NTSB Identification: ERA13FA071
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Saturday, December 01, 2012 in Pahokee, FL
Aircraft: GREEN GARY E THORP T-18, registration: N118GG
Injuries: 1 Fatal.
This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. 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.
On December 1, 2012, about 1318 eastern standard time, an experimental amateur built Thorp T-18, N118GG, registered to and operated by the pilot, was substantially damaged when it broke up in flight over Pahokee, Florida. The personal flight was conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The airline transport pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The flight departed Pompano Beach Airpark (PMP), Pompano Beach, Florida at 1259.
According to family members, the flight was enroute to Lakeland Linder Regional Airport (LAL), Lakeland, Florida. The pilot was overdue on his arrival and an alert and rescue (ALNOT) was initiated. During the search, an emergency distress signal was received, and the local authorities located the airplane the following day at 0610.
According to preliminary information obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration, the airplane was in cruise flight for approximately 19 minutes. The pilot was not in contact with the air traffic control during the flight. A review of the radar data revealed that about one minute prior to going off radar the airplane was at a cruise altitude of 8,300 feet. Then, the airplane was observed descending to an altitude of 7,200 feet before radar contact was lost.
The airplane impacted a sugarcane field about two miles southeast of Palm Beach County Glades Airport (PHK), Pahokee Florida. The fuselage of the airplane came to rest inverted, in a flat attitude, on a course of 315 degrees. The propeller, engine, instrument panel, main landing gear, and left and right outboard wings were separated from the fuselage and have not been located at this time.
Examination of the fuselage revealed that the flight control stick was connected to the aileron and elevator control tubes. The rudder and tail wheel control cables were connected at the rudder and tail wheel attachment point. The rudder pedals were not located and the cables showed signs of overstress failure. The fuselage and empennage were buckled. Examination of the wings revealed that the left and right wings were separated at the spar attachment joint. The vertical stabilizer was partially separated from the empennage. The wreckage was removed from the field for further examination.
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