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N20087 accident description

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Crash location 38.102500°N, 92.539166°W
Nearest city Osage Beach, MO
38.150311°N, 92.617962°W
5.4 miles away
Tail number N20087
Accident date 22 Oct 2016
Aircraft type Beech C23
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report


On October 22, 2016, about 1335 central daylight time, a Beech C23 airplane, N20087, collided with trees and impacted terrain after takeoff from Lee C. Fine Memorial Airport (AIZ), Osage Beach, Missouri. The commercial pilot and the passenger were fatally injured, and the airplane was substantially damaged. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 as a personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the cross-country flight, which operated without a flight plan. The airplane departed from the Tucumcari Municipal Airport (TCC), Tucumcari, New Mexico, earlier on the day of the accident and was en route to an undetermined destination on the day of the accident.

According to the pilot's wife, the pilot had recently purchased the airplane in Reno, Nevada, and the pilot and their daughter were flying the airplane across the country to their home in New Britain, Pennsylvania. She had last spoken with them on October 21, the day before the accident, when the two were in Boulder City, Nevada. They then flew to and stayed the night in Tucumcari, New Mexico. On the day of the accident, the pilot planned to fly past Saint Louis, Missouri, and stop for the night east of Saint Louis. The pilot's wife did not know what airports the pilot planned to stop at for fuel en route or what airport he planned to stop at for the night.

AIZ was located 561.2 nautical miles (nm) from TCC and about 100 nm west of Saint Louis. According to an employee of the fixed base operator at AIZ, he heard the pilot report a 4-mile final for the runway. The airplane landed and stopped near the runup area of runway 4. When the pilot did not taxi to the ramp, the employee attempted to contact the pilot on the common traffic advisory frequency. The pilot's transmission was garbled, so the employee waited to see if the pilot would taxi in. However, the pilot elected to takeoff on runway 4. When the employee saw the airplane depart he returned to his duties. He did not recall the pilot making any further transmissions on the radio. The employee reported that he heard normal engine sounds when the airplane was on the ground and when the airplane took off.

There are no known witnesses to the accident. The wreckage was discovered by mountain bikers about 1,000 ft east of the departure end of runway 4 in a heavily wooded area of a state park.


The family reported that the pilot was very familiar with aviation. He and his wife had owned a small fleet of airplanes that they maintained and rented to other pilots. After September 11, 2001, the cost became too great, and they sold off their fleet. Recently, the pilot wanted to spend more time flying, so he researched and bought a Beech airplane. The pilot was known to fly exactly to checklist standards.

The family reported that the pilot was in good health. He used a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine but was not on any medications. On November 6, 2014, the pilot was issued a third-class Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) medical certificate with the limitation, must wear corrective lenses. On the application for that medical certificate, the pilot reported having accrued 934 hours of total time, with 3 hours in the preceding 6 months.


Documents located in the airplane included a signed aircraft bill of sale for the airplane dated October 19, 2016. Entries in the airframe and engine logbooks documented an annual inspection completed on March 1, 2016, at a total tachometer/airframe time of 9,368.16 hours. On October 17, 2016, the directional gyro was replaced at an airframe time of 9,415.17 hours. At the accident site, the airplane's tachometer read 9,432.63 hours.

A review of the type certificate data sheet for the airplane revealed that the airplane's fuel capacity was 59.8 gallons of which 58.8 gallons were useable. The family provided credit card records indicating that the pilot purchased fuel at TCC. According to the family, the pilot was regularly using the card he used at TCC for travel expenses, and no other fuel charges were made to the credit card after that one. Pages in the pilot's notebook noted several airports in Oklahoma and Kansas, and FAA inspectors called these airports as well as other airports in line between TCC and AIZ and could not find an airport that sold the pilot fuel.

Airplane performance information provided by Textron Aviation indicated that, at an estimated 110 knots ground speed, the airplane would burn on average of 10.5 gallons of fuel per hour. A direct flight from TCC to AIZ of 561.2 nm in no-wind conditions would take 4 hours 50 minutes and require about 50.75 gallons of fuel. This fuel consumption calculation does not include the fuel burned on the ground at TCC and AIZ or the fuel to takeoff from TCC and climb to altitude or the fuel to takeoff from AIZ.

