NTSB Identification: NYC97LA037.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, December 24, 1996 in TRENTON, ME
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/30/1998
Aircraft: Richardson KITFOX 4, registration: N922VR
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Minor.

NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

Several witnesses stated that during the initial climb after takeoff, the aircraft (acft) appeared to be having 'difficulty' maintaining altitude. They stated the acft entered a right turn, 'stalled,' and descended nose first into the terrain. The passenger reported that during the right turn, the acft encountered a gust of wind, rolled on its side, and descended in a 'nosedive' to the ground. He stated that the engine was running and the propeller was turning '...throughout the entire flight and nosedive.' Examination of the acft did not reveal evidence of a mechanical malfunction. The estimated weight of the acft was 1075 lbs. The maximum allowable gross weight was 1050 lbs. A toxicology test of the pilot's blood showed 0.153 mcg/ml phentermine and 0.03 mcg/ml fenfluramine, 5.7 mcg/ml phenytoin, and an undetermined amount of verapamil, norverapamil, and lidocaine. A test of his urine showed 2.4 mcg/ml phentermine, 0.587 mcg/ml fenfluramine, 3.2 mcg/ml phenytoin, 0.287 morphine, and an undetermined amount of verapamil and norverapamil. Phentermine and fenfluramine are prescription diet pills that are not approved for use while flying. Verapamil is a medication used for the control of hypertension, and can be approved for use while flying. Phentermine, fenfluramine, and verapamil were prescribed to the pilot; levels found in testing were consistent with dosages prescribed by his physician. Phenytoin, lidocaine, and morphine were administered to the pilot after the crash.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

failure of the pilot to maintain adequate airspeed while maneuvering after takeoff, which resulted in a stall/spin and an uncontrolled descent into terrain. The airplane's excessive gross weight was a related factor.

Full narrative available

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