NTSB Identification: MIA03FA046.
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Accident occurred Sunday, January 26, 2003 in Fernandina Bch, FL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 07/07/2005
Aircraft: Cessna M337B (O-2A), registration: N52513
Injuries: 4 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 7 miles off shore when it collided in a steep angle with water during an aerial survey of whales. The survey was to be done in accordance with a grid pattern, at an altitude of 1000 feet. Once whales were spotted, the flight would descend to 500 to 750 feet, with flaps extended to 10 to 20 degrees, and right turns using a 45-degree bank would be conducted. According to recorded radar data, the flight departed from the grid pattern and did right circling turns in a one mile radius at 1000 feet. The flight descended and leveled at 800 feet before descending to 500 feet with a ground speed of 61 knots last recorded. Toxicological testing on the pilot revealed: 0.008 ug/ml dextromethorphan detected in blood, dextromethorphan present in urine, ephedrine detected in blood and urine, phenylpropanolamine detected in urine, pseudoephedrine detected in blood and urine. The presence of these drugs indicated the pilot likely used at least one medication for upper respiratory symptoms and one herbal supplement (possibly ephedra) within the 24 hours preceding the accident; however, the pilot was probably not impaired by these substances.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's failure to maintain airspeed while maneuvering at low altitude, which resulted in an inadvertent stall and subsequent collision with the ocean. Full narrative available
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