Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Beech A36 Bonanza, N985K: Fatal accident occurred June 02, 2015 at Siler City Municipal Airport (KSCR), Chatham County, North Carolina

Analysis

The purpose of the accident flight was to reposition the accident airplane in order to have maintenance performed on its alternator. The accident pilot planned to fly with the airplane's landing gear extended for the duration of the flight and used a handheld radio for communications, presumably because of the intermittent or non-functional state of the alternator. Another pilot, who was flying in his own airplane, accompanied the accident flight, and they arrived in the vicinity of the destination airport about the same time. As the accident pilot maneuvered his airplane to land, the accompanying pilot watched as the accident airplane flew a downwind traffic pattern leg very close to the runway, then entered a "tight" base-to-final turn. The airplane subsequently entered what the accompanying pilot described as an accelerated aerodynamic stall and descended in a nose-down attitude toward the ground. The airplane impacted trees and terrain about 500 ft short of the runway threshold. A postaccident examination of the wreckage revealed no evidence of any preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures, with the exception of the alternator, which failed a diagnostic test run. 

Probable Cause and Findings

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot's failure to maintain adequate airspeed and his exceedance of the airplane's critical angle of attack while maneuvering for landing, which resulted in an aerodynamic stall.

Findings

Aircraft
Airspeed - Not attained/maintained (Cause)
Angle of attack - Not attained/maintained (Cause)

Personnel issues
Aircraft control - Pilot (Cause)

Barbara Harris-Para

Barbara Harris-Para died when the Beech A36 Bonanza (N985K) crashed into woods during a landing attempt at Siler City Municipal Airport, North Carolina. Barbara was a flight instructor and was once governor of the New Jersey/New York section of the Ninety-Nines, a women’s flying club founded by aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart. For her, aviation was not a childhood dream, but it turned into one later in life. “She was always afraid of heights, believe it or not. She decided she would learn how to fly to overcome her fear of heights. Then she really got into it,” her brother said. Over the next 30 years, she became a very experienced pilot and a flight instructor and, after retiring from teaching in 1998, she worked for the Federal Aviation Administration as a Freedom of Information Act officer, he said.

Fred Para
Fred Para sits for a portrait on his couch in his home on September 3, 2015 in Whispering Pines. It has been just over three months since Para was involved in a plane crash that killed his wife and left him with severe injuries. He continues to make progress in his rehabilitation and hopes to pilot an airplane again soon.
~

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

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

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/N985K




Aviation Accident Factual Report - National Transportation Safety Board


Location: Siler City, NC
Accident Number: ERA15LA231
Date & Time: 06/02/2015, 0800 EDT
Registration: N985K
Aircraft: BEECH A36
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Defining Event: Aerodynamic stall/spin
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under:  Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On June 2, 2015, about 0800 eastern daylight time, a Beech A36, N985K, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain while attempting to land at Siler City Municipal Airport (SCR), Siler City, North Carolina. The private pilot was seriously injured, and the commercial pilot-rated passenger was fatally injured. The airplane was privately owned and operated under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight, which originated from Moore County Airport (SOP), Pinehurst, North Carolina.

According to a friend of the pilot, the purpose of the accident flight was to reposition the airplane in order to have maintenance performed on the alternator. The accident airplane departed from SOP, and, due to concerns related to the airplane's electrical system, the pilot kept the landing gear extended for the duration of the flight and planned to utilize a handheld communication radio. The friend departed SOP a short time later in his own airplane and arrived in the area of SCR before the accident airplane. The friend reported that a "haze" layer was present near the north side of the airport that was not present toward the south. The friend subsequently maneuvered his airplane so that the accident airplane could enter the traffic pattern and land first.

