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On October 13, 1995, at 1605 eastern daylight time, a Lopez Lancair 360, N102JL was destroyed following an in-flight breakup near Atlanta, Georgia. The non-instrument rated private pilot was fatally injured in the accident. The aircraft was being operated under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91 by the pilot. