The Bellanca 17-30A pilot was using flight following services from air traffic control during the return leg of the cross-country flight and, about 12 miles from the destination, he reported to the approach controller that he had the airport in Albany, Ohio, in sight.
Two witnesses reported seeing the airplane traveling toward the airport and then “nose dive” to a nearby quarry.
One of the witnesses indicated that the back of the airplane hit a tree and that it subsequently hit the ground.
The other witness said the engine was making a “buzzing” noise after the airplane crashed, but that he did not hear anything before the crash.
The main airplane wreckage came to rest inverted near a tree line about 2,300 feet northwest of the runway’s displaced threshold.
Trees in the tree line exhibited broken and cut branches along about a 300-foot-long path, and the airplane was found fragmented and signs of a ground fire were observed along the path.
The crankshaft propeller flange had separated from the crankshaft.
The pilot was killed in the crash.
A family member who flew with the pilot during an earlier leg of the cross-country flight reported that the airplane’s engine seemed harder to start than usual and that, during cruise, a distinct engine vibration occurred when the fuel mixture was leaned.
However, examinations revealed no pre-impact anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.
Further, during an engine test run conducted after engine items that had sustained impact damage were replaced and a centering pilot shaft and the propeller flange were welded to the engine’s crankshaft separation point, the engine ran normally.
On the basis of the evidence, it is likely that the pilot lost control of the airplane during the approach to landing.
The NTSB determined the probable cause as the pilot’s loss of airplane control during the approach to landing.
NTSB Identification: CEN14FA185
This April 2014 accident report is provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.