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Fri, Jul 12, 2019

NTSB Releases Preliminary Report From Fatal Accident In North Carolina

Beech Baron Was Destroyed When It Impacted A Home Near Fayetteville Regional Airport

The FAA has released a preliminary report from an accident which occurred June 27 involving a Beech E-55 Baron airplane that impacted a home while on approach to Fayetteville Regional Airport (KFAY) in Fayetteville, NC. The pilot and one person inside the home were fatally injured, and a second person in the home suffered serious injuries. The airplane was destroyed.

According to the report, the flight remained in the airport traffic pattern after takeoff to perform a landing on runway 4. While on the right base leg of the traffic pattern, the pilot reported control issues with the airplane and no further communications were received from the accident flight. The wreckage was subsequently located about 2 miles southwest of the approach end of runway 4.

The pilot's brother was not a certificated pilot, but flew often with the pilot. According to the pilot's brother, his most recent flight with the pilot was on June 21, 2019. They flew uneventfully from KFAY to Claxton-Evans County Airport (KCWV), Claxton, Georgia and returned. While at KCWV, they completely fueled the airplane. During the roundtrip flights, the pilot utilized the autopilot often and there were no anomalies. Additionally, the pilot did not report any anomalies or warnings during those flights.

A friend of the pilot reported that he flew with the pilot on June 24, 2019, from FAY to Smith Reynold Airport (KINT), Winston Salem, North Carolina. The purpose of the flight was to transport the friend and his copilot to reposition a business jet. The friend and his copilot returned in the business jet to KFAY, and arrived prior to the accident pilot, who returned solo uneventfully. The friend added that the accident airplane departed with KFAY with 120 gallons of fuel and he estimated that 60 gallons remained for the accident flight. During startup at KFAY for the flight to KINT, the attitude and heading reference system (AHRS) fail amber caution light illuminated in the cockpit at engine startup and remained illuminated for 12 to 15 minutes, which included the initial portion of the flight. The pilot remarked during engine runup that the light usually extinguished by then. They discussed continuing the flight under visual flight rules because the autopilot would not engage, which would require the accident pilot manually fly the airplane. The friend added that during the time the caution light was illuminated, he did not observe any anomalies with the electronic flight information system (EFIS) display. To the friend's knowledge, the autopilot would not engage with the caution light illuminated and would not remain engaged if the caution light illuminated. After the caution light extinguished, the pilot engaged the autopilot for the remaining trip to KINT. The friend spoke to the pilot after they both returned to KFAY. The pilot reported that the light remained extinguished and he utilized the autopilot on the return flight to KFAY; however, after landing at KFAY, he turned off the avionics and then back on, the light illuminated for 3 minutes before he shut down the airplane and planned to take the airplane to an avionics maintenance facility. The pilot also commented that he planned to perform three night landings to maintain his night currency.

A debris path was observed; beginning with freshly cut treetops, descending about a 35° angle and extending approximately 50 ft on a magnetic heading of 270° to the back of a residence. Sections of the right wing, left horizontal stabilizer, and the right engine came to rest inside the residence and the main wreckage came to rest in the front yard of the residence, upright and oriented about a magnetic heading of 180°. The left engine remained attached to the left wing and the left propeller separated from the crankshaft propeller flange. One propeller blade exhibited s-bending, chordwise scratching, and leading edge gouges. The other blade exhibited chordwise scratching and tip curling. The right engine separated from the right wing and was recovered from a crater beneath the residence. The right propeller separated from the right engine and was not recovered.

The outboard left wing separated and aileron remained attached. The left wing was crushed and its fuel tank breached. The right wing was separated and fragmented, and both the right flap and right aileron separated. The vertical stabilizer separated, but the rudder remained attached to it. The right horizontal stabilizer and right elevator remained attached to the spar. The left horizontal stabilizer separated and the left elevator remained attached to it. The cockpit area was crushed and no readable instruments were recovered except for a fuel gauge.

The landing gear was in the retracted position. The flaps were in the retracted position. Measurement aileron trim actuator corresponded to a full down tab on the left aileron. Measurement of the rudder trim actuator corresponded a 5° nose left trim. Measurement of both elevator trim actuators corresponded to 10° tab up, full nose-down trim. Flight control continuity was confirmed from all control surfaces to the cockpit yoke. The fuel selectors were in the on position.

The top spark plugs were removed from the left engine. Their electrodes were intact and gray in color. When the crankshaft was rotated by hand, camshaft, crankshaft, and valve train continuity was confirmed to the rear accessory section of the engine and thumb compression was attained on all cylinders. Only the left magneto was recovered from the left engine and it produced spark at all leads when rotated via an electric drill. The engine driven fuel pump and coupling remained intact. Disassembly of the pump and fuel manifold did not reveal any preimpact anomalies. The fuel mixture unit screen was absent of debris.

The top spark plugs were removed from the right engine. Their electrodes were intact and gray in color. The right engine exhibited more front-end impact damage than the left engine and the right crankshaft was bent. Due to impact damage, the crankshaft could not be rotated by hand; however, a borescope examination of the cylinders did not reveal any preimpact anomalies. Both magnetos separated from the right engine and only one was recovered; however, it was fragmented and could not be tested. The engine driven fuel pump and coupling remained intact. Disassembly of the pump and fuel manifold did not reveal any preimpact anomalies. The fuel mixture unit screen was absent of debris.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, airplane single-engine sea, airplane multiengine land and instrument airplane. His most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued on September 13, 2017. At that time, he reported a total flight experience of 480 hours.

The six-seat, low-wing, retractable tricycle-gear airplane, was manufactured in 1979. It was powered by two Continental IO-520, 285-horsepower engines equipped with constant-speed, two-blade Hartzell propellers. According maintenance logbooks, the airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on November 1, 2018. At that time, the airplane had accumulated 2,178.8 hours. The left engine had accumulated 517.3 total hours; of which, 54.1 hours were since major overhaul. The right engine had accumulated 986.55 hours; of which, 94.8 hours were since top overhaul.

The airplane was equipped with an Aspen Avionics EFD 1000 EFIS, which utilized an AHRS. During an interview, a maintenance technician reported that the accident airplane was at their facility due to an AHRS fail light illumination in the cockpit. The pilot visited the facility about 1800 on the evening of the accident, to check the status of the repair. The pilot was informed that the repair had not been completed as the facility needed to contact the EFIS manufacturer for more information.

The recorded weather at FAY, at 2253, was: wind from 200° at 4 knots; visibility 10 miles; clear sky; temperature 26°C; dew point 20°C, altimeter 30.18 inches of mercury.

An autopilot programming unit and an engine monitor were retained for data download. Additionally, three autopilot servos were retained for examination.

(Source: NTSB. Image from file. Not accident airplane)

FMI: Report


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