On December 4, 1994, at 1210 eastern standard time, a Kitfox III, N345WM, built and operated by William S. McGlumphy, of St. Clairsville, Ohio, struck the ground after takeoff from Tappan Airpark Airport, Cadiz, Ohio. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was destroyed. There was a fire. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed for the flight which operated under 14 CFR Part 91. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
One witness stated:
Bill [McGlumphy] taxied out ahead of me from the hanger area. I heard his r.p.m. cycle as if checking the mags. The engine was running smoothly. I began my start-up and did not notice him actually take the runway other than taxiing by me...I taxied to the runway and "s" turned left to check the view of the runway, as I looked left I saw Bill's plane descending vertically in a very nose down attitude with no significant forward motion. The plane impacted nose first, bounced a few feet and began to burn from the engine area. Flame engulfed the entire plane in seconds.
Another witnesses stated:
...The plane started to take off, everything appeared normal. The plane started to climb out normally. Then I saw the left wing drop, and the plane went behind the hanger, and I couldn't see the plane anymore, but I heard the crash....
The witness estimated the altitude where the wing dipped as 150 to 200 feet above the ground.
According to the Ohio State Police report, the airplane impacted the ground 540 feet from the beginning of the takeoff roll and 187 feet left of the left edge of the runway.
According to a letter from Mr. Jim Davidson, Principal Maintenance Inspector, Cleveland Flight Standards District Office:
...all flight control rod ends were intact, reflecting flight control integrity...The airport sits in a valley. A hill approximately 200 feet to 250 feet runs parallel to the runway on the south side. Witnesses stated that other aircraft departing the airport that day appeared to contact turbulence when they reached the top of the Hill. Mr. McGlumphy's son is also a pilot who flies in and out of the airport and stated crosswinds and wind shear conditions were not unusual.
According to a letter from SkyStar Aircraft Corporation, the maker of the Kitfox:
...The stall characteristics of the Kitfox Model III are gentle and predictable, but offer little warning...It is quite possible for an experienced pilot to fly a Kitfox Model III on the "ragged edge" of a departure stall, indicating 35 to 40 MPH and not sense an impending loss of control.
The pilot's log book was not recovered, however, according to FAA records, the pilot possessed an Airline Transport Pilot Certificate, and had in excess of 4000 hours with 16 hours in the accident airplane. He had taken a physical on May 17, 1994, however, due to a recent liver transplant operation, the physical was not approved for use by the FAA in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
An autopsy was conducted by Dr. Robert C. Challener, medical examiner for Harrison County, Ohio, on December 6, 1994. A toxicological exam by the State of Ohio, was negative for drugs and alcohol.