NTSB Identification: LAX02LA085.
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Accident occurred Tuesday, February 12, 2002 in Minden, NV
Probable Cause Approval Date: 08/26/2003
Aircraft: Ellenberger/Werner Glasair I TD, registration: N777WE
Injuries: 2 Fatal.
NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.
The amateur-built airplane impacted the ground in a pasture at a steep flight path angle. Prior to departure the pilot told the operator that his intent was to practice stall maneuvers. When he did not return that evening, an Alert Notice (ALNOT) was issued. The owner of the property where the accident occurred saw an unidentified object in his pasture the following morning, however he had other pressing business and didn't return to identify the wreckage until the afternoon of that day. The accident site was in an open pasture, and the entire airplane was present in the immediate area of the wreckage with no appreciable wreckage distribution. There was no fire. The forward 1/2 of the engine was buried in the soil at a 30- to 45-degree angle. The composite airframe was extensively fractured; however, flight control continuity was established to the cockpit. The left and right wing leading edges exhibited crushing damage aft to the wing spar and there was an impact mark on the surface of the dirt immediately in front of the wing of size and shape consistent with the leading edge shape and span. There were no trees or electrical power transmission lines in the proximity. A toxicological analysis of the pilot reported finding the drug paroxetine. According to the internet website "mentalhealth.com", paroxetine is a prescription antidepressant. The concentration reported in the pilot's blood was 0.279 ug/mL. The FAA's 1999 Guide for Aviation Medical Examiners notes "the use of a psychotropic drug is considered disqualifying. This includes all sedatives, tranquilizers, antipsychotic drugs, antidepressant drugs (including SSRI's), analeptics, anxiolytics, and hallucinogens."
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: the pilot's failure to maintain control of the airplane resulting in the airplane entering a flat spin from which the pilot did not recover. Full narrative available
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