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Weather, Training Issues Cited In NTSB Factual Report From 2019 TX Accident

Pilot And Two Passengers Were Fatally Injured When The Cessna 337 They Were Aboard Went Down

The NTSB has released a factual report from an accident which occurred March 9, 2019 that fatally injured the private pilot and two passengers aboard a Cessna 337.

The accident occurred near Longview, TX. According to the report, the airplane was owned and operated by the pilot, who was operating it as a personal flight. Day instrument meteorological conditions with convective activity prevailed in the area about the time of the accident, and no flight plan was filed. The cross-country flight departed from the Lancaster Regional Airport (KLNC), near Lancaster, Texas, about 0930, and was destined for the Lakefront Airport, near New Orleans, Louisiana.

An employee at LNC reported that the pilot and 3 other people came to the airport. The pilot came inside and bought 1 quart of oil. The employee indicated the pilot was in a good mood and that the pilot said they were flying to Louisiana. The pilot then went out and conducted a 10-minute long preflight where he put the oil in the front engine. Then they entered the airplane, started it up, and let the airplane run for about 5 minutes. The airplane was then taxied toward the south ramp out of sight. The self-serve fuel was located in that area and the employee indicated it was a long enough period of time for the pilot to service the airplane with fuel. Afterward, the airplane took off and flew away. The employee said that a severe thunderstorm went through about 0730-0830. At the time of departure, the thunderstorm had passed through and the weather present at LNC was "clear."

A witness who was near the accident site about the time of the accident reported that he was waiting for the storm to come and pass through. The wind picked up, "hard" out of the west gusting over 35 mph, and rain fell in "sheets." There was a single lighting strike. He said that the strike seemed to hit ground about 1/4 mile northwest of his house. It was the only local strike of the storm that he heard. Approximately a minute after the strike, the witness heard what sounded like an "Air Tractor" coming in for a pass. He heard no impact and saw nothing in the air. The ceiling was "no more than 100 ft." He said, "I didn't really believe at the time it could have possibly been an aircraft. Thought maybe static electricity in the clouds, or maybe a small tornado attempting to form."

A friend of the family later reported that the airplane was missing and an alert notice was issued.

A witness was driving down a road to go hunting. While driving he noticed scattered trash along a clearway above an underground pipeline in a wooded area. He looked further at the trash and saw that it was an airplane crash. He subsequently called 9-1-1. The time was about 1900.

According to information from the FAA, the 51-year-old pilot held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. The pilot's last aviation medical examination was on August 8, 2018, during which he applied for an FAA third-class medical certificate. The pilot reported on that medical certificate application that he had accumulated 1,200 hours of total flight time and no hours of flight time in the previous 6 months. He also reported taking dapagliflozin (a medication to treat diabetes), which is not permitted for use by pilots, and was subsequently issued a denial of that medical certificate. The pilot's logbook was found in the wreckage. The entry before the last entry was dated May 7, 2005. The last entry was dated August 23, 2018 and using flight time carried forward on the last page, the pilot's total logged flight time was 250.9 hours. The investigation was not able to determine how much total flight time the pilot had accumulated flying the accident airplane.

In August of 2018, the pilot contacted a flight instructor at a fixed base operator (FBO) for a flight review in a Cessna 182. The pilot had gone through an online refresher course for his ground knowledge. The pilot advised that it had been about 4-5 years since he had last flown. He had purchased a Cessna 337 and intended to fly to southern Texas in it. The flight instructor advised the pilot that he would have to coordinate multi-engine training with a multi engine instructor to fly his Cessna 337. The instructor then developed a 2-hour block in the classroom for the flight review around preflight planning, weather products and preparation, as well as cross-country planning for a flight to southern Texas. The flight portion of the flight review in a Cessna 182 included slow flight, steep turns, power on and off stalls before returning to the airport for performance landings. Much of the flight time was used during maneuvers and repeated attempts. The pilot advised the instructor, "I don't think I'm comfortable enough to fly this airplane to my ranch this weekend. I felt behind the plane and think more time is needed." The instructor agreed and encouraged the pilot that in time he would get back to a state of comfortability and proficiency in the aircraft. The instructor did not complete nor endorse the pilot for the flight review or checkout in the 182.

In October 2018, the chief flight instructor at the FBO was contacted by the pilot for training in his Cessna 337. He advised the pilot that he had no 337 experience, but the pilot had the instructor fill out his insurance documents regardless. The insurance company replied that the chief instructor would be covered as a flight instructor for the pilot in his C337. The chief instructor flew about 2 hours in the 337. The pilot sat in the right seat and the chief instructor sat in the left seat during the 2 hour flight. However, no instruction was given to the pilot. The chief instructor reported that the airplane had a paint job that appeared to be done by spray paint can and the avionics were old. The powerplants operated nominally within parameters. He indicated it appeared that the airplane had not been updated but was airworthy. All primary systems operated nominally. The chief instructor provided the pilot an hour of instruction in a flight training device set up as a conventional multiengine aircraft. The airplane was returned to the hangar and the chief instructor never heard back from the pilot.

(Image from NTSB accident docket)

FMI: Factual report

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