LAX95LA087
LAX95LA087

On January 23, 1995, around 1630 mountain standard time, a Stevens S-8, N66191, owned and operated by the pilot, descended into desert terrain about 6 miles northeast of the Avra Valley (uncontrolled) Airport, near Tucson, Arizona. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the personal flight, and no flight plan was filed. The airplane was destroyed during the impact sequence and postimpact ground fire. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. The flight originated from Avra Valley on the day of the accident around 1530.

According to personnel at the airport, prior to taking off the pilot purchased 10 gallons of fuel. The pilot was overheard to say that he planned to perform touch-and-go landings at the airport, and also, unspecified maneuvers in the local area. Thereafter, he planned to return to the airport in time to meet with a family member around 1645 or 1700.

The pilot was observed carrying a parachute with him on the accident flight. The airplane was not equipped with an emergency locator transmitter (ELT). No witnesses were located that indicated having observed the airplane flying in the vicinity of the accident site and/or collide with the rough desert terrain.

The wreckage was found on January 27, 1995. Responding sheriff personnel reported finding the airplane in a nose-down pitch attitude at the base of a hill and adjacent to a wash bed. The nose-down attitude was estimated at an angle of at least 45 degrees. The sheriff personnel further reported finding evidence of a postimpact ground fire which consumed most of the airplane structure, including the cockpit. However, all of the airplane's flight control surfaces were accounted for in the vicinity of the main impact crater.

Under the direction of the National Transportation Safety Board, the airplane was examined on-scene by personnel from Tucson Aeroservice Center, Inc. In pertinent part, the examination report revealed that the terrain and vegetation surrounding the accident site and impact crater did not present evidence of having been impacted by the airplane. The engine was found in an estimated 70-degree nose-down attitude. The propeller was found attached to the crankshaft flange, and was about 18 inches below ground level. The examination of the airplane's flight control system revealed that the control stick and torque-tubes in the cockpit area were destroyed by a postimpact fire. In other areas of the airplane, all steel push-pull tubes, idler arms, and hinge points appeared intact with secure hardware connections. The empennage sections that remained intact had secure control connections, and the flight control surfaces moved freely. All wing panels and flight control groups including the ailerons, elevators, and the rudder, were found at the impact site. No evidence was reported of any preimpact malfunctions in the examined airframe or powerplant system.

Regarding the pilot's recent flying experience in the accident airplane, the pilot had flown his airplane on several occasions since having purchased it a few weeks prior to the accident. In total, the pilot had logged about 13 hours of flight time in the airplane.

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