Sunday, May 20, 2018

Aeronca 11AC, N86078: Fatal accident occurred July 03, 2016 near William 'Tiny' Zehnder Field Airport (66G), Frankenmuth, Saginaw County, Michigan

Analysis

The pilot and passenger were on a local pleasure flight in a single-engine airplane. A witness reported that the pilot was doing touch-and-go landings. The wind was calm, so the pilot departed to the east and then returned to land to the west. The witness did not see the crash but heard the impact and then saw smoke. The airplane impacted a cornfield about 1/4 mile east of the airport. A postcrash fire consumed or thermally damaged the majority of the airplane. The fire and impact damage limited the scope of the examination; however, no evidence of pre-impact abnormalities was noted with the engine or airframe. The pilot's autopsy and toxicology testing found no evidence of any medical condition or medication use that would have impaired his performance, and he had favorable weather conditions for the flight. The accident was consistent with the pilot's loss of control for undetermined reasons.

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's loss of control for undetermined reasons based on available information.

Findings

Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)

Not determined
Not determined - Unknown/Not determined (Cause)

Factual Information

History of Flight

Maneuvering
Loss of control in flight (Defining event)
Unknown or undetermined


Eugene L. Root Jr. (Papa) and Samuel A. Simon (grandson to Eugene) flew home together to be with Jesus late Sunday afternoon July 3, 2016, Eugene was 54 and Samuel was 9.


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

Additional Participating Entity:
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Grand Rapids, Michigan 

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

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

http://registry.faa.gov/N86078


Location: Frankenmuth, MI
Accident Number: CEN16FA240
Date & Time: 07/03/2016, 1722 EDT
Registration: N86078
Aircraft: AERONCA 11AC
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Loss of control in flight
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On July 3, 2016, about 1722 eastern daylight time, an Aeronca Chief 11AC airplane, N86078, impacted terrain near Frankenmuth, Michigan. The pilot and the passenger were fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and the airplane was not on a flight plan. The local flight originated from the William 'Tiny' Zehnder Field Airport (66G), Frankenmuth, Michigan.

A witness, who was located at 66G, said the wind was calm, and the pilot was making touch-and-go landings, departing to the east and then landing to the west. The witness added that he heard the crash and saw smoke east of the airfield.  

Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 54
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): None
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 05/15/2016
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time: 600 hours (Total, all aircraft)

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. He held a third-class medical certificate that was issued on May 15, 2016, with the limitation: must have glasses available for near vision. At the time of the medical exam, the pilot reported 600 total flight hours and 0 hours in the previous 6 months. The pilot's most current flight records were not located during the investigation. 



Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: AERONCA
Registration: N86078
Model/Series: 11AC NO SERIES
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1946
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: 11AC-501
Landing Gear Type: Tailwheel
Seats:
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 06/12/2016, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.:
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 553.9 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: CONT MOTOR
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: A&C65 SERIES
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 65 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held:  None

The Aeronca Chief 11AC is a high-wing, single-engine airplane with fixed, conventional landing gear and powered by a 65-horsepower, four-cylinder, reciprocating Continental engine and a fixed pitch propeller. The fuselage is mixture of thin aluminum skin and welded steel tubes covered with fabric. The wings are covered with fabric with wood spars. 

A review of the airplane's maintenance records revealed the last annual inspection was completed June 12, 2016, with an airplane tachometer time of 553.7 hours and 191.9 hours since engine overhaul. The previous annual inspection was dated June 21, 2015 andlisted a tachometer time of 552.29 hours and a time since engine overhaul of 190.49 hours. 



Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation:
Observation Time:
Distance from Accident Site:
Direction from Accident Site:
Lowest Cloud Condition:
Temperature/Dew Point:
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility: 10 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting:
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Precipitation
Departure Point: Frankenmuth, MI (66G)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Frankenmuth, MI (66G)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time:  EDT
Type of Airspace:

At 1715, the automated weather observation station located at the Saginaw County H W Browne Airport, Saginaw, Michigan, about 10 miles northwest of the accident site, recorded the wind calm, 10 miles visibility, a clear sky, temperature 80°F, dew point 39°F, and an altimeter setting of 30.05 inches of mercury.  

