FTW95LA404
FTW95LA404

On September 26, 1995, at 1850 central daylight time, a Fratus XP-23 Hawk experimental airplane, N3990U, was destroyed upon impact with power lines while landing near Joshua, Texas. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was being operated as a personal flight under Title 14 CFR Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed.

Witnesses reported that during takeoff from Buffalo Chips Airstrip, the airplane's engine sounded "rough." The airplane climbed "steeply" to approximately 1,500 to 2,000 feet above the ground, and the engine no longer sounded "rough." The airplane circled back around to the north end of the field "maintaining altitude as if the pilot was planning to land or do a fly-by for the camera." When the airplane reached a position northeast of the field, it descended "suddenly and sharply." The pilot "typically approached runways high and then descended steeply for the landing." As the airplane lined up with the runway it "appeared too low to clear the wires." Just before the airplane hit the wire, one witness reported that he heard the "power increase."

A friend of the pilot who was familiar with the airplane stated that "visibility from the cockpit was poor."

An examination of airplane and engine by a FAA inspector, did not reveal any anomalies. The airplane was destroyed by a postimpact fire.

An autopsy was performed by the Chief Medical Examiner, Cleburne, Texas. Toxicology testing was performed by the Civil Aeronautical Medical Institute, Mike Maroney Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Toxicological findings were negative.

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