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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 45309
Last updated: 12 July 2019
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Date:18-JAN-2003
Time:12:25
Type:Silhouette image of generic C172 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Cessna 172P
Owner/operator:Comair Aviation Academy, Inc.
Registration: N65906
C/n / msn: 17275918
Fatalities:Fatalities: 4 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Category:Accident
Location:Edgewater, FL -   United States of America
Phase: Manoeuvring (airshow, firefighting, ag.ops.)
Nature:Private
Departure airport:Sanford, FL (KSFB)
Destination airport:
Investigating agency: NTSB
Narrative:
Two witnesses located in another airplane stated they observed N65906 in level flight, on a southerly heading, about 1,000 feet below them. N65906 then started a turn to the right and then suddenly nosed down to a near vertical attitude. The airplane was not spinning and the nose then went past the vertical to between 110 and 120 degrees. After losing about 75 percent of the altitude they observed something that appeared to be the size of a control surface separate from the airplane and the airplane began to spin. About 2 to 3 seconds later the airplane hit the ground. The outboard portion of the left wing, 10 feet in length, with the aileron still attached, was recovered approximately 150 feet to the east of the main wreckage. An outboard section of the right aileron, two feet in length, was located about 30 feet from the outboard portion of the left wing. Pieces of the left and right fiberglass wing tips were located about 800 feet east of the main wreckage along with papers from inside the airplane. The right wing remained attached to the airplane and was deformed downward and rearward. Flap actuator gear measurements indicate the flaps were in the 30 degree down position. The left wing had failed downward, and separated about 20 inches outboard of the wing strut attachment. The vertical and horizontal stabilizers, aft end of the fuselage, fractured piece of the elevator horn, fractured pieces of the control yokes, and the upper end of the right wing strut were sent to the NTSB Materials Laboratory in Washington D.C. for further examination. Visual examination of the fractured faces of the components revealed features typical of overstress separation. No evidence of fatigue cracking or corrosion damage was noted during the visual inspection. No preexisting airframe failure was found that would have led to loss of control or inflight breakup. Recorded radar data obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Daytona Beach Approach Control, showed the accident flight maintained 3,300 feet from 1221:45 until 1223:27. The flight was flying on a southerly heading during this time. Between 1223:32 and 1224:18, the flight maintains 3,400 feet while continuing to fly a southerly heading, and the calibrated airspeed (derived from radar groundspeed) dropped to 59 knots at 1224:15. Between 1224:22 and 1224:41, the flight maintained 3,500 feet, and the calibrated airspeed increased to 80 knots at 1224:30. At 1224:45, the flight was at 3,300 feet and at 1224:50, the flight was at 3,200 feet. Calibrated airspeed decreased to 65 knots. At 1224:55, the flight was at 3,300 feet, and the calibrated airspeed decreased to 60 knots. At 1224:59, the flight was at 3,300 feet, and the calibrated airspeed was about 58 knots. At 1225:04, the flight is at 3,200 feet and the calibrated airspeed is at 53 knots. The flight had maintained a southerly heading throughout this time. No further radar data was recorded for the accident flight. Radar data also showed that the airplane flown by the two witnesses was to the east of the accident airplane at 4,400 feet. Post mortem examination of the pilot, who was seated in the right front seat, and the left front seat passenger showed no findings which could be considered causal to the accident and toxicology studies were negative for alcohol, drugs, and carbon monoxide.
Probable Cause: The pilot's inflight loss of control and the pilot's failure to recover from the resultant dive for unknown reasons which resulted in flight beyond the design stress limits of the airplane and subsequent in flight airframe breakup.

Sources:

NTSB: https://www.ntsb.gov/_layouts/ntsb.aviation/brief.aspx?ev_id=20030123X00096&key=1


Revision history:

Date/timeContributorUpdates
28-Oct-2008 00:45 ASN archive Added
21-Dec-2016 19:24 ASN Update Bot Updated [Time, Damage, Category, Investigating agency]
08-Dec-2017 18:00 ASN Update Bot Updated [Operator, Source, Narrative]

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