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N508GT accident description

West Virginia map... West Virginia list
Crash location 39.695833°N, 79.762222°W
Reported location is a long distance from the NTSB's reported nearest city. This often means that the location has a typo, or is incorrect.
Nearest city Morgantown, WV
39.629526°N, 79.955897°W
11.3 miles away
Tail number N508GT
Accident date 22 Jun 2012
Aircraft type Raytheon Aircraft Company C90GT
Additional details: None

NTSB Factual Report


On June 22, 2012, at 1001 eastern daylight time a Raytheon Aircraft Company, C90GT, N508GT, operated by Oz Gas Aviation LLC, was substantially damaged when it struck a communications tower near Morgantown, West Virginia. The certificated airline transport pilot was fatally injured. No flight plan had been filed for the positioning flight from Nemacolin Airport (PA88), Farmington, Pennsylvania, to Morgantown Municipal Airport (MGW), Morgantown, West Virginia conducted under Title14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91.

At 0924 on the morning of the accident, the airplane departed from Rigrtona Airport (13PA), Tidioute, Pennsylvania for PA88 with the pilot and three passengers onboard. The airplane landed on runway 23 at PA88 at 0944. The pilot then parked the airplane; shutdown both engines, and deplaned the three passengers. He advised them that he would be back on the following day to pick them up. After the passengers got on a shuttle bus for the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, the pilot started the engines. He idled for approximately 2 minutes, and then back taxied on runway 23 for takeoff. At 0957, he departed from runway 23 for the approximately 19 nautical mile positioning flight to MGW, where he was going to refuel and spend the night.

After departure from PA88, the airplane climbed to 3,100 feet above mean sea level (msl) on an approximately direct heading for MGW. The pilot then contacted Clarksburg Approach Control and was given a discrete code of 0130. When the airplane was approximately nine miles east of the Morgantown airport, the air traffic controller advised the pilot that he had "radar contact" with him. The airplane then descended to 3,000 feet, and approximately one minute later struck the communications tower on an approximate magnetic heading of 240 degrees.

According to a witness who was cutting timber across the road from where the accident occurred; the weather was cloudy with lighting and thunder, and it had just started "sprinkling". He then heard a loud "bang", turned, and observed the airplane descending upside down, and then impact. About 20 minutes later it stopped "sprinkling". He advised that he could still see the top of the tower when it was "sprinkling".


The pilot was self-employed and flew and managed the airplane for Oz Gas Aviation LLC. He also flew for a training organization that provided ground and flight instruction in customer's airplanes.

According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, the pilot held an airline transport pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land and airplane multi-engine land, and type ratings for the CE-500, DA-10, IA-JET, LR-JET, N-265, and CE-525S. He also held commercial privileges for rotorcraft-helicopter, and instrument helicopter, and a flight instructor certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine, airplane multi-engine, rotorcraft-helicopter, instrument airplane, and instrument helicopter.

He held a special issuance FAA second-class medical certificate which was issued on August 1, 2011 and was not valid for any class of certificate after August 31, 2012. Review of FAA and pilot records revealed that the pilot had reported to the FAA during the application of his special issuance medical certificate that he had accrued 22,000 total hours of flight experience, 150 hours of which were in the previous 6 months. He had completed C90GT initial training on February 4, 2008, and C90GT recurrent training on February 9, 2009. No other records of training, or record of completion of an FAA flight review within the two years preceding the accident were discovered during the course of the investigation.


The accident aircraft was a low wing, pressurized, twin engine airplane, of conventional metal construction equipped with retractable landing gear. It was powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-135A turbopropeller engines capable of producing 550 shaft horsepower, each equipped with a Hartzell 4-bladed, fully reversing, constant speed propeller. It could cruise at 270 knots true airspeed and could operate at altitudes up to 30,000 feet. Its range with full fuel was 1,068 nautical miles.

According to FAA and maintenance records, the airplane was manufactured in 2006. The airplane's most recent phase inspection was completed on May 11, 2011. At the time of the inspection the airplane had accrued 1,305 hours of operation.

At the time of the accident the airplane had accrued 1439.2 hours of operation and was overdue for its next phase inspection.


Destination Weather

The reported weather at MGW at 0953, included: winds 220 degrees at 5 knots, 9 miles visibility, a few clouds at 1,700 feet, temperature 24 degrees C, dew point 20 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 29.95 inches of mercury.

There were clouds around 1,500 to 2,000 feet above ground level (agl) with a slight reduction in visibility due to haze. With the haze that was present there was likely more reduced visibility in the horizontal direction than the vertical direction and though 9 miles visibility was reported, it was likely slightly less than that, looking up or down at an angle, but nothing below 7 miles visibility. The clouds would have likely been most prominent near the mountainous terrain given the weather in the Mid-Atlantic region, and mountain and valley breeze circulations present during the morning hours.

