Thursday, June 29, 2017

Beech B23 Musketeer, N4023T: Accident occurred June 28, 2017 near Odell Williamson Municipal Airport (60J), Ocean Isle Beach, Brunswick County, North Carolina

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Greensboro, North Carolina

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

NTSB Identification: ERA17LA215
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Wednesday, June 28, 2017 in Ocean Isle Beach, NC
Aircraft: BEECH B23, registration: N4023T
Injuries: 1 Serious, 1 Minor.

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 June 28, 2017, about 1910 eastern daylight time, a privately owned and operated Beech B23, N4023T, was substantially damaged when it impacted trees and terrain during a forced landing in Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina. The private pilot received minor injuries, the passenger, who was a student pilot, was seriously injured. The flight departed Odell Williamson Municipal Airport (60J), Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina about 1908, and was destined for Stag Air Park (7NC1), Burgaw, North Carolina. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight, which was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to the passenger, during the previous flight from 7NC1 to 60J while in cruise flight about 3,000 ft mean sea level (msl), the pilot moved the engine mixture control from a partially leaned setting to full rich, just after the passenger noticed that the exhaust gas temperature gauge was indicating "a little high." As the mixture control was moved, the engine developed a "very noticeable vibration" which then worsened. The pilot increased the throttle setting to the "low to mid 2000" rpm range, after which the engine vibration stopped. The engine operated normally for the remainder of the flight.

After landing at 60J, the pilot added about 15 gallons of fuel to the left fuel tank (the tank he had used for the duration of the inbound flight) and about 5 gallons to the right fuel tank. The passenger recalled the pilot commenting about utilizing the right fuel tank for the return flight, but he did not recall whether he moved the fuel selector. The pilot then taxied the airplane to the airport restaurant area where they ate dinner. Before departing the parking area, the pilot removed the engine cowls to examine the engine compartment for any loose wires or other indications of what may have caused the vibration, but found nothing unusual. The pilot then checked the oil quantity, and performed a walkaround inspection of the airplane using his checklist, as he had done prior to the previous flight.

According to the pilot, the engine started normally and he allowed it to idle for a few minutes to warm up. He performed an engine run-up with no issues noted. The engine performed normally during the takeoff, which the pilot described as a "ground effect takeoff" and during the initial climb. When the airplane reached an altitude of about 500 feet msl, the pilot noticed the airplane was not climbing as expected, and the engine rpm had reduced to less than 2000. As he started a "slow bank" left turn back toward the airport, the airplane would no longer climb. He then checked the carburetor temperature gauge which read about 58 degrees, and checked the throttle friction which was satisfactory. He considered switching fuel tanks, but chose not to because the engine was developing some power, and he was concerned that switching tanks might cause a total power loss. Once the pilot realized that the airplane would not reach the runway, he prepared for a forced landing into a wooded area. During landing the left wing struck a tree and the airplane rolled inverted.

An initial examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administrator (FAA) inspector revealed that fuselage came to rest inverted and the right wing was separated from the fuselage at the root. A section of the left wing was separated about mid span, and the nose section forward of the windscreen was crushed in the aft and upward direction. The empennage was crushed and bent toward the right, aft of the baggage compartment door. The vertical and horizontal stabilizers, rudder and elevators were separated from the empennage.

The propeller blades both had minor scratches and nicks but were otherwise undamaged. The engine was rotated by hand at the propeller and produced thumb compression on all four cylinders. The Nos. 3 and 4 sparkplugs were black and sooty. Both magnetos were dislodged. The starter Bendix was in the engaged position. The fuel primer was in the closed position. The throttle control was about 1/4 inch out from the full position, and the mixture control was in the full rich position; however, impact damage was noted to the instrument panel in the area of the controls. The carburetor heat control was in the off position. Both fuel filler caps were found secure with their seals intact.

According to FAA records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued January 28, 2015. According to the pilot's logbook he had accrued 215 hours of total flight experience; he estimated 40 hours of which were in the same make and model as the accident airplane.

The airplane was retained for further examination.

OCEAN ISLE BEACH, NC (WECT) - Two people were hospitalized after a small plane crashed in Ocean Isle Beach on Wednesday evening.

The pilot and passenger were both taken to Grand Strand Medical Center in Myrtle Beach, SC, according to a state highway patrol officer on the scene.

Law enforcement stayed at the scene overnight and the Federal Aviation Administration will begin investigating the crash on Thursday.

A statement from the FAA Wednesday night said the plane was a Beechcraft Musketeer BE23.

"(The) aircraft crashed into the woods after departure from the Odell Williamson Municipal Airport, Ocean Isle Beach, NC, at 7:10 p.m.," the statement read. "The FAA will investigate."   

A resident close to the crash said the plane went down near a community called The Retreat at Ocean Isle Beach.

"Everyone in the neighborhood heard the crash," said the woman, who preferred to remain anonymous. "Then two large fire trucks showed up, ambulances and other emergency personnel."

One resident said he pulled into his driveway just minutes after the crash and saw a man covered in blood. The resident said that man appeared to be OK but the other victim was still in the marsh area where the plane crashed and appeared to be in more serious condition.

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