Finds Pilot Was Not Rated For The Type Of Aircraft He Was Flying

The NTSB has released a preliminary report from an accident in Longview, TX that fatally injured the pilot of the aircraft and three passengers. According to the report, the Cessna T337C airplane was destroyed when it collided with trees and terrain during a descent near Longview, Texas.

The flight departed Lancaster Regional Airport (KLNC), near Lancaster, Texas, about 0930, and was en route to the Lakefront Airport, near New Orleans, Louisiana. 

An employee at LNC reported that about 0930 the pilot and 3 other people came to the airport. The pilot came inside and bought 1 quart of oil. He was in a good mood and told me that his daughter was from Houston and they were flying to Louisiana. The pilot then went out and did a long preflight (about 10 minutes) he put the oil in the front engine, and his son brought the empty bottle in to throw it away. Then they entered the airplane, started it up, and let it run for about 5 minutes. The airplane was taxied toward the south ramp out of sight. The self-serve fuel is located down that way and it was a long enough period of time for the pilot to service the airplane with fuel. After that, the airplane took off and flew away. The employee said that a severe thunderstorm went through about 0730-0830. At the time of departure, the thunderstorm had passed through and the weather present at LNC was “clear.”

A friend of the family later reported that the airplane was missing and an Alert Notice (ALNOT) was issued.

A witness was driving down a road to go hunting. While driving he noticed scattered trash along a clearway above an underground pipeline in a wooded area. He looked further at the trash and saw that it was an airplane crash. He subsequently called 9-1-1. The time was about 1900.

According to initial information from the FAA, the 51-year-old pilot held a private pilot certificate with a single engine land airplane rating. The pilot’s last aviation medical examination was dated August 8, 2018, when he applied for an FAA third-class medical certificate. The pilot reported on the application for that medical certificate that he had accumulated 1,200 hours of total flight time and 0 hours of flight time in the 6 months before the examination. The pilot’s logbook was found in the wreckage. The entry before the last entry was dated May 7, 2005. The last entry was dated August 23, 2018 and using flight time carried forward on the last page, the pilot’s total logged flight time was 250.9 hours.

N922EJ was a 1968 model Cessna T337C, twin-engine, push-pull configuration, high-wing, all-metal, retractable tricycle landing gear airplane, with serial number 337-0944. According to type certificate data sheet specifications, the airplane was powered by two 210-horsepower Continental model TSIO-360 reciprocating engines which each respectively drove a controllable-pitch, full feathering, two blade propeller. The airplane had a total fuel capacity of 92.8 gallons (92 gallons usable) distributed between two wing fuel tanks.

According to the prior owner of the airplane, it recently underwent an annual inspection shortly after the sale. He sold the airplane “in the fall” and that was the last time he flew it. The prior owner, in part, reported, “The plane performed perfectly. Total airframe time was about 1800 hrs motors were both about 600 hrs. Excellent flying airplane. Good radios and everything worked properly the last time I flew it.”

At 1025, the recorded weather at the East Texas Regional Airport (GGG), near Longview, Texas, was: Wind 220° at 18 knots gusting to 28 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; present weather light thunderstorms and rain; sky condition scattered clouds at 2,600 ft, broken clouds at 3,200 ft, broken clouds at 9,500 ft; temperature 23° C; dew point 19° C; altimeter 29.72 inches of mercury; remarks peak wind 220° 28 knots at 1022, distant lightning west – northeast, rain began at 1025, thunderstorm began at 1025.

The main wreckage, which consisted of the fragmented fuselage, empennage, inboard wings sections, and both engines that were found embedded about 6 to 8 feet below grade in wooded terrain about 62° and 10 nautical miles from GGG. One fuel tank was found fragmented near the main wreckage in the woods and one fuel tank was found in a clearway for an underground pipeline near the main wreckage. Highly fragmented sections of the fuselage, wings, and empennage were found in the woods widely distributed around the main wreckage. All separations in control cables exhibited a broom-straw appearance consistent with overload. All observed skin and structure separations exhibited an appearance consistent with overload.

A backhoe was used to raise the wreckage from below grade. Both engines did not exhibit any anomalies or damage that could not be associated with the ground impact. The rear propeller blades were attached to their hub and that hub remained attached to its propeller flange. However, the flange was separated from its engine crankshaft just forward of its flange. One blade exhibited leading edge nicks and the other blade exhibited S-shaped bending. The front propeller hub remained attached to its engine. However, the hub’s blades did not remain attached. One inboard section of a front propeller blade was recovered, and one outboard section of a front propeller blade was recovered. Those sections exhibited separations in overload and chordwise abrasion. The outboard section exhibited s-bending.

A section of outboard wing leading edge that housed landing lights was found about 072° and 1.7 nautical miles from the main wreckage.

The Harrison County Justice of the Peace was asked to perform an autopsy on the pilot and to take toxicological samples.

Radar data from the FAA was requested for plotting the flight’s recorded track and a weather study will be conducted to determine the weather along the recorded track.

(Source: NTSB. Image from file. Not accident airplane)