Fatal Plane Crash - NTSB Report

8-2-05 - The initial NTSB report about last week’s fatal plane crash in Ada has been released.

Harland Brent Stonecipher, 34, son of Pre-Paid Legal Services founder Harland Stonecipher, was killed along with his wife, Tina Stonecipher, 33, and their 11-year-old daughter Nicole.

The initial NTSB report said the twin-engine Cessna airplane crashed in a rural area along US 377 at 5:52 p.m. Monday, July 24, 2005, not long after the plane took off from the Ada Municipal Airport.

A witness in the report said that as the plane crossed over the highway, the plane took a sharp right turn before the nose of the airplane dropped, and the right wing slammed into the ground. The witness said the airplane cartwheeled before it came to rest on an embankment and caught on fire. The witness said that he did not see any fire or smoke trailing the airplane while in flight, but he did hear a "miss" in the "engine."

Full NTSB Report:

NTSB Identification: DFW05FA188
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, July 24, 2005 in Ada, OK
Aircraft: Cessna 310Q, registration: N1971W
Injuries: 3 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed.

On July 24, 2005, at 1752 central daylight time, a twin-engine Cessna 310Q airplane, N1971W, was destroyed when it collided with terrain shortly after takeoff from Runway 17 at the Ada Municipal Airport (ADA) near Ada, Oklahoma. The airline transport pilot, the two passengers, and a dog, were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to Stoneair Charter Services, LLC, of Centrahoma, Oklahoma, and was being operated by the pilot. No flight plan was filed for the flight destined for Cushing Municipal Airport (CUH), near Cushing, Oklahoma. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight conducted under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

A witness was standing just to the west of Highway 377, which was located approximately 1 mile west of the Ada Municipal Airport and was under construction and closed to traffic. According to the witness, he did not hear the airplane approaching until it was almost right over him. The airplane was "extremely low," about 60-70 feet above the ground, with the landing gear retracted, in a shallow right turn towards the north. As the airplane crossed over the highway, it made a sharp right turn to the north and the witness thought the pilot was trying to land on the highway. However, as the airplane banked to the right, the nose of the airplane dropped, and the airplane rapidly descended toward the grass median located to the west of the highway. The right wing contacted the ground and the airplane cartwheeled before it came to rest on an embankment and caught on fire. The witness said that he did not see any fire or smoke trailing the airplane while in flight, but he did hear a "miss" in the "engine." He described the "miss" as a "pop," but not as loud as the sound of a backfire. The witness added that the airplane did not sound as loud as other airplanes do when they depart, and he felt that it was not making the power it needed to maintain altitude.

The accident occurred during the hours of daylight approximately 34 degrees, 47 minutes north latitude, and 96 degrees, 41 minutes west longitude.

An on-scene examination of the airplane wreckage was conducted on July 25, 2005. All major components of the airplane were accounted for at the scene. The main wreckage, which included the left wing, left engine, fuselage, tail section, and the inboard portion of the right wing, came to rest upright on a magnetic heading of 280 degrees at a field elevation of approximately 1,000 feet mean sea level (msl).

The initial impact was a series of ground scars that began approximately 170 feet south of where the main wreckage came to rest and were aligned on a magnetic heading of 355 degrees. The scars included three sequential impact craters that were approximately 6-7 feet apart. Imbedded in the first impact crater were pieces of engine cowling. In the second crater were sections of Plexiglas, and the left propeller was buried in the third impact crater. Also found scattered beyond these initial scars and scattered along the wreckage path were sections of the right wing, both main (tip) fuel tanks, and the right propeller. The right engine came to rest approximately 20-feet forward of the main wreckage.

A post-impact fire consumed the cockpit and fuselage. However, flight control continuity was established for all flight control surfaces to the cockpit. The landing gear was found in the extended position, with the flaps extended to the 20 degrees position. The aileron trim was
15 degrees tab down, the elevator trim was 5 degrees tab down, and the rudder trim was extended beyond its normal range.

The left fuel selector was found extended just beyond the "off" position, and the right fuel selector was found extended beyond the "off" position and was past the stop. Both fuel selector handles were destroyed in the fire.

The engines, propellers, and a hand-held Garmin 295 GPS were retained for further examination.

The airplane's last annual inspection was conducted on November 18, 2004, at a total aircraft time of 3,944.7 hours. At that time, the right engine was removed and a factory new engine was installed. The last entry in the airframe logbook was entered on June 28, 2005. At that time, the oil was changed on both engines. The right engine had accrued approximately 175.3 hours since new and the left engine had accrued 510.8 hours since major overhaul.

The pilot purchased 20 gallons of 100 LL aviation fuel prior to departure. According to the individual that fueled the airplane, he serviced each main tank with 10 gallons. He also stated that the added 10 gallons did not fill either tank and he estimated that the tanks were approximately 1/2- to 3/4-full at the time the pilot departed.

The pilot held several flight certificates and ratings. They included an airline transport pilot certificate for multi-engine land, a commercial certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, multi-engine land and rotorcraft-helicopter, and a private certificate for single-engine sea. He also held a flight instructor certificate for single-engine land, multi-engine land, instrument airplane, and rotorcraft-helicopter. His last Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) second-class medical was issued on August 5, 2004. The pilot's approximate flight time was 1,500 total hours.

Weather reported at Ada Municipal Airport at 1752 was reported as wind from 160 degrees at 10 knots gusting to 18 knots, visibility 10 statue miles, clouds scattered at 6,000 feet, temperature 97 degrees Fahrenheit, dewpoint 66 degrees Fahrenheit, and a barometric pressure setting of 29.97 inches of Mercury.