On February 1, 1995, about 0720 eastern standard time, a Brandt Rutan Longeze, homebuilt airplane, N103JB, collided with an embankment following a ground run on runway 9, McCollum Field, Marietta, Georgia. The airplane was operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91, and visual flight rules. A flight plan was not filed for the personal flight. The commercial pilot and his passenger were fatally injured, and the airplane was destroyed by impact forces and post impact fire. The flight was originating at the time of the accident. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
There was a heavy frost on the morning of the accident, and a witness observed frost on the airplane as it taxied to the runway. Another witness observed that an undetermined quantity of fuel was added to the airplane from a self service pump. Witnesses observed the airplane taxi onto the approach end of runway 9 and commence what appeared to be a takeoff roll. About 2,000 to 3,000 feet down the 5,105 foot long runway, the nose rotated and the airplane became airborne about five feet. It touched down on the runway, then rotated and became airborne a second time. Witness marks, consistent with the Longeze's landing gear, that were found in the grass overrun, began 219 feet from the end of the runway threshold. A piece of composite material was found at the beginning of the ground witness marks. The witness marks continued about 276 feet. A wheel pant was found near the east end of the ground marks. The center track was consistently closer to the right track, looking east, the direction of the aircraft's path. The ground tracks ended about 135 feet prior to an embankment that descended at a 45 degree angle into a deep ravine. A second wheel pant was found on the near embankment. Witnesses saw the airplane descend into the ravine followed shortly by a large fireball. The airplane came to rest against a boulder, on the east side of the ravine. It was destroyed by the ensuing ground fire.
A wet canopy/fuselage cover was located in the pilot's car. Wing covers normally installed on the airplane, were not located with it. The pilot's wife stated that the wing covers were at their residence being repaired.
Because of the post-impact fire, examination of the airplane did not produce any cockpit documentation.
The engine, a Lycoming O-235-C1, serial number L-8731-15, was examined. The propeller spinner retained its conical shape chordwise, and was crushed inward on one side. Both propeller blades were broken and splintered spanwise, and evidenced areas of charring. There was fire damage to the underside, right side and the accessory section of the engine. The starter ring gear was detached circumferentially. Both magnetos and associated wiring had extensive heat damage with the point cover burned away from the right magneto. There was internal fire damage to the left magneto, and all of its distributor towers were burned away. The mechanical fuel pump cover was absent and there was evidence of fire damage to the pump action. There was a hole in the oil sump through which the oil pickup tube and screen could be seen. No debris was noted in the screen. The Marvel Schebler carburetor was found in the creek at the accident site, detached from the engine. The float bowl contained metal floats and there was no evidence of debris or corrosion in the float bowl. One float kidney was crushed from both sides toward the centerline of the kidney.
According to records obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration, the pilot had 3,500 total civil flight hours, as of March 31, 1993. He obtained a second class medical certificate on that date, with limitations to wear glasses for distant vision, and possess glasses for near vision, when exercising the privileges of the certificate. His pilot log was not located.
The aircraft logs and records were not located, and the pilot's wife stated that they would have been in the airplane.
A post-mortem examination of the pilot was conducted by the Cobb County, Georgia, Office of the Medical Examiner. The cause of death was listed as generalized trauma with associated generalized body surface burns. The report stated that "minimal atherosclerotic involvement is noted." In reference to the central nervous system, the report stated that "Intrinsic lesions [of the brain] are not identified." A report of the toxicological examination of the pilot indicated that no ethanol nor other drugs were found.
The pilot's wife provided the following information regarding the flight and the accident. The pilot was assisting his stepdaughter with a school science project. The project was to determine the effects of weight on the acceleration of the airplane. It was her understanding that no takeoff was contemplated, only a ground run to obtain two additional data points that her daughter needed to complete her fact gathering for the project. Mrs. Dahl provided anecdotal information that indicated that the pilot was aware of the effects of frost on the airplane. She stated that he was a former Naval Aviator, who flew attack aircraft, and had extensive aviation experience. She opined that her husband experienced an incapacitating event after the first liftoff, which explains his failure to reduce the power, turn off the ignition switch, or raise the nose landing gear. She also stated that the back seat, where her daughter would have sat, had no controls other than a control stick.