The firm has been retained by the surviving, but seriously injured husband of a woman who was tragically killed on January 18, 2011, when a 2004 Cessna 172S, N2100V, crashed into their recreational vehicle while they were having lunch together. Examination of the RV revealed that the airplane impacted the roof of the trailer, penetrated the interior, and then traveled out the front. According to preliminary voice and radar data provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the pilot was practicing instrument approaches and decided not to land, but instead attempted a missed or low approach at Grand Strand Airport (CRE), North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. On the missed approach the aircraft reportedly struck a tree leading to the crash.
No flight plan was filed and the weather was marginal with very low overcast cloud ceilings at or below 600 feet with limited visibility due to mist in the area.
The NTSB's examination of the wreckage revealed no evidence of any pre-impact failure or malfunction of the airplane's structural components, engine, propellers or flight controls. According to the NTSB on-site investigation, the flight and trim control cables, runs, and associated hardware did not reveal any evidence of a preexisting jam and control continuity was established for all flight controls to the breaks in the cables, which exhibited evidence of tensile overload.
Examination of the flight instruments revealed that the attitude indicator displayed a 30 degree nose down, wings level attitude. Internal examination of the instrument revealed evidence of rotational scoring. The directional gyro displayed a heading of 360 degrees and the heading bug indicated 235 degrees. The altimeter was missing its indicator needles and the Kollsman window displayed an altimeter setting of 29.86 inches of mercury.
According to FAA and airplane maintenance records, the accident airplane was manufactured in 2004. The airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on December 1, 2010. At the time of the inspection, the airplane had accumulated 1,485.8 total hours of operation.
According to FAA records, the pilot held a private pilot certificate with a single engine airplane and instrument ratings. According to his pilot logbook, he had only accrued 388 total hours of flight experience with just 21 hours of actual instrument flight experience.
Kreindler's preliminary investigation suggests that this is another tragic and unfortunate case of pilot error, perhaps due to a loss of situational awareness during the missed approach, or a lack of instrument flight experience or possibly spatial disorientation. A contributing factor was clearly the deteriorating weather conditions near the airfield. The family is being represented by Kreindler partners Brian Alexander, Anthony Tarricone and senior attorney Joe Mussachio.