On July 15, 1995, at 1040 mountain daylight time, a homebuilt Bradley Dragonfly, N826DB, landed short of the runway at Silver City, New Mexico. The pilot received fatal injuries and the aircraft sustained substantial damage. No flight plan was filed for this 14 CFR Part 91 local area personal flight and visual meteorological conditions prevailed. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
According to statements provided to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, the pilot was doing touch and go landings and operating in the local traffic pattern. He reportedly was making a final landing. Witnesses stated that the aircraft angle of descent increased during final approach and touch down was approximately 240 feet short of the runway in the approach lights. Propeller slashes were present in this area. Following initial touchdown, during which the aircraft went through five rows of approach lights, the aircraft became airborne with the engine operating and impacted terrain adjacent to a taxiway.
The pilot was wearing a four point restraint and persons who arrived on the scene within a few minutes of impact found the pilot slumped over in the cockpit. According to the sheriff's department deputy who responded, the pilot was unresponsive and attempts at resuscitation were unsuccessful.
Toxicological tests performed by the state of New Mexico, Medical Examiner's Office, were negative for substances of abuse and alcohol. FAA records and the autopsy performed by the New Mexico Medical Examiner's Office, provided evidence that the pilot had a history of heart disease. FAA records also provided information that at a point in the past, the pilot had his medical certificate denied for a period of time due to heart abnormalities and hypertension. His medical certificate issued May 17, 1993, had a restriction which made it valid for a period of 24 months following the month of examination.
The New Mexico Medical Examiner's opinion is quoted below from the Autopsy Report:
There is a question as to whether the decedent suffered a cardiac irregularity due to his severe heart disease which resulted in the accident, or whether he suffered the injury during the accident which resulted in cardiac arrest because of his severe heart disease. The injuries, by themselves, would not ordinarily be lethal. It is more likely the latter sequences occurred since the airplane seemed, according to a reliable witness, to be under good control right up to the point of landing."