Accident Area

From 0900 to 1100, there was an increase in mid- level clouds as satellite images of the area taken at 0945, 1045, and 1145 showed an increase in cloud cover, indicating that the pilot would have had reduced visibility and possibly instrument meteorological conditions from clouds at 1,500 to 3,000 feet agl.

A witness statement also indicated that light rain and thunder was present at the time of the accident, and review of a photograph taken of the communications tower at 1130, revealed the presence of cumulus clouds in close proximity to the top of the communications tower.


Per federal regulation, because the aircraft was certificated to be operated by one pilot, it was not required to be equipped with a cockpit voice recorder (CVR). The aircraft, however, was equipped with a solid-state CVR that recorded the last 30 minutes of aircraft operation; this was accomplished by recording over the oldest audio data. When a CVR is deactivated or removed from the airplane, it retains only the most recent 30 minutes of CVR operation. This model CVR, the L-3/Fairchild FA2100-1010, recorded 30 minutes of digital audio, which was stored in solid-state memory modules. Four channels of audio information were retained: one channel for each flight crew and one channel for the cockpit area microphone (CAM).

The CVR had sustained only minor physical damage. The audio information was extracted from the recorder normally, without difficulty.

The recording consisted of two channels of audio information. One of the channels contained audio information from the pilot's audio panel. The quality of this channel was good. One channel contained audio information from the CAM. The quality of this channel was also good. The third and fourth channel did not contain audio, nor was it required by regulation to do so. The quality of these channels was unknown.

The following is a summary of the recorded audio information:

At 9:24:28.7, recording started.

At 9:25:00.3, the airplane was in a VFR climb to 8,000 feet msl, destined for PA88 talking to Cleveland Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC).

At 9:26:48.4, the pilot can be heard talking to a male passenger about the destination.

At 9:27:28.9, the pilot advises Cleveland ARTCC that he was descending to 6,000 feet msl.

At 9:27:51.5, unintelligible background conversation of passenger can be heard during most of the flight.

At 9:28:09.6, the pilot contacted the Johnstown approach controller.

At 9:38:29.8, the pilot advised Johnstown approach that he was descending to 4,500 feet.

At 9:40:38.2, Johnstown approach advised the pilot that that the airport was at 12 o'clock and 10 miles. Pilot advised the airport was in sight and canceled flight following.

At 9:40:57.8, the pilot made a radio call to Nemacolin traffic that he was landing on runway 23.

At 9:43:14.8, the sound of a radio altimeter aural call of "five hundred feet" was recorded.

At 9:43:21.8, a passenger makes a comment to the pilot that "he didn't hear any terrain warning alert" pilot's response was that he "turned it off".

At 9:44:00.0, the sound of touchdown was recorded.

At 9:45:01.5, the engines were shutdown.

At 9:45:13.0, electrical power was removed from the CVR.

At 9:50:58.5, recording started again.

At 9:51:04.1, sound of first engine start was recorded.

At 9:51:47.3, sound of second engine start was recorded.

At 9:55:25.3, the pilot made a radio call to Nemacolin traffic that he was back taxiing on runway 23 for takeoff.

At 9:57:07.1, sound of increasing engine noise was recorded.

At 9:57:29.1, sound similar to a gear retract motor was recorded.

At 9:57:48.5, sound of altitude alert was recorded.

At 9:58:35.7, the pilot attempted to contact Morgantown approach.

At 9:59:01.8, the pilot contacted Morgantown again.

At 9:59:06.9, Clarksburg approach answered.

At 9:59:11.5, the pilot reported his position as 14 miles to the northeast landing Morgantown.

At 9:59:58.2, Clarksburg approach reported that he had radar contact nine miles east of the Morgantown airport at 3,100 instructed pilot to maintain VFR and to expect runway 18 and advise you have the Morgantown weather.

At 10:00:20.5, sound of altitude alert tone was recorded.

At 10:00:27.7, sound of Morgantown automated weather broadcast starts and continues until the end of the recording.

At 10:01:00.1, sound of first impact was recorded.

At 10:01:01.9, recording ended.


Examination of the Accident Site

Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane made first contact with the antenna with the spinner for the right engine's propeller. The right wing then broke apart, and impacted .1 miles from the communications tower where portions of the fragmented wing were then consumed by a post impact fire.

The left horizontal stabilizer separated from its mounting location, and impacted in the woods adjacent to the communications tower.

The left engine separated from its mounting location and impacted approximately .2 miles from the communications tower. The fuselage and left wing impacted inverted approximately .3 miles from the communications tower.

