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. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
On June 28, 2015, at 1745 eastern daylight time, a Beech A36, registration N5626D, was destroyed when it impacted a residence and terrain following a total loss of engine power near Plainville, Massachusetts. The commercial pilot and two passengers were fatally injured, and the airplane was consumed by post-crash fire. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed for the flight, which originated at Lancaster Airport (LNS), Lancaster, Pennsylvania about 1612, and was destined for Norwood Memorial Airport (OWD), Norwood, Massachusetts. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.
Review of preliminary radar and voice communication data from the Federal Aviation Administration revealed that the flight was preparing to conduct an instrument approach procedure for landing at OWD. The flight was about 15 miles from OWD at an altitude of 3,300 feet mean sea level when the pilot declared an emergency to air traffic control, stating that the airplane was experiencing an "engine problem." The pilot queried the controller about the nearest airport, and was given radar vectors. About 30 seconds later, the pilot advised that he was unable to maintain altitude, and subsequently stated, "we got a real bad vibration we're losing engine." The controller advised that there was a highway to the right of the airplane's position and about 2.5 miles away, to which the pilot responded, "we have no engine we're [in instrument meteorological conditions] I need help." The controller provided vectors toward the highway, which the pilot acknowledged. Shortly thereafter, the pilot stated, "we're gliding." At this time, radar data showed the airplane at an altitude about 1,450 feet. The last recorded radar return, about 40 seconds later, showed the airplane in a right hand turn at an altitude of about 700 feet and groundspeed of 66 knots, about 1/10 mile from the accident site.
Several witnesses reported hearing an airplane engine making noise and then stopping or going silent. They could not see the airplane due to the low cloud ceiling. One witness, who was located across the street from the accident site, described first hearing a "low moan buzzing sound" and when he looked up, observed the airplane over the trees at the rear of his property with its wings wagging back and forth. As it passed over his house, it was "wobbling" in a straight line. He then lost sight of it, and heard a "boom" seconds later. Another witness located adjacent to the accident scene described hearing what sounded like "a broken fan" before the airplane impacted the house.
The airplane impacted the corner of the roof and the backyard deck of a residence, and came to rest upright, parallel to and about 15 feet from the rear wall of the home, oriented on heading of 320 degrees. The airplane and much of the residence were consumed by post-crash fire.
Flight control continuity was established from the flight control surfaces to the cockpit area; the left rudder cable and the left aileron cable turnbuckle exhibited overload fractures. The right flap actuator was consistent with the right wing flap in the retracted position. The left flap actuator was consumed by fire. The landing gear and actuators were found in the extended position. First responders reported detecting a strong odor of fuel when they arrived on scene.
Preliminary examination of the engine revealed that the crankcase was breached over the #6 cylinder barrel. Two additional puncture holes were found in line with the #1 cylinder connecting rod, located between the left and right magnetos. The oil sump was fractured and partially melted away. Fragments consistent with bearing material, connecting rods, lifters and crankcase material were found in the oil sump and outside the engine crankcase. The engine was retained for further examination at a later date.
The 1735 recorded weather observation at KSFZ (8 miles southwest of the accident site) included: wind from 010 degrees at 9 knots; overcast sky at 800 feet above ground level; visibility 10 miles; temperature 14 degrees C; dew point 11 degrees C, and an altimeter setting of 29.70 inches of mercury.