The accident airplane initially entered the traffic pattern on a downwind leg for landing on runway 22, but upon noting the haze to the north, the pilot announced that they would transition over top of the airport to a left downwind for landing on runway 4. The friend intermittently observed the accident airplane as it maneuvered and noted that, while on the downwind-to-base turn to the runway, the airplane was near the runway in a left bank and nose-high attitude. He further described the turn from base to final as "too tight," and he thought that the airplane had entered an accelerated stall. When he next saw the airplane, it was in a nose-down attitude heading toward a stand of trees that bordered the runway's east side short of the runway threshold. The friend did not observe the impact, but when he did not receive a reply to his inquiries as to their position, he assumed that the airplane had crashed. He subsequently orbited the area where he last observed the airplane and located the accident site. He then landed his own airplane, contacted emergency services, and proceeded to the accident site to render assistance.

The pilot seated in the left seat held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. He held a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third-class medical certificate, which was issued in June 2014. On the application for that certificate, he reported 1,430 total hours of flight experience. The pilot-rated passenger, who was seated in the right seat, held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single- and multi-engine land, and instrument airplane, as well as a flight instructor certificate with ratings for airplane single- and multi-engine land and instrument airplane. The passenger held an FAA second-class medical certificate, which was issued in September 2014, and on the application for that certificate, she reported 4,900 total hours of flight experience. According to the friend, the passenger was not operating in the capacity of a flight instructor on the accident flight.

An FAA inspector examined the airplane at the accident site and identified the initial impact point as a tree located about 500 ft southeast of the runway 4 approach threshold and about 300 ft southeast of the extended runway centerline. The wreckage came to rest about 65 ft from the initial impact point on a 65° magnetic bearing. First responders advised the inspectors of an odor of fuel at the accident site but indicated that there was no postimpact fire.

Detailed examination of the wreckage confirmed flight control continuity from the control column and rudder pedals to each flight control surface. The landing gear selector switch was found in the extended position, and examination of the landing gear actuators revealed positions consistent with the landing gear being extended at impact. The flap actuator was found in the retracted position. One of the three propeller blades was separated from the propeller hub, and all three blades exhibited chordwise scratching. The airplane's alternator was removed and placed on a test bench. The alternator failed the diagnostic test run, with the report noting that the unit produced "low output" and recommending replacement of the stator and/or rotor.

The 0755 weather observation at SCR included calm wind, 7 statute miles visibility, a broken ceiling at 200 ft, and overcast ceiling at 9,000 ft, temperature 19°C, dew point 19°C, and an altimeter setting of 30.04 inches of mercury. At 0815, the weather conditions included 5 statute miles visibility in light rain, scattered clouds at 200 ft, scattered clouds at 6,500 ft, and an overcast ceiling at 8,000 ft.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Raleigh, North Carolina, performed an autopsy of the pilot-rated passenger. The reported cause of death was "multiple injuries." 



Pilot Information

Certificate: Private
Age: 72, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 3 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 06/01/2014
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  1430 hours (Total, all aircraft)

Pilot-Rated Passenger Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 69, Female
Airplane Rating(s): Multi-engine Land; Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Right
Other Aircraft Rating(s): None
Restraint Used: Unknown
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane
Second Pilot Present: Yes
Instructor Rating(s): Airplane Multi-engine; Airplane Single-engine; Instrument Airplane
Toxicology Performed: Yes
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 09/01/2014
Occupational Pilot: No
Last Flight Review or Equivalent: 
Flight Time: 4900 hours (Total, all aircraft)

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Manufacturer: BEECH
Registration: N985K
Model/Series: A36
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1981
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Utility
Serial Number: E-1947
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats:
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 06/17/2013, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3651 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines:  Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time:  3501 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Continental Motors
ELT: C91A installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: IO-520-BB
Registered Owner: BHB OF THE SANDHILLS LLC
Rated Power:
Operator: BHB OF THE SANDHILLS LLC
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Instrument Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KSCR, 614 ft msl
Observation Time: 1155 UTC
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Direction from Accident Site: 73°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Thin Broken / 200 ft agl
Temperature/Dew Point: 19°C / 19°C
Lowest Ceiling: Broken / 200 ft agl
Visibility:  7 Miles
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: Calm
Visibility (RVR):
Altimeter Setting: 30.04 inches Hg
Visibility (RVV):
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: PINEHURST/SOUTHERN PINES, NC (SOP)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Destination: Siler City, NC (SCR)
Type of Clearance: None
Departure Time: 0720 EDT
Type of Airspace: Class G

