NTSB Identification: ERA16FA075
HISTORY OF FLIGHT
On December 20, 2015, about 1430 eastern standard time, a Beech C24R, N2074P, impacted trees and terrain in Winder, Georgia. The private pilot sustained fatal injuries, and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to Bryant and Bryant Aviation Inc., and was being operated as a 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from Jackson County Airport (19A), Jefferson, Georgia at 1359, and was destined for Barrow County Airport (WDR), Winder, Georgia.
According to a fuel log found in the airplane, the airplane was last fueled on December 10, 2015, with 28.5 gallons of fuel, at a Hobbs time of 3415.9 hours. It could not be determined if the fuel was topped off. Review of data recovered from a handheld GPS receiver revealed that the pilot then flew for about 2.5 hours later that day.
Further review of the GPS data revealed that on the day of the accident, the airplane initially departed Gwinnett County-Briscoe Field (LZU), Lawrenceville, Georgia. The pilot flew to 19A, where he completed one practice approach to runway 35 with a full stop and taxi to runway 17 for departure. He then flew locally for about 1 hour before flying to WDR. Over the 1.5 hour flight, he flew between altitudes of 800 feet to 4,000 feet mean sea level, except for the times of his practice approach into 19A.
Several witnesses reported seeing the airplane flying overhead and then impacting treetops near a golf course. One of the witnesses stated that the left wing was low and that the airplane was losing altitude "very quickly" before it impacted terrain nose first. In addition, one witness stated that the engine was "sputtering" before impact. The witness drove to the accident scene and observed fuel leaking out of the airplane.
According to FAA records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land, airplane multi-engine land, and instrument airplane ratings. He held an FAA third-class medical certificate, issued February 4, 2015. At the time of the medical examination, the pilot reported 7,000 hours of total flight time. Review of the pilot's logbook revealed that he had accumulated 7,248.7 hours of total flight time, 34.5 hours of which were flown during the 30 days before the accident.
The four-seat, low-wing, tricycle landing gear-equipped airplane, serial number MC608, was manufactured in 1978. It was powered by a Lycoming IO-360-A1B6, 200-horsepower engine and equipped with a three-bladed McCauley propeller, model B3D36C429. Review of maintenance records revealed that the airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on June 10, 2015. At that time, the airframe had accumulated about 3,926 total hours of operation and the engine had accumulated 477 hours since major overhaul. At the time of the accident, the airplane had flown about 63 hours since the annual inspection.
According to the Beechcraft C24R Pilot's Operating Handbook, the airplane contained two 30 gallon fuel tanks, 1.5 gallons of which was unusable in each tank. Fuel consumption calculations using data from the Lycoming Operator's manual for the O-360 model, revealed that at power settings between 45 and 75-percent power, and between best power and best economy fuel flow settings, the airplane would have an expected cruise endurance of between 4.5 and 6.8 hours with full fuel tanks. The calculation was for cruise endurance only, and did not take into account fuel consumed during taxi, run-up, takeoff, climb, descent, or landing.
At 1435, the recorded weather at WDR included calm wind, visibility 10 statute miles, temperature 13° C, dew point -6° C; and altimeter 30.49 inches of mercury.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The airplane came to rest upright against a tree, and the debris field was compact. The airplane had impacted treetops that were about 88 ft high and 193 ft before the initial ground impact point. There was no fuel smell at the scene. The debris path was oriented on a magnetic heading of 228°, and the airplane came to rest on a magnetic heading of 080°. Measurement of the elevator trim actuator corresponded to a neutral position. Cable continuity was established to all flight controls.
The left wing impacted the ground first, and the pitot tube was fractured off at the impact point. The landing gear was extended, and the flaps were retracted. The left fuel tank was breached at the leading edge, and there was no residual fuel in the tank. The left wing was forced into the side of the fuselage by impact forces, and the main spar was fractured at the attachment points. The outer half of the wing was torn between the flap and aileron.
The right wing leading edge was crushed upward and exhibited tree impact marks near the inboard side. The right fuel tank was empty and not damaged. The Hobbs meter indicated 3419.85 hours.
The aft fuselage was resting against a tree, and the empennage was partially separated about 5 ft from the stabilator. The stabilator was attached and exhibited tree impact marks. The forward fuselage and cabin section were crushed due to impact forces. The instrument panel was fractured in half, and most of the instruments had ejected out of the panel. The fuel selector was found in the left main fuel tank position. The fuel valve was disassembled and found to be partially in the left port, and it exhibited some impact damage.
The engine and propeller were crushed aft into the firewall. The propeller exhibited no rotational damage. Two propeller blades were bent aft near the propeller hub. The third blade was undamaged. The spinner dome was crushed on one side and between two blades.
The engine was removed from the airframe for further examination. Valve train continuity was confirmed by partial disassembly and rotating the crankshaft by hand. Thumb compression was attained on all cylinders.
The oil filter and oil suction screen were clear of debris. The spark plugs did not exhibit any anomalies. The fuel screen was clean and clear of debris. The vacuum pump was removed and examined. The coupling was intact and rotated freely. The vanes were intact. The engine-driven fuel pump was removed and examined with no anomalies noted. It was clean and clear of debris. The fuel pump was operated by hand and produced air. The fuel servo and fuel pump both contained about 2 teaspoons of fuel with an odor and color consistent with aviation fuel. The interiors of the cylinders were examined using a lighted boroscope, and no anomalies were noted. The propeller governor was removed and examined with no anomalies noted. The governor oil screen was clean and clear of debris. Both magnetos produced spark when rotated by hand. Oil was observed in the engine, and it was clean and clear of debris. The oil filter was cut open, and it was clean and clear of metal and debris. The oil suction screen was clean and clear of debris.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The Division of Forensic Sciences, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, State of Georgia, conducted an autopsy on the pilot on August 3, 2016. The autopsy findings included "blunt trauma of the neck and torso."
The FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicology testing on specimens from the pilot. The toxicology report stated that no drugs were detected in the urine, and no carbon monoxide was detected in the blood.