NTSB Identification: CEN09FA243
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, April 11, 2009 in Sandwich, IL
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/09/2009
Aircraft: Engineering and Research 415C, registration: N87384
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.

Numerous witnesses reported that the airplane was flying at a very low altitude just above tree top level as it flew over a small lake and golf course on an easterly heading. The witnesses reported that the engine was sputtering and not operating normally. The airplane hit the tops of some hardwood trees located at the eastern edge of the golf course. The airplane impacted a field in a steep nose down attitude and immediately burst into flames. The inspection of the airframe revealed no preexisting anomalies. The engine inspection revealed drive train continuity and compression on all cylinders. The accessories could not be tested due to impact forces and the post impact fire that consumed much of the engine accessories and airframe. Numerous hardwood tree branches were found at the impact site. Several open fields were located along the flight path that offered suitable landing sites for a forced landing, and that were closer than the field where the airplane was found. Toxicology results were consistent with use of Bupropion, a prescription antidepressant also used for smoking cessation. The medication does not impair flying performance, and though there is an increased risk of seizures with the medication, the circumstances of the accident were not consistent with a seizure event.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The pilot's failure to execute an immediate forced landing to a suitable field and the engine's partial loss of power for an undetermined reason.

Full narrative available

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