The pilot, age 72, held a private pilot certificate with
airplane multi-engine land, single-engine land, airplane
single-engine sea, rotorcraft-helicopter, and instrument
ratings. The pilot was issued a third-class airman
medical certificate on May 23, 2014, with the limitation
that he must wear corrective lenses. The pilot reported
on his most recent medical certificate application that
he had accumulated 5,200 total flight hours. The pilot
reported that he had accumulated a total of 55.3 hours
within the preceding 90 days, 17.7 hours within the
preceding 30 days, and logged no flight hours within the
previous 24 hours. The total time he had logged in the
accident make/model airplane was over 75 hours.
The two-seat, low-wing monoplane, fixed-gear airplane,
serial number (S/N) 1859, was manufactured in 1942. The
military version of the airplane was known as the PT-22
Recruit. It was powered by a Kinner R-55 engine, serial
number 07450, rated at 160 horsepower. The airplane was
also equipped with a Sensenich model W90HASP-86, serial
number AF 1893, fixed pitch propeller. The airplane is
flown solo from the rear seat.
The accident make/model airplane was not equipped with
shoulder harnesses when it was produced in 1942.
However, the accident airplane was equipped with
shoulder harnesses for both the forward and aft seats.
No logbook entries, supplemental type certificate (STC),
or documentation was located during the investigation
that provided details on when the shoulder harnesses
were installed in the airplane.
While it is typical to add shoulder harnesses in antique
airplanes, most are performed under an STC installation
or by a field approval from the Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA). However, FAA guidance does allow
for certain installations to be conducted under minor
alterations as long as no welding or drilling of holes
into the aircraft structure is performed. No evidence of
drilling or welding was noted to the aircraft structure.
Review of the airframe and engine logbooks revealed that
the most recent annual inspection was completed on March
13, 2014, at a recorded tachometer reading of 25 hours
and an airframe total time of 163.5 hours since the
restoration of the airplane.
review of recorded data from the SMO automated weather
observation station, located near the accident site,
revealed that, at 1351, conditions were wind from 220
degrees at 10 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, clear
sky, temperature 23 degrees Celsius, dew point -8
degrees Celsius, and an altimeter setting of 30.20
inches of mercury.
According to the FAA Digital Airport/Facility Directory,
SMO is a continuously operated towered airport with a
field elevation of 177 feet. The airport was equipped
with one asphalt runway, runway 03/21 (4,973 ft long by
150 ft wide). Investigative personnel noted that the
approach end of runway 03 of the airport was positioned
on a plateau about 75 ft higher than the accident site.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
Examination of the accident site revealed that the
airplane impacted terrain about 800 ft southwest of
runway 03 at an elevation of about 45 ft. Wreckage
debris remained within about 10 ft of the main wreckage.
The first identified point of contact was the top of a
tree about 65 ft tall. The first area of ground impact
consisted of an area of disturbed grass that extended to
a small crater of disturbed dirt, which contained a
portion of the propeller blade. The ground scars were
about 25 ft in length.
The fuselage came to rest upright on a heading of about
44 degrees magnetic about 150 feet from the tree. The
wings and engine remained partially attached to the main
fuselage. Flight control continuity was established to
all flight surfaces, with the exception of the right
aileron; its control cable became separated when the
right wing partially detached from the wing root. All
major structural components of the airplane were located
at the accident site.
Fuel was observed leaking from the front of the
airplane, and the responding fire department reported
shutting off the airplane's fuel supply from the
According to FAA recorded communications, the SMO air
traffic control tower local controller reported that, at
1419, the pilot requested a departure from runway 21 for
left closed traffic. The pilot was cleared for takeoff
about 1 minute later. About 1 minute after takeoff, the
pilot radioed that he had an engine failure and
requested immediate return. The controller cleared the
pilot to land on runway 21; the pilot responded with a
request for runway 03. The controller subsequently
cleared the pilot to land on runway 03 and then issued
the wind information. There was no further transmission
from the pilot after 1422.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The FAA's Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI) in
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma,
performed toxicology tests on the pilot. No ethanol was
detected in the blood. The following drugs were tested
for: amphetamines, opiates, marijuana, cocaine,
phencyclidine, benzodiazepines, barbiturates,
antidepressants, and antihistamines. Positive results
for morphine in the blood and ondansetron in the serum
were present. Tests were negative for the remainder of
review of the pilot's postaccident medical care by the
NTSB's Chief Medical Officer revealed that the pilot was
administered amounts of morphine for pain during his
evacuation from the accident scene and ondansetron for
nausea during his evaluation at the emergency
department. The positive toxicology results were
consistent with the medications administered to the
pilot during his postaccident treatment.
TESTS AND RESEARCH
Both the left and right wings were removed to facilitate
wreckage recovery and subsequent transport. During
postaccident examination, the airframe fuel filter (gascolator)
was removed and subsequently disassembled. The
gascolator bowl was free of debris. A very slight amount
of debris was observed on the gascolator screen.
Multiple fuel line fittings were impact damaged, and
separated from the gascolator.
The fuel selector valve handles (forward and aft) were
found in the "off" position. The fuel selector valve
remained attached and secure to the selector valve
handle shaft. The fuel selector valve was removed and
disassembled. Internal examination of the fuel selector
valve revealed that the valve was in the "off" position.
