SEA95LA074
SEA95LA074

On April 2, 1995, at 1545 Pacific daylight time, N35EM, a home built Mirsepasy Van's RV-6A airplane, registered to the owner/pilot, impacted terrain and was destroyed during landing at the Renton Municipal Airport in Renton, Washington. The private pilot and his passenger were seriously injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan had not been filed. The flight departed from Tacoma, Washington, about 1500 and was conducted under 14 CFR 91.

According to FAA Air Traffic Controllers working at the Renton Control Tower, the pilot contacted the tower and reported over Kent, Washington, with the intention of landing at Renton. The tower controller cleared the pilot for a "straight-in" approach and landing on Runway 33. No distress calls were issued by the pilot prior to the landing.

According to numerous ground witnesses, some who were pilots, the airplane was observed on final approach to Runway 33 at the Renton Municipal Airport. During the approach, the airplane was seen "pitching nose up and down." No unusual engine noises were heard. As the airplane crossed the airport perimeter, the engine noise decreased and the airplane began to pitch nose up. It then "slammed hard" onto the runway, bounced into the air, and began to drift off the runway. After the airplane impacted the runway a second time, the engine was heard to "rev up," the airplane pitched up, banked to the left, descended left wing first into the ground, and cartwheeled off the west edge of the runway.

The pilot was interviewed by the Safety Board on May 8, 1995, after he had partially recovered from his injuries. The pilot stated that he and his wife departed from the airplane's home base in Renton to have lunch at the Tacoma- Narrows Airport. The pilot and his wife landed uneventfully at the Tacoma-Narrows Airport, had lunch, and refueled the airplane. The pilot stated that he and his wife then departed from the airport, "transitioned" over the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, and "lined up for landing" at the Renton Municipal Airport. The pilot reported that his last recollection of the flight was the "glide slope lights" at the end of the runway. He had no memory of the landing or the accident that followed. The pilot also stated that there were "no mechanical problems with the airplane whatsoever."

The pilot, age 69, held a private pilot certificate and was rated for airplane single engine land airplanes. He reported that he had about 459 hours of total flight time, including 144 in type. The pilot did not have a current endorsement for a biennial flight review.

The airplane, a Van's RV-6A homebuilt kit airplane, was completed by the pilot in October of 1992. The airplane was of a low-wing, two-place, all-metal, single-engine design. It was powered by a single 160-horsepower Lycoming engine.

An examination of the airplane at the accident site did not reveal any evidence of pre-impact mechanical malfunctions. Flight control continuity and function was verified for all flight controls. The pitot-static system was functionally tested and found to be in operable condition. The flaps were found extended about 40 degrees. The elevator trim tab was deflected downward about 5 degrees. Usable fuel was found on board the airplane.

The airplane was found upside down about 275 feet west of the west edge of runway 33. The vertical stabilizer and canopy structure was crushed. The leading edge of the left wing was also crushed. The left landing gear fairing was scuffed and the nose gear strut was bent to the left about 20 degrees.

The wreckage distribution path was oriented along a magnetic heading of 245 degrees. The first pieces of wreckage was found about 125 feet from the main wreckage. The pieces consisted of hundreds of small wooden splinters from the propeller. Three distinct paint and wood stained slash marks were then found along the wreckage path. The marks were located 15 inches from each other and were oriented along a magnetic heading of about 245 degrees. A larger white paint transfer mark was found immediately adjacent to the slashes. The color of the propeller spinner of the airplane was similar to the color of the larger paint transfer mark. The propeller spinner found on the airplane was examined; it was scuffed and crushed inward.

The wind at the Renton Municipal Airport at the time of the accident was reported at 330 degrees magnetic at 11 knots.

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