Saturday, October 18, 2014

Aeronca 7AC Champion, N946DR: Accident occurred October 16, 2014 in Cordele, Georgia

NTSB Identification: ERA15FA017 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, October 16, 2014 in Cordele, GA
Aircraft: AERONCA 7AC, registration: N946DR
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 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 either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On October 16, 2014, about 1230 eastern daylight time, an Aeronca 7AC airplane, N946DR, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain shortly after takeoff from Crisp County Cordele Airport (CKF), Cordele, Georgia. The private pilot was fatally injured and the passenger received serious injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The planned cross-country flight departed from CKF at 1230 and was destined for Peach State Airport (GA2), Williamson, Georgia. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to witnesses, the accident airplane was the first of four airplanes to depart in sequence from runway 28, a 5,001-foot-long, 150-foot-wide, asphalt runway. The airplane lifted off from the runway about midfield and started a climb. After reaching about 150 feet above ground level, the airplane entered a gradual left turn that progressed into a steep turn and slight descent. The airplane then entered a nose down attitude before it impacted the ground, spun around and came to rest.

The airplane came to rest in a grass area in a flat attitude, on a southerly heading about 350 feet from the runway. All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the accident site. The wings remained attached to the fuselage; the right wing displayed both outboard and inboard leading edge crush damage and the inboard wood spar was broken at the fuselage. The inboard section of the left wing exhibited vertical crush damage. No damage was noted on the elevator and rudder control surfaces and the elevator trim tab was observed in the slight nose up position. Both propeller blades remained attached to the propeller hub. Blade A exhibited some chordwise scratches and curling at the blade tip. Blade B also displayed chordwise scratches and a slight bend at the blade tip. Examination of the accident site and wreckage revealed that the airplane right wing made contact with the ground before the airplane spun and came to rest.

Further postaccident examination of the airframe was conducted at a secure facility and fuel system continuity was confirmed from the wing tanks, through the fuel gascolater, to the engine. Flight control continuity was established from the control stick in the cockpit to the ailerons and elevator, and from the rudder pedals to the rudder.

Examination of the seat belt restraints revealed that the pilot's lab belt and shoulder harness had been cut by the first responder team.

The pilot held a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. His most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued on December 11, 2013. At that time, he reported a total flight experience of 3,098 hours; of which, 88 hours were flown during the previous 6 months.

A handheld Garmin 396 global positioning system receiver was recovered from the cockpit and forwarded to the NTSB Vehicle Recorder Laboratory, Washington, DC, for download.

The engine was retained for further examination.

 National Transportation Safety Board air safety investigator Stephen Stein says the purpose of the on-scene portion of the investigation is to gather perishable information which is information that may no longer be available after the wreckage is disturbed and also includes witness statements. 



The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are in Crisp County investigating a plane crash that happened Thursday afternoon.

NTSB Air Safety Investigator Stephen Stein says the purpose of the on-scene portion of the investigation is to gather perishable information which is information that may no longer be available after the wreckage is disturbed and also includes witness statements.

Stein says the investigation could go on for months or even a year before a cause is known. Investigators will be looking into the pilot's history and environmental factors as well.

The pilot, 61-year-old Rene St. Julien of Port St. Lucie, Florida was killed and his wife Jan was injured and improving at a hospital in Macon. This happened just around 12:30 p.m. Thursday at Crisp County Cordele Airport as the plane was departing.

NTSB welcomes any information you may have regarding the accident by emailing or calling (202) 314-6000.

- Source:

Federal Aviation Administration Flight Standards District Office:  FAA Atlanta FSDO-11


Any witnesses should email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email

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