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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 186933
Last updated: 20 January 2020
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Date:03-MAY-2016
Time:15:42
Type:Silhouette image of generic BE35 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Beechcraft V35B Bonanza
Owner/operator:Private
Registration: N440H
C/n / msn: D-9464
Fatalities:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Syosset, NY -   United States of America
Phase: En route
Nature:Private
Departure airport:North Myrtle, SC (CRE)
Destination airport:Plainville, CT (4B8)
Narrative:
The instrument-rated pilot was conducting a personal cross-county flight and was operating on an instrument flight rules flight plan. While he was flying in visual conditions between cloud layers at 7,000 ft and heading toward the destination airport, he reported to air traffic control that the airplane had experienced a vacuum pump failure and that he had lost the associated gyroscopic instruments and part of the instrument panel. The pilot continued toward the destination airport because it had the best weather conditions compared to alternate nearby airports; however, after accepting radar vectors for the GPS approach to the airport, he reported that the airplane had entered instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) and that he had lost a "little bit" of control. He then reported that more of the instruments had failed and that he was trying to get back to 7,000 ft. Shortly after, the controller provided the pilot with the weather conditions at a closer airport and asked him if he would like to try to land there; however, no further communications were received from the pilot. Review of radar data revealed that the airplane made several course and altitude deviations as it proceeded northeast until the end of the data.

The airplane was found separated in multiple pieces along a 0.4-mile-long debris path. Based on the radar data and debris path, it is likely that the pilot experienced spatial disorientation while maneuvering the airplane in IMC without a full instrument panel, that he subsequently lost airplane control, and that the airplane broke up in flight due to overstress during the ensuing uncontrolled descent.

Review of a vacuum pump manufacturer's service letter (SL) revealed that the mandatory replacement time for the make and model vacuum pump was 500 aircraft hours or 6 years from the data of manufacture, whichever came first. Compliance with the SL was not mandatory for 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 operations. The vacuum pump was manufactured in May 1999, which was 17 years before the accident. Additionally, the airplane was not equipped with a backup/standby vacuum pump.

Metallurgical examination of the vacuum pump revealed that the rotor had separated radially in numerous locations. Three vanes remained intact, and three vanes separated into numerous pieces. Rotational scoring/rubbing marks were observed on the rotor and pump housing.

Additionally, debris was noted in the inlet screen, but the engine had impacted a dirt field. It is likely the rotor's contact with the pump housing caused the failure of the pump rotor and vanes; however, it could not be ruled out that debris ingestion contributed to their failure.

The pilot had severe coronary artery disease, and toxicological testing revealed low levels of diphenhydramine, a sedating antihistamine allergy treatment and sleep aid, and zolpidem, a prescription sleep aid. However, there was no evidence that the pilot's heart disease or sedating medications impaired his performance or incapacitated him.

Probable Cause: The pilot's loss of airplane control while operating in instrument meteorological conditions with only a partial instrument panel due to a failure of the airplane's vacuum pump.

Contributing to the accident were the pilot's spatial disorientation and the operation of the vacuum pump beyond the 6-year time limit recommended by the vacuum pump manufacturer.

Sources:

NTSB: https://www.ntsb.gov/_layouts/ntsb.aviation/brief.aspx?ev_id=20160503X70529&key=1
https://flightaware.com/live/flight/N440H/history/20160503/1600Z/KCRE/4B8

FAA register: http://registry.faa.gov/aircraftinquiry/NNum_Results.aspx?nNumberTxt=440H


Images:


Photo: NTSB

Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
03-May-2016 21:28 Geno Added
03-May-2016 21:37 Geno Updated [Total fatalities, Source, Narrative]
03-May-2016 21:40 Geno Updated [Source]
04-May-2016 06:58 Anon. Updated [Source]
11-May-2016 06:11 Anon. Updated [Source]
21-Dec-2016 19:30 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
30-Jun-2017 18:05 Aerossurance Updated [Time, Nature, Source, Narrative]
19-Aug-2017 16:25 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Other fatalities, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
20-Nov-2017 20:16 harro Updated [Other fatalities, Source, Embed code]
20-Nov-2017 20:20 harro Updated [Photo, ]
08-Dec-2018 18:22 Aerossurance Updated [Narrative]
27-Dec-2018 18:09 liamdaniel98 Updated [Location]
29-Dec-2018 16:16 liamdaniel98 Updated [Location]

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