MIA94LA121
MIA94LA121

On April 15, 1994, about 0939 eastern daylight time, a Tundra, airplane, CIEEU, registered to Toronto Aerosport Inc., Baldwin, Ontario, operating as a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, experienced an in-flight collision with tomato crates while descending. The airplane was destroyed. The Canadian private pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The flight originated from the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport, about 2 minutes before the accident.

A witness took off from the ultralight grass strip in his experimental airplane behind the accident airplane. The witness stated the airplane climbed to 300 feet agl, leveled off at about 75 to 80 IAS, turned crosswind, downwind, and departed the traffic pattern. About 2 to 3 seconds after the airplane departed the traffic pattern, the left wing dropped down about 30 degrees and the nose pitched down about 30 degrees. The airplane descended in a left spiral until colliding with obstructions on the ground. The airplane appeared to gain airspeed in the descent and there was no visual indication of a decrease in propeller rpm or engine failure.

The airplane wreckage was located about 1/2 mile south of Medulla Road in a field south of the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport, Lakeland, Florida.

Examination of the crash site revealed the airplane collided with tomato crates in a left wing low, nose-down attitude about 5 feet above the ground. The airplane rotated around the vertical axis to the right, the right wing collided with tomato crates, and the airplane came to rest on its left side on a heading of 330 degrees magnetic. The left wing was crushed and pushed aft. The right wing was accelerated forward and compressed aft. the fuel tank was ruptured and separated from the airplane. Fuel was present in the fuel tank. The propeller was attached to the propeller flange. The propeller blades were separated outboard of the propeller hub, and chordwise scarring was present. The left main landing gear and nose wheel was separated. The forward cockpit separated and rotated around the vertical axis to the right.

Examination of the airframe, and flight controls revealed no evidence of a precrash failure or malfunction. Continuity of the flight controls was confirmed for pitch, roll, and yaw.

Examination of the engine assembly and accessories was conducted by an airframe and powerplant mechanic in the presence of an FAA inspector. There was no evidence of a precrash failure or malfunction.

Postmortem examination of the pilot, David W. Francis, was conducted by Dr. Alexander M. Melamud, Associate Medical Examiner, District Ten, Bartow, Florida, on April 15, 1994. The decedent died of multiple injuries, and the manner of death is classified as accidental. Pathological changes noted at the autopsy were atherosclerosis of the aorta with calcifications; mild to moderate atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries. The lumen of the left anterior descending coronary artery 7 cm from the orifice is narrowed up to 65 percent. The lumen of the right coronary artery on the back is narrowed up to 65 percent, and thickening of the intraventricular septum. Postmortem toxicology of specimens from the pilot was forwarded to the Forensic Toxicology Research Section, Federal Aviation Administration, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. These studies were negative for neutral, acidic, and basic drugs.

The NTSB investigator-in-charge requested Dr. Charles A. Dejohn, FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute, Aircraft Accident Research Section, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, conduct further analysis of the deceased airmans aeromedical history, and postmortem examination. Postmortem slides were obtained by Dr. Dejohn, from Dr. Melamud, and forwarded to Dr. Bryce O. Bliss, a board certified pathologist for Clinical Biopathy Laboratories, Incorporated for analysis.

Dr. Bliss concluded in the autopsy consultation that some of the intramyocardial small vessels show moderate to severe atherosclerosis. Sections of the coronary vessel show moderate to severe atherosclerosis with between 65 and 75 percent of the lumens of the vessels narrowed.

Dr. B. Haskell, Regional Aviation Medical Officer, Ontario, Region also consulted with Dr. Melamud, and reviewed the aeromedical file of the deceased pilot. Dr. Haskel concluded the deceased pilot had severe atherosclerosis of the aorta, and had some degree of coronary artery disease. The finding of no scars in the myocardium suggested that the pilot did not have a previous heart attack, but it does not rule out an incapacitation due to the sudden onset of a heart attack or heart irregularity. Neither of these conditions, if they result in death within minutes, can necessarily be found at autopsy. Likewise the absence of previous strokes seen on gross examination of the brain does not rule out incapacitation due to stroke.

Dr. Dejohn concluded, after reviewing Dr. Melamud's autopsy protocol and Dr. Haskell's accident report, I find that I concur with Dr. Haskell's interpretation of the facts. Dr. Bliss' consultation report increases my confidence that this impression is correct.

An NTSB Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1/2) was sent certified mail to the registered owner on April 19, 1994. No written or verbal response was received. A copy of the original letter and a copy of the 6120.1/2 was faxed to the registered owner on August 4, 1994. A partially transmitted 6120.1/2 was received. Numerous phone calls requesting the 6120.1/2 to be retransmitted and an additional fax requesting the same, resulted in negative response from the registered owner.

The airplane wreckage was released to Mr. Gerald D. Houghton, Convention Director, Sun and Fun, Lakeland, Florida, on April 15, 1994. The airplane engine was released to Mr. Jerrell E. Wilkey, FAA North Florida Flight Standards District Office, Orlando, Florida, on April 15, 1994.

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