Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Beech Bonanza V35A, N7019N: Fatal accident occurred near Hinton Municipal Airport (2O8), Caddo County, Oklahoma

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

Additional Participating Entities:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas
Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama 

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

On Top Flying Co LLC: http://registry.faa.gov/N7019N

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board

Location: Hydro, OK
Accident Number: ERA18FA114
Date & Time: 03/25/2018, 2137 CDT
Registration: N7019N
Aircraft: BEECH V35
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On March 25, 2018, about 2137 central daylight time, a Beech V35A, N7019N, was destroyed when it impacted terrain near Hydro, Oklahoma. The commercial pilot and passenger were fatally injured. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Night instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight, which departed from Odessa Airport-Schlemeyer Field (ODO), Odessa, Texas, about 1947, and was destined for El Reno Regional Airport (RQO), El Reno, Oklahoma.

The pilot had departed his home airport, RQO, earlier in the day with the passenger and arrived at ODO about 1345. A line technician who worked at the ODO fixed-base operator (FBO) reported that he added 25 gallons of fuel to the airplane shortly after the arrival. According to another line technician, throughout the afternoon while the pilot was at the FBO, he requested that weather radar and satellite information be displayed on a large monitor, because he was "concerned with the clouds."

Review of an audio recording from Austin, Texas, Leidos Flight Service, revealed that the pilot called for a weather briefing at 1806, about an hour and a half before his departure. The pilot informed the flight service specialist that he planned to complete a "VFR [visual flight rules] flight" from Odessa, Texas to El Reno, Oklahoma in about 30 minutes and it would be about a 2.5-hour flight. During the 11-minute call, the flight service specialist provided the pilot with numerous weather details pertaining to his flight.

The specialist informed the pilot that multiple Airmen's Meteorological Information (AIRMET) reports affected his flight. The specialist stated that one AIRMET was for "IFR [instrument flight rules] right at your destination," developing between 1900–2200, "shortly after you depart Odessa." The pilot responded by stating that, "I don't see it as a problem right now, the skies look, I can see that things are changing out here, but things look to be VFR over here at Odessa right now." The specialist responded by stating, "It's not a problem at Odessa, this is about your destination." He then asked the pilot, "can you go IFR if you need to?" The pilot responded by stating, "Yeah, I can if I need to." The specialist and pilot continued their weather discussion for another 7 minutes, with the specialist providing current conditions, radar information, winds aloft, pilot reports, notices to airmen, and forecast conditions for the destination area.

Review of preliminary air traffic control audio provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) revealed that the pilot radioed the Fort Worth Air Route Traffic Control Center (ZFW), at 2133, after being handed off from the Oklahoma City Terminal Radar Approach Control Facility. The pilot checked in with ZFW and when asked by the controller, what his intentions were, the pilot stated, "ok, my intentions are now, I've got myself out of the clouds, I'm back up on top here, I'm going to try to go out to the west and fly down underneath it." The ZFW controller responded by asking where he wanted to fly out west, and where he was trying to get back to. The pilot stated, "ok, I'm going to try to go out towards Hinton Oklahoma and I'll try to get on the outskirts of this overcast and try to go underneath it, to go to El Reno [Oklahoma]." The ZFW controller responded by saying "alright sir," and there were no further communications from the pilot.

Review of preliminary radar data provided by the FAA revealed that the airplane was headed toward the destination airport, RQO, and about 8 miles southwest, at 2125, the airplane turned north and then west toward the town of Hinton, Oklahoma. The airplane continued flying west, past Hinton, and then flew southwest. At 2134, the airplane was about 8 miles southeast of Weatherford, Oklahoma, flying at 3,850 ft mean sea level (msl), continuing southwest. Subsequently, the radar track showed the airplane enter two left, descending, 360° spiral turns, leveling off about 2,200 ft msl. The airplane then flew north, for about 20 seconds, with the last radar data point recording at 2137, showing the airplane flying at 2,125 ft msl, headed 033°, with a 157-knot groundspeed. The last radar point was about 1/4-mile southwest of the accident site.

According to a witness who was traveling in his car, southbound on a road about a 1/2-mile west of the accident site, about the time of the accident, he reported that he observed a "steady red light" and a "steady white light" travel over his car. He continued observing the lights out of his driver's side window for about 10 to 15 seconds, looking eastward, as the lights continued to get lower in his field of view, and then suddenly, he observed a bright "yellow glow" ignite.

The airplane came to rest upright in a flat, open field, on a magnetic heading of 060°. The airplane sustained extensive impact damage, and evidence of a small post-impact fire was observed. All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the accident site, and flight control continuity was established for all flight controls to the cockpit area.

The left main landing gear remained attached to the wing, and the nose and right main landing gear separated from the airframe. The landing gear selector and actuators were found in the retracted position. The flap handle and actuators were found in the retracted position. The fuel strainer screen and fuel strainer bowl were found clean. The fuel selector handle and valve were found selected to the right fuel tank.

