Controller Instructed The Pilot To Stop His Turn And Maintain 3,000 Ft MSL

Location: Hartwell, GA Accident Number: ERA22FA405
Date & Time: September 10, 2022, 12:37 Local Registration: N3670D
Aircraft: Beech 95-B55 (T42A) Injuries: 1 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Personal

On September 10, 2022, about 1237 eastern daylight time, a Beech BE-55, N3670D, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Hartwell, Georgia. The private pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. According to family, the pilot flew from Florida to Georgia to attend an event. A review of preliminary flight track data revealed that the airplane departed Punta Gorda Airport (PGD), Punta Gorda, Florida, about 0941. The airplane flew on a generally northwest heading initially at 10,500 ft mean sea level (msl), then at 9,500 ft msl toward Anderson Regional Airport (AND) for about 1 hour 50 minutes. Air Traffic Control (ATC) cleared the pilot for an RNAV approach to runway 5 and instructed him to  switch to the non-towered airport common traffic advisory frequency.

The pilot executed a missed approach and contacted ATC and requested another RNAV approach. The controller issued instructions to join the approach course and cleared the pilot for the approach; however, the pilot began to descend and maneuver, and was unable to join the final approach course. The controller asked if he needed assistance, the pilot responded negative and that he needed to reset. The pilot was issued instructions to hold an altitude of 4,000 ft msl and to fly a heading of 090°, but he turned to a heading of 270° instead. The controller asked if he was having trouble with the autopilot or gyros, he responded that he was having trouble with his gyros. The controller then offered the ILS approach to runway 5, and the pilot accepted. The controller issued vectors for the approach and the pilot complied. The pilot was cleared for the approach but did not intercept the localizer. The controller instructed the pilot to stop his turn and maintain 3,000 ft msl. No further communications were received from the pilot.

According to archived flight track data, at 1235 the airplane was at 3,975 ft msl, about 30 seconds later the airplane began a right turn. The airplane completed two right turns and descended to 1,900 ft. The airplane briefly climbed to 2,750 ft msl and began a left turn. The last track data was observed at 1237, as the airplane descended through 1,825 ft msl, about 1,165 ft above ground level (agl). The airplane impacted Lake Hartwell about 9 nautical miles south of the AND airport.

At 1556, the recorded weather at AND, field elevation of 780 ft agl, included wind from 050° magnetic at 7 knots, 6 statute miles visibility, light rain, and broken clouds at 800 ft, 1,400 ft, and overcast at 2,000 ft. The airplane was recovered on September 15 and transported to a facility for examination. The fuselage was intact and had upward crushing on the bottom of the fuselage, both wings and horizontal stabilizers were pushed upward. Flight control cable continuity was established from the control inputs to the bellcranks, and then to the control surfaces. The propellers remained attached to the engine crankshaft flanges, and minor scratches were present along the blade tips.

The engines were partially separated from the airframe from impact, and they were removed to facilitate recovery. The engines were manually rotated and internal geartrain continuity was confirmed, and thumb compression was obtained on all cylinders. The oil sump pans were crushed upward. The oil filters and their screens were removed and examined, they were free of debris and non-ferrous material. The fuel screens were removed, were not obstructed and free of debris. The left and right magnetos remained attached to both engines, all produced spark on all leads. All spark plugs were removed and were light grey in color and in normal condition when compared to the Champion Check-A-Plug Chart.

Multiple instruments were retained for further examination.