Saturday, February 11, 2017

Cessna 140A, N5612C: Fatal accident occurred November 08, 2014 in Gilroy, Santa Clara County, California

Kiely Vaca
The Cessna 140A was piloted by Jon Dennis, 69, who along with passenger Kiely Vaca, 18, were killed on November 8th, 2014.


The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities: 
Federal Aviation Administration- Flight Standards District Office - San Jose FSDO-15, California;
Textron Aviation - Wichita, Kansas;
Continental Motors Group - Mobile, Alabama.

Aviation Accident Factual Report -  National Transportation Safety Board:  https://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

Docket And Docket Items - National Transportation Safety Board: https://dms.ntsb.gov/pubdms

Jon R. Dennis:http://registry.faa.gov/N5612C

NTSB Identification: WPR15FA039 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, November 08, 2014 in Gilroy, CA
Aircraft: CESSNA 140A, registration: N5612C
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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.

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On November 8, 2014 about 1500 Pacific standard time, a Cessna 140A, N5612C, collided with power lines and terrain near Gilroy, California. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. The private pilot and passenger were fatally injured and the airplane was substantially damaged. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed. The local flight originated from Frazier Lake Airpark, Hollister, California about 1430 with an intended destination of Monterey Bay Academy Airport, Watsonville, California.

A family member of the pilot reported the airplane overdue to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) the evening of November 8, 2014, after becoming concerned when the pilot and passenger had not arrived. The FAA issued an Alert Notification (ALNOT) for the missing airplane, and the wreckage was located the following day within a heavily wooded valley about five miles north of Frazier Lake Airpark by search and rescue personnel.

Overhead power distribution lines had separated near their mid-spans over the valley near the accident site. The lines were supported by two wooden H-frame pole assemblies, separated at a distance of about 1,500 feet, and were about 300 feet above ground level near the accident site. Residents near the accident site reported a power outage around the time of the accident. There were no witnesses to the accident.

Examination of the accident site by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) revealed that the airplane collided with steep terrain and remained intact, with exception to the propeller assembly, which was located near the main wreckage. The main wreckage was about 600 feet south of the distribution lines. Braided wire striations were observed on the propeller assembly and outboard area of the right wing.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 69, held an airline transport pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine and multiengine land, airplane single-engine sea, instrument airplane, and rotorcraft rating. Additionally, the pilot held a flight instructor certificate with ratings in single- and multiengine land airplane, and a basic ground instructor certificate. A second-class airman medical certificate was issued on May 14, 2014 with restrictions that he must have available glasses for near vision. The pilot reported on his most recent medical certificate application that he had accumulated 22,000 total flight hours and 30 hours in the last 6 months.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The two-seat, high-wing airplane, serial number (S/N) 15545, was manufactured in 1950. It was powered by a Continental C-90-14F engine, serial number 42725-0-14, rated at 90 horsepower, and equipped with a McCauley fixed pitch propeller.

A review of the maintenance records revealed that during the last annual inspection on August 2, 2014, the airframe and engine both had a total time of 5,484 hours, with 1,092 hours on the engine since major overhaul.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The closest weather reporting station to the accident site was located at Salinas Municipal Airport, Salinas, California, which was located 26 miles southwest of the accident site, at an elevation of 84 feet msl. At 1453, several minutes prior to the accident, the station disseminated an automated observation report; wind 7 knots at 270 degrees, visibility 10 statute miles, sky clear, temperature 24° C, dew point 12° C, altimeter 29.99 inches of mercury.

According to the US Naval Observatory Astronomical Applications Department, in the town of Hollister, the sun was located at 20.1 degrees above the horizon at an azimuth of 228.9 east of north at 1500. Sunset was at 1702.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

Examination of the accident site revealed that the aircraft had been flying to the south and the wreckage was located on an east-facing slope of a wooded valley about five miles east of Gilroy, California. The wreckage was substantially damaged and there was no debris field. The first identified point of contact was tree strikes near the top of surrounding oak trees directly above the main wreckage. An area of disturbed dirt was found uphill from the wreckage on steep terrain. The area of disturbed dirt was about 25 feet in length and had paint transfer marks on rocky outcroppings. The propeller assembly was found near the main wreckage and had impact damage. The airplane was upright and was facing uphill in the direction of about 340 degrees magnetic. The engine and cowling had impact damage and were crushed rearward into the cabin area. Both wings had leading edge damage. The main gear legs were bent rearward. The right wheel separated from the landing gear strut. All primary flight controls were attached to the airplane. The right horizontal stabilizer had impact damage.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Santa Clara County Coroner conducted an autopsy on the pilot on November 10, 2014. The medical examiner determined that the cause of death was "multiple blunt force injuries due to airplane crash."

The FAA's Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI) performed toxicology tests on the pilot. According to CAMI's report, carbon monoxide, cyanide, volatiles, and drugs were tested, and all results were negative.

TESTS AND RESEARCH

The right wing leading edge and right wing strut had impact marks consistent with a wire strike, and electrical arcing signatures were visible on one of the propeller blade leading edges. The postaccident examination of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. For further information, see the postaccident examination summary in the public docket for this accident.
 Volunteers searched on November 9th, 2014 for the victims of a plane crash near Gilroy, California. -Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department.


NTSB Identification: WPR15FA039
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, November 08, 2014 in Gilroy, CA
Aircraft: CESSNA 140A, registration: N5612C
Injuries: 2 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 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 November 8, 2014 about 1500 Pacific standard time, a Cessna 140A, N5612C, collided with power lines and terrain near Gilroy, California. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. The private pilot and passenger were fatally injured and the airplane was substantially damaged. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed. The local flight originated from Frazier Lake Airpark (1C9), Hollister, California about 1430 with an intended destination of Monterey Bay Academy Airport, Watsonville, California.

A family member of the pilot reported the airplane overdue to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) the evening of November 8, 2014, after becoming concerned when the pilot and passenger had not arrived at their intended destination. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an Alert Notification (ALNOT) for the missing airplane. The wreckage was located on November 9 within a heavily wooded area about 5 miles north of 1C9 by search and rescue personnel.

Examination of the accident site by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge revealed that the airplane collided with steep terrain and remained intact with exception to the propeller assembly which was located near the main wreckage. Both wings had leading edge damage, the engine and forward fuselage was severely crushed rearward, and the empennage remained attached with impact damage to the right horizontal stabilizer. All primary flight controls remained attached to the airplane. The separated propeller assembly revealed that one of its blades had multiple s-type bending and a small portion of that blade's tip was missing. The other blade was slightly bent rearward. Braided wire striations were observed on the outboard area of the right wing and propeller.

Overhead distribution power lines located a few hundred feet from the main wreckage were found separated near their mid-spans. The lines were supported by two wooden H-frame pole assemblies at a distance of about 1,500 feet and spanned the valley below, about 300 feet above ground level. According to residents near the accident site reported a power outage around the time of the accident.

The airplane wreckage was recovered to a secure location for further examination.

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