Local Flight Was To Take The Passenger, A Prospective Student Pilot, On A Discovery Flight

Location: St. Augustine, FL Accident Number: ERA21FA274
Date & Time: June 29, 2021, 14:27 Local Registration: N25513
Aircraft: Cessna 152 Injuries: 2 Fatal
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation – Instructional

On June 29, 2021, about 1427 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 152, N25513, was destroyed when it was involved in an accident at Northeast Florida Regional Airport (SGJ), St. Augustine, Florida. The flight instructor and a passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 instructional flight.

The purpose of the local flight was to take the passenger, a prospective student pilot on a discovery flight. Preliminary radar data indicated the airplane departed SGJ at 1344 from runway 13. The airplane flew about 14 miles south, then returned to circle the city of St. Augustine, Florida, and finally flew north along the coastline about 21 miles before turning south to return for landing.

A witness observed the airplane approach runway 13 about 100 ft above ground level with the wings swaying up and down about 1 ft in each direction. He also stated the nose of the airplane appeared to be in a nose up attitude before the airplane pitched down about 45° and impacted the runway. The impact was followed by a fire that engulfed the airplane as it slid about 200 ft before coming to rest.

The airplane was located about 927 ft before the displaced threshold for runway 13 at SGJ on a heading of 148°. All components of the airplane were accounted for on scene. Ground scars were consistent with the propeller spinner and left wing impacting the asphalt first followed by the nose wheel. Witness marks in the asphalt and on the spinner indicated an impact angle of about 38°.

The majority of the cockpit, cabin and instrument panel were consumed by fire. The inboard portion of the right wing was consumed by fire, including the fuel tank. Both the left and right forward and aft wing attach fittings remained connected via the attach bolts. The wing support structure through the upper cabin was consumed by fire. The left-wing sustained fire damage at the wing root, but the fuel tank remained intact and about 2.5 gallons of 100 low lead aviation fuel was drained from the tank. No debris or water was noted in the fuel. A majority of the fuel lines in the fuselage were consumed by fire. The tail section was consumed by fire from the approximate fuselage station 75 to 133. The empennage remained intact and attached the fuselage. The right horizontal stabilizer and elevator was mostly consumed by fire. The left horizontal stabilizer and elevator remained intact. The vertical stabilizer and rudder remained intact and sustained fire damage to the right side. Flight control continuity was established by  tracing the flight control cables from the cockpit controls to the respective flight controls.

Examination of the engine revealed that crankshaft and valvetrain continuity were confirmed when the crankshaft was rotated using a tool inserted into the vacuum pump drive pad. Compression and suction were attained from all four cylinders. The interiors of the cylinders were examined using a lighted borescope and no anomalies were noted. The carburetor was impact separated, fragmented, and the fuel inlet screen was absent of debris.

The propeller was impact separated from the engine crankshaft flange and found on the runway about 45 ft from the engine. One propeller blade was twisted toward the cambered surface along the blade longitudinal axis. The blade exhibited chord-wise scoring and leading and trailing edge gouges. The other propeller blade was twisted toward the flat surface along the blade longitudinal axis. The blade tip was curled toward the blade face. That blade also exhibited chord-wise scoring and leading-edge gouges.

Multiple slash marks, consistent with propeller strikes, were observed on the asphalt surface near the initial impact point.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov