NTSB Identification: ERA10LA206
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, April 04, 2010 in Ghent, NY
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/19/2011
Aircraft: CENTER CHARLES C X-5, registration: N25761
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.

Following two uneventful flights, the pilot and passenger took off; witnesses described a takeoff and initial climb sequence that was consistent with a loss of lift due to an aerodynamic stall before the airplane impacted the ground in a nose-down attitude and caught fire. The witnesses also described smooth and continuous engine operation to ground impact. No evidence of any preimpact mechanical malfunctions or failures were discovered during a postaccident examination of the wreckage.

Postmortem toxicological testing of the pilot was positive for ethanol, a prescription opioid narcotic known to impair the mental and/or physical abilities required for the performance of hazardous tasks, and a prescription antidepressant. While some of the ethanol detected in the testing may have been produced postmortem, the measured serotonin metabolite ratio implied alcohol consumption by the pilot in the 16 hours prior to the accident flight. Given the pilot's long-term, chronic narcotic use, he may have developed some tolerance to the sedating, mental, and physical effects associated with the detected quantity of the drug. Although the investigation was unable to determine the degree of the pilot’s impairment, since the concentrations of the prescription opioid narcotic detected were well above a normal therapeutic range, it is likely that the pilot was impaired.

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

The pilot's failure to maintain adequate airspeed during the initial climb, resulting in an aerodynamic stall. Contributing to the accident was the pilot's impairment.

Full narrative available

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