Friday, December 26, 2014

Cumberlink Year in Review: No. 9 - South Middleton plane crash; Cessna 172, N4214F, accident occurred March 24, 2014 in Carlisle, Pennsylvania

The Sentinel counts down our staff picks for Cumberland County's top 10 stories of 2014. We will release, in reverse order, two stories a day, counting down to our top story to run on Dec. 31.

On March 24, residents along Forge Road in South Middleton Township got a late-night surprise when a light plane crashed in the middle of the road in a residential area.

The plane, a Cessna 172, managed to miss the utility wires, but collided with tree tops and impacted the ground a little after 11 p.m. March 24.

A National Transportation Safety Board report said the pilot was Chuck McClure, of Washington state, who had just bought the plane from Edgar Spurlin of Canaan, New York. Spurlin told The Sentinel that McClure had left the airport with the plane after closing the transaction before Spurlin was aware he had gone.

In the report filed by McClure and released June 17, McClure said he took off from an airport near Canaan around 5:45 p.m. that day and expected to land at Carlisle or near there when the battery died and he lost electrical functions.

“(I) tried landing north of Carlisle, but could not see (the) runway,” McClure wrote in the report. “(I) returned to altitude and flew on. About three miles out from Carlisle, aircraft ran out of gas and I was forced to land. At the last moment, I saw an opening in the trees ahead of me and made a hard 90-degree turn to my right to land on (the) roadway and avoid houses. Caught on trees ... and landed on center line of roadway.”

McClure said in the report that emergency crews cut off the door and removed the pilot’s side seat to extricate him from the plane. He was flown to Penn State Hershey Medical Center, where he was treated and released.

Local officials credited McClure with being able to avoid damaging any houses or nearby property.

A number of local residents were still awake at the time of the crash and reported hearing the crash or seeing it struggle to fly overhead before crash landing on the road.

Read more here:

NTSB Identification: ERA14CA171
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, March 24, 2014 in Carlisle, PA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/30/2014
Aircraft: CESSNA 172, registration: N4214F
Injuries: 1 Serious.

NTSB investigators used data provided by various entities, including, but not limited to, the Federal Aviation Administration and/or the operator and did not travel in support of this investigation to prepare this aircraft accident report.

According to the pilot he had purchased the airplane and planned to fly it across the country "via the southern route." The aircraft seller informed the pilot that the battery held a limited charge, but asserted that the airplane could be flown if the pilot charged the battery and disengaged the master after takeoff. Prior to departure, a mechanic charged the battery for about an hour. The pilot had planned to depart, fly for about 4 hours and then begin to look for an airport to land and obtain fuel. Once he reached his cruising altitude the pilot disengaged the "master." After about 4 hours of flight and in nighttime conditions the pilot found an airport beacon, reengaged the "master" and attempted to activate the runway lights. After several unsuccessful attempts and with the cockpit lights beginning to dim the pilot elected to conserve battery power and find a new airport. About thirty minutes later the pilot found another airport beacon. The airplane "ran out of gas" over a residential area three miles from the pilot's final destination. The pilot made a turn to line the airplane up with a street; however, during the descent to land the airplane collided with tree tops and subsequently impacted the ground resulting in substantial damage to the engine firewall and both wings. The pilot reported the "electrical system failed in the last few minutes of flight" as the only mechanical failure.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident as follows:
The pilot's decision to depart with a known mechanical malfunction and his improper fuel planning, which resulted in a total loss of engine power due to fuel exhaustion and subsequent impact with terrain during an off-airport landing.

No comments:

Post a Comment