Friday, December 07, 2012

Cassutt Sport Racer, N9CA: Accident occurred December 02, 2012 in Collegedale, Tennessee

NTSB Identification: ERA13LA076 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, December 02, 2012 in Collegedale, TN
Aircraft: CASSUTT SPORT RACER, registration: N9CA
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

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 December 2, 2012, at an unknown time, an experimental amateur-built Cassutt Sport Racer, N9CA, was substantially damaged during impact with trees and terrain about one mile north of Collegedale Municipal Airport (FGU), Collegedale, Tennessee. The certificated private pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight, which departed FGU around 1600. The personal flight was operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to an employee at FGU, he observed the airplane depart normally from runway 21. When the employee left the airport at 1730, the accident airplane had not returned. The wreckage was discovered by local authorities on December 4, 2012.

The airplane came to rest inverted among trees approximately one-quarter mile north of the FGU runway 21 threshold. Both wings remained attached to the fuselage, and the right wing exhibited damage consistent with impact with trees. The empennage was intact and displayed crush damage, and the vertical stabilizer, rudder, horizontal stabilizer, and elevator remained attached to the empennage. The wreckage was removed from the accident site and further examination was scheduled for a later date.

The 1553 weather observation at Lovell Field Airport (CHA), located about nine miles west of the accident site, included winds from 170 degrees at 9 knots, 10 miles visibility, broken clouds at 5,500 feet and 25,000 feet, temperature 21 degrees C, dew point 9 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 30.23 inches of mercury.

 COLLEGEDALE, TN (WRCB) -- Nearly two days passed from the time Clarence Andrews took off from the Collegedale Airport Sunday to when aviation officials were notified something was wrong early Tuesday morning. 

 Channel 3 wanted to know how this could this have happened.

"Aviation is very regulated. They say it's second to taxes," says Terry Hess. Hess is a pilot and an instructor with 20 years of flying experience. He talked to Channel 3 about aviation rules and regulations. He says private flyers like Andrews can choose to take advantage of flight plan benefits.

"That will track his progress and if it ends up not right in his destination and canceling the flight plan, within 30 minutes it will enact a search and rescue procedure," Hess explains.

However, it took nearly 36 hours for before anyone noticed Andrews was missing.

Hess says the air space around Collegedale is uncontrolled, meaning pilots have to look out for themselves and since there's no control tower they also have to communicate with each other.

"Participation is mutually done through a common traffic advisory frequency," Hess says. However, that too is not mandatory and no one but other planes in the area monitor the frequency.

It's not clear if Andrews' plane was equipped with an emergency locator transmitter, or ELT. Mark Landrum with the Tennessee Wing Civil Air Patrol says it was not required but the FAA does require most general aviation aircrafts to have one.

Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board tell us it may be awhile before they know what the transmitter recorded, if there was one.

"It's up to him with an experimental category aircraft to maintain that device," says Hess.

In the past two weeks the FAA reports there have been five fatal plane crashes across the nation involving home built planes like the one Andrews flew. However, Hess says flying is still 20 times safer than driving.

Story, photo and video:

  Regis#: 9CA        Make/Model: EXP       Description: SPORT RACER
  Date: 12/02/2012     Time: 2030

  Event Type: Accident   Highest Injury: Fatal     Mid Air: N    Missing: N
  Damage: Destroyed

  City: COLLEGEDALE   State: TN   Country: US


INJURY DATA      Total Fatal:   1
                 # Crew:   1     Fat:   1     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Pass:   0     Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    
                 # Grnd:         Fat:   0     Ser:   0     Min:   0     Unk:    

  Activity: Unknown      Phase: Unknown      Operation: OTHER

  FAA FSDO: NASHVILLE, TN  (CE19)                 Entry date: 12/05/2012 

In another accident, this wreckage wasn't located until 15 days later...

NTSB Identification: ERA12FA051
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, October 13, 2011 in Moncks Corner, SC
Aircraft: CESSNA 150F, registration: N3086X
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

The wreckage was discovered on October 27, 2011, in a level wooded area about 60 feet outside the northwest airport perimeter fence, approximately 2,440 feet from the approach end of runway 5.

November 4, 2011:    MONCKS CORNER — Kenneth Tollett evidently tried to crawl away from the wreckage. His private plane had gone over the airport fence and into the trees alongside the runway. He could have survived, maybe. But what needed to happen didn’t.

He wouldn’t be found for two weeks.

The Moncks Corner man’s family is burying him Saturday after a funeral service in Dunlap, Tenn. His death in the horrible wreck at Berkeley County Airport on Oct. 13, and the delay searching for him, were the consequences of too many things gone wrong. He wasn’t found sooner because he didn’t tell anyone that he planned to fly and because he had a tendency to go off by himself, so no one immediately became alarmed.

But there’s more.

Tollett, 64, flew in an airspace plagued by old emergency equipment giving off so many false signals that the U.S. Air Force no longer monitors the frequency. A lot of private pilots don’t even listen to it unless requested. The $5,000-$6,000 cost of upgrading to more closely monitored satellite equipment discourages a lot of pilots.

He wasn’t found sooner because he didn’t tell anyone that he planned to fly and because he had a tendency to go off by himself, so no one immediately became alarmed.

But there’s more.

Like a lot of private pilots, he wasn’t required to file a flight plan or even check in with the office. The emergency equipment designed to back him up isn’t always reliable. And pilots who are supposed to listen for it, often don’t.
The circumstances stacked the odds against him.


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