NTSB Identification: SEA01LA158.
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Accident occurred Monday, August 27, 2001 in Buckley, WA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/18/2002
Aircraft: Matey Hawker Hurricane, registration: N3941Q
Injuries: 1 Fatal.
NTSB investigators may have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
Several witnesses reported hearing the experimental, reduced scale World War II Hawker Hurricane's engine "sputtering," and a third witness reported hearing the same sound and then observing the aircraft crash at the north end of the 2,650 foot long, North/South oriented, grass airstrip. A fourth witness, located along the runway, reported hearing the aircraft having engine problems while the aircraft was approaching to land from south to north. He further reported that as the aircraft approached the runway, the engine quit and that the aircraft continued flying north until reaching the north end of the runway at which time the plane pulled up to "tree top level" appearing to attempt a turn back to the runway, and then fell back to the ground nose first. Post-crash examination of the aircraft's engine revealed no mechanical malfunction, and fuel was found in the aircraft's main tanks but the header tank was ruptured. A satellite photograph of the airstrip and surrounding area revealed approximately 1,500 feet of open field directly north of the crash site as confirmed by an FAA inspector at the site. Toxicological evaluation of blood samples from the pilot revealed Diphenhydramine, commonly known by the trade name "Benadryl," an antihistamine. The level of Diphenhydramine found in the pilot's blood was reported as being consistent with several times the normal dosage within an eight-hour period. In such doses, the medication commonly results in drowsiness, and has measurable effects on performance of complex cognitive and motor tasks.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: A loss of power for undetermined reasons, and the pilot's inflight decision to attempt a 180 degree turn back to the runway from low altitude and his failure to maintain sufficient flying airspeed during the turn. A contributing factor was drug impairment of the pilot as a result of higher than normal levels of Benedryl, an antihistamine which affects the ability to perform complex cognitive and motor tasks. Full narrative available
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