Saturday, July 7, 2018

Beech A36 Bonanza 36, N8169Y: Fatal accident occurred March 28, 2017 in Dadeville, Tallapoosa County, Alabama

Jeannette Carol and David Lee Currier


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

Additional Participating Entities:

Federal Aviation Administration Flight Standards District Office; Birmingham, Alabama
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas
Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama

Aviation Accident Factual 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/N8169Y

Location: Dadeville, AL
Accident Number: ERA17FA140
Date & Time: 03/28/2017, 1200 CDT
Registration: N8169Y
Aircraft: BEECH A36
Aircraft Damage: Destroyed
Defining Event: Loss of engine power (total)
Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Personal 

On March 28, 2017, about 1200 central daylight time, a Beech A36, N8169Y, was destroyed by impact and a postcrash fire following a forced landing near Dadeville, Alabama. The commercial pilot and the passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was owned and operated by the pilot under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the personal flight, which departed Enterprise Municipal Airport (EDN), Enterprise, Alabama at 1118, and was destined for Upper Cumberland Regional Airport (SRB), Sparta, Tennessee.

According to air traffic control and radar data from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the airplane was in cruise flight about 5,000 ft mean sea level when, at 1155:06, the pilot was instructed to change from the Atlanta Approach Control frequency to the Atlanta Air Route Traffic Control Center. At 1156:00, the airplane began a descent. At 1157:07, the controller radioed the pilot; that he had not contacted Atlanta Center, and the airplane had descended nearly 1,000 ft below its assigned altitude. At 1157:11, the airplane had descended to 4,025 ft when the pilot responded to the controller and declared, "N8169Y I have a… it appears to be an engine failure…declare an emergency at this time."

Over the next minute, the airplane continued a northerly track before it began a turn to the west as the controller identified the closest public airport, private strip, state highway, and open areas for potential forced landing sites, which the pilot acknowledged.

At 1158:59, the airplane was tracking westbound at 1,500 ft and 86 knots groundspeed when the pilot announced, "Atlanta 69Y it looks like I'm coming down…"; he added that he did not have a runway in sight. There were no further communications from the pilot. The last radar target at 1159:34 showed the airplane on a westerly track over densely wooded terrain at 874 ft and 77 knots groundspeed. 

David Currier

Pilot Information

Certificate: Commercial
Age: 67, Male
Airplane Rating(s): Single-engine Land
Seat Occupied: Left
Other Aircraft Rating(s): Helicopter
Restraint Used: 3-point
Instrument Rating(s): Airplane; Helicopter
Second Pilot Present: No
Instructor Rating(s): None
Toxicology Performed: No
Medical Certification: Class 2 With Waivers/Limitations
Last FAA Medical Exam: 11/01/2016
Occupational Pilot: Yes
Last Flight Review or Equivalent:
Flight Time:  11000 hours (Total, all aircraft), 100 hours (Total, this make and model) 

According to FAA records, the pilot held commercial pilot and flight instructor certificates with ratings for rotorcraft-helicopter and instrument helicopter. He held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane. The pilot's most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued November 3, 2016. He declared 11,500 total hours of flight experience on that date. In July 2016, the pilot declared to his insurance company that he had 11,000 total hours of flight experience, of which 1,000 hours were in airplanes.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: BEECH
Registration: N8169Y
Model/Series: A36 UNDESIGNATED
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Year of Manufacture: 1991
Amateur Built: No
Airworthiness Certificate: Normal
Serial Number: E-2598
Landing Gear Type: Retractable - Tricycle
Seats: 6
Date/Type of Last Inspection: 05/05/2016, Annual
Certified Max Gross Wt.: 3651 lbs
Time Since Last Inspection:
Engines: 1 Reciprocating
Airframe Total Time: 4006.7 Hours as of last inspection
Engine Manufacturer: Continental
ELT: Installed, not activated
Engine Model/Series: IO-550B
Registered Owner: On file
Rated Power: 300 hp
Operator: On file
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

The six-seat, single-engine, low-wing, retractable-gear airplane was manufactured in 1977 and was equipped with a Continental Motors 300-horsepower reciprocating engine.

