NTSB Identification: FTW97FA099.
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Accident occurred Monday, February 03, 1997 in MORIARTY, NM
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/10/1998
Aircraft: Aeronca 65-TC, registration: N31794
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

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.

The airplane was observed beginning the takeoff roll on runway 26 (elevation 6,201 ft, density altitude 7,000 ft) with winds from the WNW at 10 knots gusting to 25 knots with moderate turbulence. The next morning, an instructor spotted the accident site 1/2 mile south of the airport. The airplane came to rest in a nose low attitude with the empennage folded and twisted to the right. No preimpact discrepancies were found that would have precluded engine and propeller operation. The elevator bellcrank was partially fractured and the elevator was jammed in the full down position. NTSB Metallurgists reported that the bellcrank showed only signs of overstress and no signs of fatigue. The pilot had 4.5 hrs in this make and model. The pilot's toxicological findings were: 0.293 ug/ml Fluoxetine (prescription antidepressant) and 0.333 ug/ml Norfluoxetine (Fluoxetine metabolite) in blood, Nordiazepam in blood and urine, and Oxazepam and Temazepam in urine. Nordiazepam, Oxazepam and Temazepam are metabolites of Diazepam (Valium). None of the drugs are approved by the FAA for use while flying.

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

The pilot's failure to maitain airspeed resulting in an inadvertent stall/spin. Factors were gusty winds, turbulence, a high density altitude, and the pilot's lack of total experience in the make and model of aircraft.

Full narrative available

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