wing was partial separated from the fuselage and exhibited leading edge crush damage from the root to the tip. The outboard one-third of the right wing was bent upward and aft. The fuselage was buckled on both sides aft of the rear window, and the left rear pillar was crushed and separated from the roof. The nose section, including the engine, was crushed and displaced upward and aft. The empennage, vertical and horizontal stabilizers, rudder and elevators were largely undamaged .

Several brush branches were found severed at a 45-degree angle in the westerly path leading up to the airplane. Both propeller blades exhibited leading edge gouges and chordwise scratches. Fuel samples from both tanks was blue in color and absent of water. Oil was present in the engine, but the quantity could not be determined due to the canted resting position of the engine.

According to fuel records and statements from the operator, the airplane was fueled to the full level in both tanks on the afternoon of July 28. The accident flight was the first flight since that fueling.

Review of the airplane's maintenance records revealed that the most recent annual inspection was completed on July 21, 2017 about 17 flight hours prior to the accident. At that time, the engine had accrued 11,395 hours since new, and 656 hours since overhaul.

According to FAA records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and helicopter. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued June 14, 2016 at which time he reported 582 hours of total flight experience.

At 1053, the reported weather at DXR included wind from 350° at 9 knots, the temperature was 23° C, and the dew point was 12° C.

The airplane was retained for further examination.