NTSB Identification: FTW02LA129

Accident occurred Sunday, March 24, 2002 at Borger, TX
Aircraft: Beech F35, registration: N4257B
Injuries: 1 Uninjured.

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 March 24, 2002, approximately 1930 central standard time, a Beech F35 single-engine airplane, N4257B, was substantially damaged during an encounter with turbulence while in cruise flight near Amarillo, Texas. The instrument-rated private pilot, who was the registered owner and operator of the airplane, was not injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The flight departed Clovis, New Mexico, approximately 1830, and was destined for Borger, Texas.

The pilot reported that while in level cruise flight at 140 knots indicated airspeed, at an altitude of 5,500 feet msl., the airplane encountered "clear air turbulence." The aircraft attitude "was suddenly thrust nose high and vertical." The pilot, "without difficulty," recovered the airplane and continued the flight to his intended destination. While tying down the airplane on the ramp in Borger, the pilot noticed damage to the empennage section.

The NTSB was notified of the damage to the airplane on April 23, 2002.

An airframe and powerplant mechanic reported that the aft fuselage skin was wrinkled between fuselage stations 233.0 and 256.9.