NTSB Identification: DFW06FA184.
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Accident occurred Monday, July 17, 2006 in Walnut Ridge, AR
Probable Cause Approval Date: 01/31/2007
Aircraft: Piper J3, registration: N6732H
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 199-hour private pilot lost control of the airplane while maneuvering at low altitude. The local flight originated from the pilot's private airstrip. There no eyewitnesses to the accident; however, several people in the area reported observing the vintage airplane flying slowly, overhead at a low altitude several minutes prior to the accident. A post-impact fire consumed much of the tube and fabric airplane. A witness, who was working in the field, stated, "[the plane's] airspeed was probably 50 miles per hour, maximum, and [at an] altitude of 25 to 50 feet. They waved at us and kept on [flying] south." An inspection of the airplane found all major components at the accident site, and the fuel lever in the "on" position. Control continuity to all flight controls was established. The engine had sustained heat and impact damage. The propeller remained bolted to the prop flange; the flange was bent, resulting in an angle between the crankshaft and propeller. The left and right magnetos were removed and spun by hand; both magnetos would not produce a spark. However, both magnetos were heat/fire damaged. The engine was rotated by hand, thumb compression was obtained on each cylinder and continuity was established through the motor to the accessory section. Each of the engine's bottom sparkplugs were removed and examined. The sparkplugs were dark gray in color and found to be worn. No pre-impact abnormalities with the engine, cylinder assemblies or engine components were found. Toxicological testing detected tetrahydrocannabinol (THC - the primary active substance in marijuana) and tetrahydrocannabinol carboxylic acid (an inactive metabolite of THC) in the pilot’s blood at levels consistent with very recent use.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's failure to maintain airspeed and the subsequent stall. Contributing factors were the low altitude and impairment due to drugs. Full narrative available
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