Air was applied to the inlet port, and when the valve
was moved to both the main and reserve positions, no
restrictions were noted.
The fuel tank remained intact, but the fuel tank cap was
separated. Impact damage was observed surrounding the
fuel cap. Internal examination of the fuel tank revealed
that no debris or contaminants were present. No fuel was
observed within the fuel tank. Compressed air was
applied to the main and reserve outlet port fuel lines
and the fuel vent line, and no restrictions were noted.
Examination of the aft cockpit seat revealed that the
left and right seatbelt restraints remained attached to
their respective mounts and seat structure. The shoulder
harnesses were separated from the seat back assembly,
but the attach bolt remained intact and secure to the
shoulder restraint harness. The shoulder harness was
attached using a bolt, two washers, and an elastic stop
nut. A hole, similar to the size of the shoulder harness
attach bolt, was observed on the back of the seat, about
2-3/8 inch above the seat bottom. The aluminum structure
of the seat back was peeled away (outward and upward)
from the shoulder harness bolt hole, consistent with the
attach bolt being pulled through the metal structure.
There was no evidence of reinforcement surrounding the
shoulder harness bolt hole and the peeled away seatback
Examination of the recovered Kinner R-55 engine, serial
number 07450, revealed that it remained attached to the
airframe engine mount and was displaced downward at an
approximate 45-degree angle. The starter was separated
from the starter adapter, and the carburetor was
displaced from its mounts. Impact damage was observed on
the bottom side of the oil tank, and the outlet port was
damaged and pulled away at the fitting, which resulted
in a breach of the oil tank. When the engine was
attached to an engine hoist, residual oil was observed
draining from the oil tank outlet port. The oil shutoff
valve was found separated from the oil tank outlet
fitting and the associated oil line tubing. The oil
shutoff valve was found in the open position, and the
handle was bent, consistent with impact damage. When
actuated by hand, the oil shutoff valve actuated
normally between the open and closed positions. Several
fuel and oil lines were found impact damaged and
separated. The oil drain valve was intact and in the
The forward spark plugs on all five cylinders were
removed. Both the left and right magnetos were also
removed. The propeller was rotated by hand, and thumb
compression was obtained on cylinder Nos. 1, 2, 4, and
5. All intake and exhaust rocker arms for all cylinders
exhibited equal lift action. Damage to the No. 3
cylinder intake and exhaust push rod tubes resulted in a
decreased clearance for the intake and exhaust valve
rocker arms (0.004 inch and 0.002 inch, respectfully).
Both of the intake and exhaust valve rollers would not
rotate. The valve clearance adjustment nut was loosened,
which allowed for further movement of the intake and
exhaust valve rocker arms. The propeller was then
rotated by hand, and thumb compression was obtained on
the No. 3 cylinder. When the propeller was rotated, no
internal binding or friction was noted within the engine
and valve train.
The Holley 419 carburetor was found separated from its
mounts. The mounting flange and a portion of the
carburetor casing around the throttle valve/plate were
separated. All safety wire were intact and secure. The
carburetor was disassembled and examined. The fuel
screen was intact and free of debris. The float bowl was
free of debris and contained no residual fuel. The metal
float was intact and free of damage. Compressed air was
applied to the inlet port of the carburetor, and the
float and needle valve were actuated with no anomalies
noted. Solvent was poured into the float bowl and the
accelerator pump was actuated; fuel was observed
expelling from the nozzle. All internal components of
the carburetor appeared to be intact and undamaged.
The main metering jet cover was removed from the housing
at the bottom of the carburetor. The main metering jet
was found unscrewed from its seat and rotated laterally
about 90 degrees. The internal cap, main metering jet,
and seat appeared to be bright in color and polished.
Portions of the jet threads appeared to be rounded off.
No gasket was observed within the main metering jet
housing. In addition, no evidence of thread locking
compound was observed on the threads of the main
metering jet or the threads of the seat.
According to the 1943 Holley Aircraft Carburetors
Instruction Manual for Models 419 and 429, the actual
metering of the fuel is accomplished by the main
metering jet located in the passage between the
discharge nozzle and the float chamber. The metering
system provides a constant mixture ratio over the
cruising range of engine operating speeds.
review of the maintenance logbooks revealed that an
extensive restoration of the airplane and engine
overhaul was completed on May 21, 1998. At the time of
the accident, the airframe and engine had accumulated
approximately 169 hours since the restoration. An entry
stated that a new float and gasket were installed in the
carburetor during this time. The airplane was issued a
standard-normal airworthiness certificate on June 4,
1998. Review of the Holley Aircraft Carburetors
Instruction Manual for Models 419 and 429, revealed that
there were no pertinent instructions regarding the
installation or continued maintenance of the jet
assemblies. Further, no maintenance entries were located
in the engine logbook regarding carburetor inspections
since the overhaul.
For further details of the airframe and engine
examination, see the NTSB Airframe, Engine, and
Maintenance Records Examination Summary Report within
the public docket for this accident.
The postaccident examination of the airframe and engine
revealed no additional evidence of a mechanical
malfunction that would have precluded normal operation.