The right engine impacted .5 mile from the communications tower.

In all, hundreds of pieces of the airplane were spread over the area with the majority of the pieces situated along a .5 mile wide wreckage path which started at the communications tower site and continued to the right engine on a 244 degree magnetic heading.

Examination of the Communications Tower

Examination of the communications tower revealed that it was located approximately 7.9 nautical miles northeast of MGW, and it was the highest obstruction in the area.

The antenna site was approximately 2,596 feet above mean sea level. The tower's overall height above ground level was approximately 493 feet, and the tower's overall height above mean sea level was approximately 3,089 feet.

It was marked and lighted in accordance with Federal Communications Commission requirements under Title 47 CFR Part 17, Paragraphs 1, 3, 4, 13, and 21.

The airplane struck the communications tower's antenna which then separated in to three large sections which fell from the top of the tower, along with multiple smaller fragments and debris.

One section which included the beacon light and digital antenna fell through the roof of the broadcasting building which contained the equipment for operation of the communications tower and was adjacent to the antenna site.

The other two sections fell to the ground, coming to rest approximately 244 feet southwest of the base of the tower structure with the end of one portion buried in the ground.

Examination of the antenna revealed that the antenna exhibited deformation, impact damage, and black scuff marks.

Examination of the history of the communications tower also revealed that it had also been struck previously by an aircraft approximately 9 years before, when on May 21, 2003, when a Piper PA-28-180 being operated on a visual flight rules (VFR) cross country flight (NYC03FA113), struck the top guy wire of the communications tower, mid-span between the top of the tower, and its ground anchor. As the airplane fell to the ground it struck a 12,000 volt power line. A postcrash fire resulted. The pilot who was fatally injured in the accident had received a weather briefing which included ceilings between 1,300 feet and 1,500 feet, and mountain obscurement. Power company personnel who responded to the power outage reported that the top of the mountain was obscured in fog.

Examination of the Wreckage

Examination of the wreckage revealed no evidence of any preimpact malfunctions or failures of the flight controls, engines, or airplane that would have precluded normal operation.

With the exception of the aft fuselage, vertical stabilizer, and left wing, the rest of the airplane had been fragmented with the majority of the pieces displaying crush, compression, and impact damage.

The left engine displayed impact and buckling damage to the gas generator case. The exhaust duct displayed torsional bending. The compressor turbine vane, shroud, and power turbine vane baffle displayed circumferential wear. The propeller pitch lever was in feather (fail safe mode), and the propeller pitch lever cable was fractured.

The right engine displayed compression, buckling, and distortion damage of the exhaust duct and gas generator case. The propeller shaft was sheared. The compressor stator vanes were bent and displaced, and the power turbine blades were fractured.


An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the State of West Virginia, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. Cause of death was catastrophic injuries.

Toxicological testing of the pilot was conducted at the FAA Bioaeronautical Sciences Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The specimens were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, basic, acidic, and neutral drugs, with the exception of:

- Amlodipine, which is a prescription medicine, calcium channel blocker used to treat high blood pressure and angina, and was detected in Urine and Liver.

- Glucose, which is a blood sugar, is indicative of diabetes, and was detected in Urine, but not detected in Vitreous.

- Pioglitazone, which is an oral antidiabetic agent that acts primarily by increasing uptake of glucose by peripheral organs and decreasing glucose production by the liver. It is used in the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus, and was detected in Urine and Liver.

- Salicylate, which is an over the counter analgesic used in the treatment of mild pain, and was detected in Urine.

Review of FAA records revealed that the pilot had a history of coronary artery disease with a stent, diabetes treated with oral and injectable medications, high blood pressure treated with medication, and a history of stroke with no residual neurological symptoms.

No other significant issues were identified on his last physical examination by an airman medical examiner (AME). The pilot had no recent changes in his cardiac history. He had not significantly modified his medications since his physical examination, and had no recent changes in his vision.

Review of toxicological testing revealed that all medications detected during the testing, had previously been reported to his AME by the pilot.


Charting and Obstructions

Review of the airplane's route of flight revealed that the pilot had selected a direct route of flight which brought him into proximity of rising terrain and obstructions within a Designated Mountainous

NTSB Probable Cause

The pilot's inadequate preflight route planning and in-flight route and altitude selection, which resulted in an in-flight collision with a communications tower in possible instrument meteorological conditions. Contributing to the accident were the pilot's improper use of the enhanced ground proximity warning system's terrain inhibit switch and the air traffic controller's failure to issue a safety alert regarding the proximity of the tower.

© 2009-2020 Lee C. Baker / Crosswind Software, LLC. For informational purposes only.