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Wed, Dec 01, 2010

NTSB Issues Preliminary Report In Cessna 337 Accident In Florida

Aircraft Lost It's Right Wing Prior To Impact With The Ground

The Cessna 337 which went down during a military exercise near Avon Park in central Florida on November 17 lost most of its starboard wing before impacting the ground. Three people were fatally injured in the accident. All three were civilian contractors.

NTSB Identification: ERA11FA066
14 CFR Public Use
Accident occurred Wednesday, November 17, 2010 in Avon Park, FL
Aircraft: CESSNA M337B, registration: N1309
Injuries: 3 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.

On November 17, 2010, about 2053 eastern standard time, a Cessna M337B, N1309, impacted terrain following an in-flight separation of the right wing near Avon Park, Florida. The airplane was operated by Patriot Technologies Group, LLC. The commercial pilot and two pilot-rated crewmembers were killed. Night instrument meteorological conditions were present in the area, and no flight plan was filed for the public use flight. The local flight originated at MacDill Air Force Base Auxiliary Field (AGR), Avon Park, Florida, about 1920.

The purpose of the flight was to provide aerial support to an Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) training exercise. According to the operator, the flight, call sign Jedi 21, was in contact with AGR tower at the time of the accident. The flight was returning to base after the weather reportedly began to deteriorate. Avon Park tower instructed Jedi 21 to report a two-mile final for runway 5. When Jedi 21 did not report final, a search and rescue response was initiated. The wreckage was located about 0118 on November 18.

Pilot Information
The certificated commercial pilot, who was acting as pilot-in-command and was seated in the left cockpit seat, held airplane single and multi-engine land ratings and an instrument airplane rating. He was also a certificated flight instructor. He reported 6,200 civilian flight hours on his FAA second-class medical certificate application, dated December 29, 2009.

A certificated private pilot was seated in the right cockpit seat. He was assigned duties to support the training exercise that included operating on-board tactical equipment. A certificated commercial pilot was seated in the aft, right seat. He was assigned duties that included operating on-board communications equipment.

According to the operator, the duties of the crewmember occupying the right cockpit seat did not include flying the airplane.

Aircraft Information
The airplane was a Cessna M337B, serial number 337M-0015. The airplane was originally built as an O-2A for the U.S. Air Force. It was powered by two Teledyne Continental model IO-360-D engines, each rated at 210 horsepower at 2,800 rpm.

Meteorological Information
AGR does not have weather reporting facilities. The 2055 EST weather observation for Bartow, Florida (BOW), located 28 miles NW of AGR included the following: surface winds from 100 degrees at 6 knots, sky clear, visibility 10 statute miles, temperature 21 degrees Celsius, dew point 19 degrees Celsius, and altimeter setting of 30.12 inches of mercury.

A preliminary examination of infrared satellite images for the period showed a short east-to-west band of cumulus congestus type clouds, with rain shower activity, near the area of the accident site.

Wreckage And Impact Information
The main wreckage was found adjacent to a retention pond and swamp that were located on a farm pasture. The initial impact crater, measuring 7 feet wide by 9 feet long by 3 feet deep, contained the cockpit instrument panel, forward engine, forward propeller hub, and one blade of the forward propeller. A ground scar consistent with the thickness and length of the left wing leading edge was adjacent to the impact crater.

The wreckage path was oriented on a heading of 130 degrees. The left and right tail booms, vertical stabilizers and rudders, horizontal stabilizer, elevator, and a section of the left wing were found in the retention pond. The aft engine was resting inverted on the edge of the pond. All propeller blades were located within the area of the main wreckage.

Two sections of the right wing were found northwest of the main wreckage impact crater. The outboard section of the right wing, from the aileron to the wing tip, was found about 800 feet northwest of the impact crater. The aileron remained attached. Another section of the right wing, which included a section of right wing flap, was found about 330 feet northwest of the impact crater.

The wreckage was recovered to a storage facility in Groveland, Florida where a more detailed examination of the wreckage will be performed.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov

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