The cockpit instrument panel, navigation, and communication instruments were damaged during the impact. The attitude indicator and heading indicator were found in the debris field. The heading indicator displayed a heading of 060°. Both gyroscope housings exhibited evidence of rotational scoring. The throttle lever and mixture control lever were found full forward and bent. The propeller control lever was found pulled out (aft).

The airplane was equipped with five seats. The front two seats were found separated from the airframe in the debris field. One front seat lap belt was found buckled with its attached point stitching ripped on one side. The other front seat lap belt was found unbuckled, with one of its attach points stitching ripped. The number 5 passenger seat was the only seat that was found attached to the airframe. The airplane was not equipped with shoulder harnesses.

The engine separated from the airframe and was found about 220 ft forward of the main wreckage. During a postaccident engine examination, the crankshaft was rotated by hand and valve train continuity was established, and all pistons operated normally. Each spark plug displayed varying degrees of impact damage; the top spark plugs were visually inspected, and normal operating and combustion signatures were observed. The cylinders were inspected using a lighted borescope; the cylinder bore, piston faces, and valve heads displayed normal operating and combustion signatures.

The fuel manifold valve and fuel nozzles were examined, and no debris was observed. Numerous engine accessories separated from the engine and were found in the debris field. Both magnetos separated from the engine and were found capable of producing spark when rotated by an electric drill.

The vacuum pump remained attached to the engine and displayed impact damage signatures. The vacuum pump was removed, and it was noted that the shear coupling remained intact. The vacuum pump was disassembled, and it was noted that the rotor was impact damaged.

All three propeller blades had broken free from the propeller hub and displayed impact damage signatures. Each propeller blade displayed varying amounts of S-bending, blade polishing, leading edge gouging, and twisting deformation.

A review of the airplane's maintenance records revealed, the most recent annual and 100-hour inspection was performed on December 21, 2017, at an airframe time of 3361.17, a tachometer time of 2559.17, and 887.6 hours since major engine overhaul. The tachometer was found in the debris field and it displayed 2583.17 hours.

According to FAA airmen records, the pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single and multi-engine land ratings, as well as instrument airplane. The pilot was issued an FAA second-class medical certificate on January 18, 2018. At that time, the pilot reported civil flight experience that included 4,500 total hours and 2 hours in last 6 months.

A witness reported that at the time of the accident, it was windy, and it was a darker than normal night, as "the moon was not visible." He reported that other than a farm house light, there were no other cars that past him near the time of the accident, the road was not lit, and the fields around the accident site were "pitch black."

The weather conditions reported about the time of the accident at Thomas P. Stafford Airport (OJA), Weatherford, Oklahoma, which was located 8 miles northwest of the accident site, included an overcast cloud ceiling at 800 ft above ground level, wind 120° at 11 knots, gusting 18 knots, visibility 7 statute miles, temperature 17°C, and dew point 16°C. The weather conditions at the destination airport RQO, about the time of the accident, included an overcast cloud ceiling at 800 ft above ground level, wind 140° at 19 knots, gusting 25 knots, visibility 7 statute miles, temperature 18°C, and dew point 16°C. 

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: BEECH
Registration: N7019N
Model/Series: V35 A
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Instrument Conditions
Condition of Light: Night/Dark
Observation Facility, Elevation: KOJA, 1607 ft msl
Observation Time: 2135 CDT
Distance from Accident Site: 8 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 17°C / 16°C
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 11 knots/ 18 knots, 120°
Lowest Ceiling: Overcast / 800 ft agl
Visibility:  7 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 29.77 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: ODESSA, TX (ODO)
Destination:  EL RENO, OK (RQO)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 2 Fatal
Latitude, Longitude: 35.454444, -98.562778

Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email eyewitnessreport@ntsb.gov, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email assistance@ntsb.gov

Walter "Rick" Mullaney

Cesar Gomez 

HYDRO, Okla. (AP) — The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says two men were killed when the plane they were flying from Texas to Oklahoma crashed in central Oklahoma.

The OOklahoma Highway Patrol said Tuesday that 62-year-old pilot Walter R. Mullaney of El Reno and 27-year-old passenger Cesar Gomez of Fort Lupton, Colorado, died in the crash that was discovered on Monday near Hydro, about 60 miles (96 kilometers) west of Oklahoma City.

An Oklahoma Highway Patrol report says the two were flying Sunday night from Odessa, Texas, to El Reno when the aircraft was diverted to the Hinton Municipal Airport because of clouds and fog and that the plane crashed into a field.

Walter R. Mullaney was the airport manager for the El Reno Municipal Airport from September of 1986 to March of 2011. He continued as a commercial pilot until October 2014, according to his LinkedIn profile.

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