FTW95LA044
FTW95LA044

On November 12, 1994, at 1850 central standard time, a Pezetel 106A, Venezuelan registration YV618A, was destroyed while ditching in the Gulf of Mexico, approximately 350 miles south of Mobile, Alabama. The airline transport rated pilot, sole occupant to the airplane, was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the ferry flight. No weather briefing was received nor flight plan filed for the flight.

The airplane departed Souther Field (ACJ), near Americus, Georgia, at approximately 1100 CST, on the first leg of a ferry flight to the Miami-Opa Locka Airport (OPF), near Miami, Florida. The polish built agricultural application airplane, was imported to the United States from Germany. Because the airplane was not FAA certified, it was issued a temporary Venezuelan registration prior to departing Americus, on the first leg of the ferry flight. The pilot did not hold an United States, Department of Transportation, Airmans Certificate or Medical Certificate and it could not be established his total flight experience or if he had any medical limitations.

Flight instruments aboard the airplane were limited to an attitude indicator, a magnetic compass, and an airspeed indicator. There were no communications or navigation radios installed in the airplane. The pilot was reported to have a battery powered hand held VHF transmitter in his possession. No personal flotation equipment or raft was available to the pilot.

The final destination of the flight was Caracas, Venezuela. A factory approved ferry kit was installed to extend the fuel range of the airplane to ten hours. The additional fuel was carried in the 370 gallon hopper.

According to a representative of the United States Coast Guard (USCG), the airplane circled the Liberian registered vessel "Forest King" for approximately 10 minutes with an intermittent rough running engine, until the airplane ditched in the 8 to 10 foot sea. The vessel was not able to rescue the pilot or recover the wreckage.

The USCG cutter "Dependable" recovered the pilot's body and some wreckage at 1143 the next morning. The weather in the Gulf of Mexico was influenced by tropical storm "Gordon" centered in the vicinity of Key West, Florida.

Requests made to the Liberian vessel via FAX for witness statements from crewmembers that witnessed the airplane ditching in the water were not answered.

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