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On April 18, 1995 at 1413 eastern daylight time, a Clarence E. Duke Lancair 360, N360BJ was destroyed following a collision with terrain during a forced landing attempt near Hampton, Georgia. The commercial pilot was fatally injured in the accident. The aircraft was being operated under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91 by the pilot. Visual meteorological conditions existed at the time of the accident, and no flight plan had been filed for the personal flight. The flight departed Stockbridge, Georgia at 1330.
According to witnesses, the flight was the first flight of the aircraft following certification. The aircraft was reported on downwind for landing. Witnesses stated that the engine sounded as if it were sputtering. The aircraft nose was observed to drop, and the engine sounded as if it went to full power and remained at full power until impact with the terrain.
The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single engine, multiengine, and instrument airplane ratings. He held a second class (limited) medical certificate, with a restriction for the use of glasses, issued December 28, 1994.
No record of the pilot's flight experience could be located, however, on his FAA application for medical certificate in December of 1994, he listed his flight experience as 1,975 total hours.
The pilot's son-in-law stated that the pilot had done a lot of flying many years ago, but that he had not done any flying in about 10 years prior to his starting work on this aircraft. After beginning work on this aircraft, he estimated that the pilot had flown about five hours.(See Record of Conversation With Mr. O'Conner Attached to this Report.)
Additional personnel information may be obtained in this report on Page 3 under section titled First Pilot Information.
The Duke Lancair 360 is a two place, single engine, retractable tricycle landing gear airplane. The aircraft is amateur built from a kit, and is certificated under an experimental airworthiness certificate.
According to the owners work log, construction of the aircraft began in July of 1992.(See Copy of Owners Lancair Kit Work Log Attached to This Report.)
Weather conditions in the area at the time of the accident were reported to be sufficient for flight under visual flight rules. Witnesses in the area stated that the winds at the time of the accident were strongly favoring runway 24.
Additional meteorological information may be obtained in this report on page 3 under section titled Weather Information.
The wreckage was distributed over an area approximately 375 feet in length, and the wreckage path began about 900 feet west of the approach end of Runway 06 at Tara Field in Hampton, Georgia.(See Wreckage diagram Attached to this Report for Details of Wreckage Distribution.)
There was a post crash fire, and most of the composite aircraft fuselage, cockpit area, and wings were consumed in the fire. Confirmation of control continuity was not possible, due to the consumption of components in the post crash fire.
The aircraft propeller was constructed of composite materials, and fractured during impact with the terrain.
The accessory section of the engine was severely damaged from heat and fire. The magneto's could not be tested due to the fire damage. The engine was rotated, and continuity was confirmed through the engine, including the accessory drive train. Thumb compression was confirmed on all of the cylinders. All of the valves opened and closed during rotation.
Inspection of the rocker box area revealed that the rocker arms were installed incorrectly. The exhaust rocker arms were installed on the intake side, and the intake rocker arms were installed on the exhaust side of the cylinders.
A hose had been used for the propeller governor oil line. The hose was tight at both ends, and the hose was not ruptured. The hose was not properly secured as per AD 90-04-06 R1 Appendix 2.
Disassembly of the carburetor revealed that the main fuel nozzle, accelerator pump, and venturi were in place. The float was made of metal, and the float bowl contained a small amount of fluid. A test of the fluid from the carburetor float bowl using water finding paste was positive for the presence of water in the fluid.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy of the pilot was conducted on April 18, 1995, by Dr. Gerald Gowitt of the Henry County, Georgia Medical Examiners Office. The autopsy report lists the cause of death of the pilot as blunt head trauma.
A toxicology examination of the pilot was conducted by the Federal Aviation Administration Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The toxicology report was negative for the use of alcohol. The report showed that there was 0.046 (ug/ml, ug/g) Diphenhydramine detected in the blood, Diphenhydramine was detected in the urine, and 59.300 (ug/ml, ug/g) Salicylate detected in the urine.( See Forensic Toxicology Fatal Accident Report Attached to this Report.) Dr. Canfield of the Research Laboratory stated that Diphenhydramine was an antihistamine, and that the levels reported in the report were less than therapeutic.
The aircraft wreckage was released to Mr. Harry Brooks, the owners insurance representative, on April 20, 1995.