NTSB Identification: LAX06FA243.
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Accident occurred Sunday, July 23, 2006 in Bullhead City, AZ
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/29/2007
Aircraft: Raytheon Aircraft Company G36, registration: N241JL
Injuries: 2 Fatal,1 Serious.
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 collided with a dirt berm during an aborted landing. A bartender reported that about 5.5 hours prior to the accident, she served the pilot four alcoholic beverages, though he never appeared to be intoxicated. The pilot and the two passengers left the bar together about 1 to 2 hours prior to the accident, and a designated driver transported them to the airport. According to the designated driver, the pilot did not appear to be intoxicated. A witness observed the airplane taxi past his hangar to the active runway and takeoff. He reported that the airplane made erratic s-turns up the taxiway and also climbed out in an erratic manner. According to the surviving passenger, who was in the front-right seat, after a 25-minute flight, the pilot made an approach to the airport and touched down over halfway down the runway. The airplane landed hard and bounced back airborne, continuing down the runway about 2 to 3 feet above ground level (agl). After reaching the end of the runway, the airplane touched back down on the surface. The pilot attempted to abort the landing, but the airplane continued into the brush and impacted a dirt berm. Post accident examinations of the airframe and engine revealed no evidence of mechanical malfunctions or failures. The FAA toxicological tests on the pilot's specimens found that the post-mortem blood ethanol level was 0.365 percent, with a post-mortem urine ethanol level at 0.357 percent. Although there was evidence of putrefaction, careful analysis established that most of the ethanol found in the specimens was a result of ingestion, and at the time of the accident, the pilot's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was at or above 0.30 percent. On his FAA application for a medical certificate, the pilot reported one Driving Under the Influence (DUI) conviction, which occurred over 5 years prior to the accident (2 years prior to submitting the application); the FAA medical records contained no details of that DUI, but review of the arrest records noted that the pilot's BAC was 0.28 percent during that arrest. Review of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) records indicated that the pilot actually had three additional convictions for drug and/or alcohol related offenses, including another DUI about 12 years prior to the accident. The FAA specifically disqualifies pilot applicants with a history or clinical diagnosis of substance dependence, which is defined in 14 CFR 67.107, 67.207, and 67.307 as "evidenced by (A) increased tolerance, (B) manifestation of withdrawal symptoms, (C) impaired control of use, or (D) continued use despite damage to physical health or impairment of social, personal, or occupational functioning." The FAA additionally requires that airmen report any convictions involving driving while intoxicated or while under the influence of alcohol or a drug, and performs a National Driver Register (NDR) inquiry for each medical application to verify that all such convictions are in fact reported. Because of individual state variances on the length of time convictions stay on record, and periodic purges of convictions by States from the NDR, the data in the NDR may not show all convictions for a specific individual. The only national database that retains all convictions is the FBI's records. The FAA only references FBI records for an applicant in the rare instance when credible information suggests that multiple unreported convictions may exist. A senior legal attorney for the FAA reported that the agency does not have legal authority to routinely access FBI criminal records.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot's misjudged distance and speed that led to a long landing, and his inadequate recovery from a bounced landing, all due to the effects of impairment from alcohol consumption, which resulted in an in-flight collision with terrain during an aborted landing attempt. A contributing factor was the Federal Aviation Administration's failure to identify existing evidence of substance (alcohol) dependence in the pilot due to an inadequate and incomplete process of screening medical applications. Full narrative available
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