Copies of aircraft maintenance records were provided by the pilot's family and the maintainers of the airplane for the 10 years before the accident. Review of the records revealed that the airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on May 5, 2016 at 4,006.7 total aircraft hours. The previous annual inspection, dated May 5, 2015 at 3,993 total aircraft hours, included the removal and reinstallation of the engine. The engine was removed and the propeller was replaced due to a propeller-strike event.

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: ALX, 686 ft msl
Distance from Accident Site: 14 Nautical Miles
Observation Time: 1155 CDT
Direction from Accident Site: 292°
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 2500 ft agl
Visibility:  10 Miles
Lowest Ceiling: None
Visibility (RVR):
Wind Speed/Gusts: 6 knots /
Turbulence Type Forecast/Actual: /
Wind Direction: 270°
Turbulence Severity Forecast/Actual: /
Altimeter Setting: 30.03 inches Hg
Temperature/Dew Point: 24°C / 18°C
Precipitation and Obscuration: No Obscuration; No Precipitation
Departure Point: ENTERPRISE, AL (EDN)
Type of Flight Plan Filed: IFR
Destination: SPARTA, TN (SRB)
Type of Clearance: IFR
Departure Time: 1118 CDT
Type of Airspace: Class E 

The 1155 automated weather observation at Thomas C. Russel Field (ALX), 14 miles northwest of the accident site, included scattered clouds at 2,500 ft, 10 statute miles visibility, and wind from 270° at 6 knots. The temperature was 24°C, the dew point was 18°C, and the altimeter setting was 30.03 inches of mercury. 

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: 32.830833, -85.712222 (est) 

The airplane was examined at the accident site about 650 ft elevation and all major components were accounted for at the scene. The wreckage path was about 140 ft in length and oriented on a magnetic heading about 320°.

The initial impact point was in trees about 30 ft above the ground. Most tree trunks displayed blunt fractures, but some displayed clean, angular cuts. Tree trunk and branch sections 4-6 inches in diameter displayed angular cuts and were scattered along the wreckage path. The main wreckage was inverted, faced opposite the direction of travel, and was consumed by postcrash fire. Control cable continuity was established from the cockpit area to the flight control surface attachment points. The flap actuator position was consistent with a flaps-retracted position. The elevator trim actuator position was consistent with a 10° tab-down position. The landing gear was retracted.

The fuel selector was set fully in the right-tank position.

Examination of the engine revealed that all accessories were destroyed by fire except for the engine-driven fuel pump. The 3-bladed propeller was attached at the hub, but damaged by impact and fire. One propeller blade was loose at the hub.

The engine-driven fuel pump was removed and its driveshaft was intact and rotated freely. The fuel inlet screen was removed and was absent of debris. The spark plugs were removed and showed normal wear and coloration. The engine could not be rotated by hand. The examination was suspended and completed later under the supervision of an FAA airworthiness inspector at the manufacturer's facility in Mobile, Alabama.

Disassembly of the engine revealed extreme-to-minor thermal damage both externally and internally. Aside from the thermal damage, there were no indications of pre-impact mechanical anomaly that would have precluded normal operation. The engine displayed normal wear and lubrication signatures throughout, including those rotating parts inspected at the 2015 sudden-stoppage inspection. 

Medical And Pathological Information

The pilot was transported to Atlanta, Georgia, for treatment of the injuries to which he ultimately succumbed. Postmortem examination and toxicology testing was not performed. 

Additional Information

Aircraft Performance

An NTSB National Resource Specialist (Aircraft Performance) examined the Automatic Dependent Surveillance–Broadcast (ADS-B) data, performance parameters computed from the ADS-B data, and theoretical zero-thrust glide trajectories based on best-glide performance data published in the Pilot's Operating Handbook to plot potential trajectories for the airplane from the assumed point of engine power loss.

The plots were based on an estimated gross weight of 3,400 lbs and speeds ranging between best glide (110 knots calibrated airspeed [KCAS]) and the lowest estimated airspeed of 80 KCAS.

The actual ground track of the airplane revealed that, about the time of the loss of engine power, an abandoned airport (Camp Hill-Tallapoosa County) was directly abeam the airplane, about 1 mile east. The airport was not depicted on the visual flight rules sectional navigation chart current at the time, nor was it visible to the air traffic controller who was in communication with the pilot.

The ground track of the airplane bisected U.S. Highway 280W, a four-lane, divided highway which was oriented northwest-southeast at the point of the airplane's crossing. The grass median that divided the east and west-bound lanes averaged about 50 ft wide for several miles on either side of the ground track. The ground track also traversed several open fields and a railroad track before it terminated over wooded terrain.

The potential trajectories plotted also traversed and reached open fields in all directions surrounding the estimated point of the power loss.


ALEA Special Agent David Williams speaks about the rescue on March 28, 2017.  Williams also explained the aviation unit’s training and mission in Montgomery.



NTSB Identification: ERA17FA140
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, March 28, 2017 in Dadeville, AL
Aircraft: BEECH A36, registration: N8169Y
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 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 March 28, 2017, about 1200 central daylight time, a Beech A36, N8169Y, was destroyed by impact and a postcrash fire following a forced landing near Dadeville, Alabama. The commercial pilot, who was also the owner of the airplane was seriously injured, and the passenger was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the personal flight which was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The flight departed from Enterprise Municipal Airport (EDN), Enterprise, Alabama at 1118, and was destined for Upper Cumberland Regional Airport (SRB), Sparta, Tennessee.

According to preliminary air traffic control (ATC) and radar data obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the airplane was in cruise flight about 5,000 feet msl when it began a descent about 1156. At 1157:11, the airplane had descended to 4,025 feet msl when the pilot contacted ATC and declared, "N8169Y I have a… it appears to be an engine failure… declare an emergency at this time."

Over the next 1 minute, the airplane continued on a northerly track before it began a turn to the west as the controller identified the closest public airport, private strip, state highway, and open areas for potential forced landing sites, which the pilot acknowledged.

At 1158:59, the airplane was tracking westbound at 1,500 feet msl and 86 knots groundspeed when the pilot announced, "Atlanta 69Y it looks like I'm coming down…" and that he did not have a runway in sight. There were no further communications from the accident airplane. At 1159:34, the last radar target was observed on a westerly track over densely wooded terrain at 874 feet msl and 77 knots groundspeed.

According to FAA airman records, the pilot held a commercial pilot and flight instructor certificates with ratings for rotorcraft-helicopter and instrument helicopter. He held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single engine, and instrument airplane. The pilot's most recent FAA second-class medical certificate was issued November 3, 2016. He declared 11,500 total hours of flight experience on that date. In July of 2016, the pilot declared to his insurance company that he had 11,000 total hours of flight experience, of which 1,000 hours was in airplanes.

The six-seat, single-engine, low-wing, retractable-gear airplane was manufactured in 1977 and was equipped with a Continental Motors 300-horsepower reciprocating engine.

The 1155 automated weather observation at Thomas C. Russel Field (ALX), 14 nautical miles northwest of the accident site, included scattered clouds at 2,500 feet agl, 10 statute miles visibility, and wind from 270° at 6 knots. The temperature was 24° C, the dew point was 18° C, and the altimeter setting was 30.03 inches of mercury.

The airplane was examined at the accident site, about 650 feet elevation, and all major components were accounted for at the scene. The wreckage path was about 140 feet in length, and oriented about 320°.

The initial impact point was in trees about 30 feet above the ground. Most tree trunks displayed blunt fractures, but some displayed clean angular cuts. Tree trunk and branch sections displaying angular cuts were scattered along the wreckage path. The main wreckage was inverted, faced opposite the direction of travel, and was consumed by postcrash fire. Control cable continuity was established from the cockpit area to the flight control surface attachment points. The flap actuator position was consistent with flaps set at 0°. The elevator trim actuator position was consistent with a 10° tab down position. The landing gear was retracted.

The fuel selector was in the right-tank position.

Examination of the engine revealed that all accessories were destroyed by fire except for the engine-driven fuel pump. The three-bladed propeller was attached at the hub, but damaged by impact and fire. One propeller blade was loose in its hub.

The engine-driven fuel pump was removed and its driveshaft was intact and rotated freely. The fuel inlet screen was removed, and was absent of debris. The spark plugs were removed and showed normal wear and coloration. The engine could not be rotated by hand, and was retained for further examination.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is unreal. Such bad decision making during an actual emergency.
I must not break my plane landing in the nearest field or near the freeway. Just makes no sense!