According to Textron Aviation, for takeoff, the airplane's flaps should be in the "UP" or fully retracted position. Textron Aviation reported that, if a takeoff were performed with the flaps fully extended, the airplane would have a significant amount of drag and difference in pitch.


No significant weather was recorded near the accident site at the time of the accident.


The wreckage was located in a heavily wooded area. The main wreckage consisted of all major components of the airplane. The first impact point was with a 50-ft-tall tree, and the outer edge of the left wing and wingtip remained suspended in the tree. The second impact point was a ground scar that had the right wing tip located beside it. The airplane came to rest on its right side and slightly inverted. The airplane's right wing was fractured rearward and partially folded under the fuselage. The right wing spar was fractured, and the wing remained attached to the fuselage by the aileron carry through cable. The left wing was pointing upward and came to rest against a tree. The outboard left wing was partially separated outboard of the flap, and the aileron was separated. Flight control continuity was established to the left aileron, elevators, and rudder. The right aileron drive cable was fractured near the pulley under the front passenger's seat. The fractured cable was sent to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) laboratory for examination. Examination of the cable's fracture surfaces found cup and cone slant fractures. No indicators of preexisting corrosion or wear were noted during the examination.

The flaps were found at 35° (fully extended), and a witness mark was found on the trailing edge of the wing, were consistent with the flaps being fully extended at impact. The emergency locator beacon was found turned off. Several ounces of fuel were found in the fuel strainer bowl; the fuel strainer screen was absent of debris. Due to the wreckage's position it could not be determine how much, if any fuel had leaked from the fuel tanks. The fuel selector was positioned to the left fuel tank. No anomalies were detected with the airframe.

At the accident scene, no less than three large branches had 45° cuts. The propeller remained attached to the engine at the propeller hub. Both blades displayed leading edge polishing and chord-wise scratches. One blade remained relatively straight while the other blade showed S-bending. The S-bent propeller blade also had a significantly larger area of polishing and chord-wise scratches.

The engine was examined by a technical representative from the engine manufacturer under the supervision of the NTSB investigator-in-charge. A bend in the propeller flange prohibited rotation, and the flange was cut to facilitate rotation. The upper spark plugs were removed and found to be in a normal condition. Engine compression and continuity were established to each cylinder, and each cylinder was subsequently inspected via borescope. Both magnetos produced spark at each terminal when rotated by hand. The oil pickup screen was absent of debris. Fuel was found in the carburetor bowl and the fuel pump. No anomalies were detected with the engine.


The Boone/Callaway County Medical Examiner's office conducted an autopsy on the pilot , as authorized by the Miller County Coroner, Eldon, Missouri. The cause of death resulted from blunt force injuries. The autopsy noted hypertrophy of the left ventricle and mild atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries and aorta. However, the coronary arteries showed no thromboemboli, and the heart muscle had no evidence of a recent or past heart attack

The FAA's Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed forensic toxicology on specimens from the pilot. Testing was negative for carbon monoxide and ethanol. Cetirizine was detected in urine and blood; hydroxyzine was detected in blood; and salicylate (aspirin) was detected in urine.

Cetirizine is an over-the-counter medication used to temporarily relieve the symptoms of hay fever and allergy to other substances. Cetirizine may cause drowsiness, and the FAA recommends at least a 48-hour wait from the last dose before performing airman duties. Hydroxyzine is a prescription first-generation antihistamine frequently used to relieve itching caused by allergic skin reactions. It is also used alone or with other medications in adults and children to relieve anxiety and tension. This medication has a long half-life, and the FAA recommends 6 days after the last dose before performing airman duties. Aspirin is an over-the counter medication that reduces substances in the body that cause pain, fever, and/or inflammation.


Garmin VIRB camera

The pilot's Garmin VIRB camera was located in the wreckage. The family reported that the pilot used the camera during flight. The Garmin VIRB is capable of recording still photos, videos, sound, and certain parametric data, including GPS position. The memory cards had not sustained any damage, and information was extracted normally. Information contained file system timestamps before the accident flight and timestamps around the time of the accident. Additionally, there were at least two files in the file system reporting a size of 0 bytes. When a file in the file system shows a size of 0, a corrupted file system is suspected. No data pertinent to the accident flight was recovered.

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's loss of control while maneuvering shortly after takeoff. Contributing to the loss of control was the pilot's attempt to climb with the flaps fully extended.

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