Airport Information

Airport: Siler City Municipal Airport (SCR)
Runway Surface Type: Asphalt
Airport Elevation: 615 ft
Runway Surface Condition: Unknown
Runway Used: 4
IFR Approach: None
Runway Length/Width: 5000 ft / 75 ft
VFR Approach/Landing: Traffic Pattern

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude:  35.697222, -79.508333


Barbara Harris-Para 
 ~

NTSB Identification: ERA15LA231
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, June 02, 2015 in Siler City, NC
Aircraft: BEECH A36, registration: N985K
Injuries: 1 Fatal, 1 Serious.

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 2, 2015, about 0800 eastern daylight time, a Beech A36, N985K, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain while attempting to land at Siler City Municipal Airport (SCR), Siler City, North Carolina. The private pilot was seriously injured, and the commercial pilot-rated passenger was fatally injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight, which originated from Moore County Airport (SOP), Pinehurst, North Carolina. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

According to a friend of the pilots, the purpose of the accident flight was to reposition the airplane in order to have maintenance performed on the alternator. The accident airplane departed from SOP, and due to concerns related to the airplane's electrical system, the pilots kept the landing gear extended for the duration of the flight. The friend departed SOP a short time later in his own airplane, and arrived in the area of SCR prior to the accident airplane. The friend recalled that the airport's automated weather observation system was reporting a visibility of 7 statute miles, scattered clouds at 400 feet, and an overcast ceiling at 9,000 feet. He also reported that a "haze" layer was present near the north side of the airport that was not present toward the south. The friend subsequently maneuvered his airplane so that the accident airplane could enter the traffic pattern and land first.

The accident airplane initially entered the traffic pattern on a downwind leg for landing on runway 22, but upon noting the haze to the north, the pilots announced that they would transition over top of the airport to a left downwind for landing on runway 4. The friend intermittently observed the accident airplane as it maneuvered, and noted that while on the downwind-to-base turn to the runway, the airplane was in close proximity to the runway, in a left bank and nose-high attitude. When he next saw the airplane, it was in a nose-down attitude, heading toward a stand of trees that bordered the runway's east side, short of the runway threshold. The friend did not observe the impact, but when he did not receive a reply to his inquiries as to their position, assumed that the airplane had crashed. He subsequently orbited the area where he last observed the airplane and located the accident site. He then landed his own airplane, contacted emergency services, and proceeded to the accident site in order to render assistance.

The pilot seated in the left front seat held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single engine land. He held a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third-class medical certificate, which was issued in June 2014. On the application for that certificate, he reported 1,430 total hours of flight experience. The pilot-rated passenger seated in the right front seat held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single and multi-engine land, and instrument airplane, as well as a flight instructor certificate with ratings for airplane single and multi-engine land, and instrument airplane. According to the friend, she was not operating in the capacity of a flight instructor on the accident flight. She held an FAA second-class medical certificate, which was issued in September 2014, and on the application for that certificate, she reported 4,900 total hours of flight experience.

An FAA inspector examined the airplane at the accident site and identified the initial impact point as a tree located about 500 feet southeast of the runway 4 approach threshold, about 300 feet southeast of the extended runway centerline. The wreckage came to rest about 65 feet from the initial impact point, on a 65-degree magnetic bearing. First responders advised the inspectors of an odor of fuel at the accident site, but that there was no post-impact fire. The wreckage was recovered, and a detailed examination was scheduled for a later date.

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