Airport Information

Airport: William Zehnder Field Airport (66G)
Runway Surface Type: Grass/turf
Airport Elevation: 645 ft
Runway Surface Condition:
Runway Used: N/A
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width:
VFR Approach/Landing: Touch and Go 

66G is a privately owned, open to the public, non-towered airport, located 2 miles southeast of Frankenmuth, Michigan. Pilots are to use the CTAF (Common Traffic Advisory Frequency) for communications. 66G has a single turf runway orientated 09/27 that measures 2,530 ft by 100 ft. The airport is at an elevation of 645 ft.  

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: 43.315000, -83.705278

The on-site examination of the wreckage revealed the airplane impacted terrain about 1/4 mile east of 66G. The wreckage was located in a cornfield with the height of the corn varying between 5 and 7 ft. A postcrash fire consumed a majority of the airplane. 

The right wing had extensive thermal damage, and the inboard and outboard sections of the wing displayed heavy impact damage. The left wing also had thermal/fire damage and minor impact damage near the outboard tip. The airplane's cabin was consumed by fire with only the tubular frame remaining; the aft section of the fuselage's fabric was also burnt away, exposing the tubular frame. Other than a piece of fabric that remained on the rudder, the fabric on the empennage was burned away. The elevators were in the down position, and the trim tab was pushed down past its limit. The tailwheel assembly was twisted to one side, and the tailwheel was separated and located under the aft section of the fuselage. The engine and cowling area were thermal and impact damaged. The wooden two-bladed propeller remained attached to the engine, and the outboard sections of both blades were broken off, with a splintered appearance. 

Aileron control continuity was established with the exception of the aileron cable's fastener, located behind the cabin area, which was melted by the fire, and the cable at the right aileron bellcrank, which appeared separated by overload. Rudder and elevator control continuity were established from the respective control surface to the control column.

After the initial on-site documentation of the wreckage, the airplane's engine was separated from the airframe and transported to another facility for further examination.

The engine sustained extensive fire damage. When the propeller was rotated by hand, continuity through the valve train and to the accessory section was observed. The carburetor was broken from its intake flange. The oil screen was removed and was found clear of contaminants. The left magneto contained an impulse coupling and would not rotate. Both magnetos had thermal/fire damage. 

The top set of sparkplugs were removed. The spark plugs exhibited light colored combustion deposits, and the electrodes exhibited normal signatures.

Although the examination was limited by thermal and fire damage, no pre-impact abnormalities were noted during the airframe or engine examinations.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

The Saginaw County Medical Examiner's Office, Saginaw, Michigan, conducted an autopsy on the pilot. The cause of death was determined to be "blunt force chest trauma."

The FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, conducted toxicological testing of the pilot's specimens. The specimens were not tested for cyanide. The tests were negative for ethanol and tested drugs.

Additional Information

A personal smartphone was located at the accident site and shipped to the NTSB Vehicle Recorder Lab in Washington, DC, for download and data extraction. A review of photos extracted from the phone revealed six images taken on the day of the accident from the front seat of the airplane that featured the area around the airport. The first image time stamp was 1708:57, and the final image time stamp was 1709:54.



NTSB Identification: CEN16FA240 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, July 03, 2016 in Frankenmuth, MI
Aircraft: AERONCA 11AC, registration: N86078
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 July 3, 2016, about 1720 eastern daylight time, an Aeronca Chief AC11, airplane, N86078, impacted terrain near Frankenmuth, Michigan. The private rated pilot and passenger were fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed. The airplane was registered to and operated by a private individual under the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal fight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and the airplane was not on a flight plan. The local flight was originating from the William 'Tiny' Zehnder Field Airport (66G), Frankenmuth, Michigan, at the time of the accident.

Several witness reported seeing the airplane earlier. One witness said the wind was calm, and the pilot was doing "touch-n-goes"; departing to the east and then landing to the west. The witness added that they heard the crash and saw smoke. 

The on-site examination of the wreckage revealed the airplane impacted about a quarter mile, east of the 66G airport. A post-crash fire consumed much of the airplane.  After the initial on-site documentation of the wreckage, the airplane's engine was recovered to a secure facility for further examination.

No comments: