Saturday, August 27, 2022

Cessna 140 N76527: Accident occurred August 27, 2022 near Freedom Field Airport (AL41), Slocomb, Geneva County, Alabama

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.

Investigator In Charge (IIC): McCarter, Lawrence

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

Additional Participating Entity:
Kevin L. Alewine; Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Birmingham, Alabama 

Location: Slocomb, Alabama
Accident Number: ERA22LA389
Date and Time: August 27, 2022, 12:37 Local 
Registration: N76527
Aircraft: Cessna 140 
Injuries: 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On August 27, 2022, about 1315 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 140, N76527, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Slocomb, Alabama. The commercial pilot sustained serious injuries. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to a witness, who was the son of the pilot, he observed the takeoff roll and stated that the airplane seemed “sluggish,” and the engine sounded “weak.” Immediately after rotation during the initial climb, the airplane seemed to be climbing slower than normal as it proceeded west towards the tree line that was about 70 ft tall. Shortly after the airplane reached the top of the tree the right wing dropped, and the airplane descended into the trees and disappeared before coming to rest in the tree canopy (figure 1) where the pilot egressed the airplane by jumping out. 

According to the property owner, who was also a mechanic, the engine was recently field overhauled and was installed on the airframe about 5 hours prior to the accident. After the installation of the engine, the mechanic test ran the engine with no anomalous behavior noted and the pilot conducted “4 or 5” flights around the airport with no discrepancies. In addition, aviation fuel was purchased from another airport and transported to the airplane in fuel containers that were subsequently used to fuel it.

A Federal Aviation Administration inspector examined the wreckage and reported that the airplane impacted trees and became suspended about 30 ft off the ground on a heading of about 270° magnetic and 600 ft from the end of the turf runway at an elevation of 291 ft. The fuel tanks were breached during impact and a post-crash fire ensued and consumed the cockpit and fuselage while the empennage remained up in the trees. The engine, though slightly damaged by heat, appeared relatively intact.

The engine was retained for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna 
Registration: N76527
Model/Series: 140
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built:
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: DHN,321 ft msl
Observation Time: 12:00 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 13 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 29°C /24°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Few / 2000 ft AGL
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 4 knots / , 140°
Lowest Ceiling: 
Visibility: 10 miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.02 inches
Hg Type of Flight Plan Filed:
Departure Point: Slocomb, AL
Destination: Slocomb, AL

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Serious 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 
Aircraft Fire: On-ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude: 31.10381,-85.628997 

Aircraft lost power, went down into trees and caught on fire.  

Date: 27-AUG-22
Time: 17:37:00Z
Regis#: N76527
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 140
Event Type: ACCIDENT
Highest Injury: SERIOUS
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: PERSONAL
Flight Phase: UNKNOWN (UNK)
Operation: 91

SLOCOMB, Alabama (WDHN) — Multiple law enforcement agencies hit the ground running to a wooded area south of Slocomb after a call about a Cessna 120 trapped in the woodline.

“You know this is small town Slocomb and you don’t often get stuff like that you get it in bigger cities, so it took a minute for that to sink in and get down there and work with rescue,” Officer Allen Medley said.

A private road leads to a grassy homemade airstrip that company planes use for take off and landing and at the end of the runway is a wooded area.

That’s where they found a crop-duster plane that reportedly caught fire nearly 500 feet into the woods.

“From what we understand, he was actually taking off and possibly lost power and that would make sense from the way he was taking off and where he went down,” Medley said. “He wasn’t very far from the runway it looks like something just went wrong with the airplane.”

After the scary landing, the pilot was able to contact his son to let him know his location — which ended up playing a key part for the rescue team.

“He did a heck of a job to get his daddy out the woods and it was fortunate he went down there because we were able to follow his tire tracks to locate the plane,” He said.

The son rescued his father to meet up with Slocomb Rescue, so they can transport him to Southeast Health in Dothan.

“The pilot is probably listed as critical but stable condition but he was talking conscious and alert when rescue took him to the hospital,” Medley said.

Officer Medley said the Federal Aviation Administration has been contacted to determine the cause of this crash but at this time no more information will be released.

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