NTSB Identification: ERA12FA057
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Tuesday, November 01, 2011 in Taylorsville, GA
Probable Cause Approval Date: 11/07/2012
Aircraft: ECKENRODE CARL J VANS RV-6, registration: N262MA
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.

The 70-year-old pilot and owner of the amateur-built airplane was conducting a cross-country flight in visual meteorological conditions. The airplane was at an altitude of 6,500 feet when the pilot contacted an en route air traffic control facility. The pilot was provided an altimeter setting and was instructed to remain clear of nearby Class B airspace, which he acknowledged. There were no further communications from the pilot. During the next 8 minutes, the airplane's altitude fluctuated, increasing about 500 feet, before the airplane turned to the right and entered a steep descent. The airplane impacted a field in an almost straight nose down attitude and was highly fragmented. Examination of the wreckage did not reveal any preimpact mechanical malfunctions. The airplane had been operated for about 50 hours since its most recent condition inspection, which was performed about 10 months before the accident.

The nature of the airplane's departure from controlled flight was consistent with the pilot becoming incapacitated. However, the pilot's son described the pilot as very active and said that he was not aware of the pilot experiencing any health issues. The pilot's health was described as "fine" by his primary care physician during an examination about 6 months before the accident. During the pilot's most recent Federal Aviation Administration medical examination about 7 months before the accident, the pilot reported a history of hypertension, which was previously reported and "well controlled" by three prescription medications that he had previously reported. The injuries sustained by the pilot precluded a determination of whether natural disease caused or contributed to the accident and death.

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

The airplane's entry into an uncontrolled descent for reasons that could not be determined because postaccident examination of the airplane and the pilot’s medical history did not reveal any anomalies that would have precluded normal operation.

Full narrative available

Index for Nov2011 | Index of months