NTSB Identification: ERA11FA426
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, July 28, 2011 in Winterville, NC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 04/10/2013
Aircraft: TAYLORCRAFT BL-65, registration: N24369
Injuries: 1 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.

After a local flight, the vintage airplane was approaching the pilot's home airport on a very hot day (36 degrees C [97 degrees F]), and the cockpit was most likely hot as well. As the airplane approached perpendicular to the runway, it maintained a nose-down, left bank attitude, consistent with no further control inputs from the pilot. The airplane impacted the left side of runway, approximately one-third down the runway, pivoted 180 degrees, and came to rest about 20 feet from the initial impact point. Examination of the airframe and engine did not reveal evidence of any preimpact mechanical malfunctions. Although the autopsy report listed the cause of death as multiple injuries related to the crash, it also noted significant coronary artery disease and a tiny scar of the papillary muscle. Both suggested the possibility of a cardiac arrhythmia or heart attack that may have resulted in incapacitation. Additionally, the pilot's medical history revealed a vasovagal (fainting) episode due to nausea and vomiting about 2 years prior to the accident. Neither a vasovagal episode nor cardiac arrhythmia would have left any evidence for discovery during autopsy. As such, pilot incapacitation is possible in this accident because of the lack of control inputs as the airplane approached the runway.

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

A loss of airplane control for undetermined reasons as the autopsy was unable to reveal any definitive conditions that would have led to the loss of control.

Full narrative available

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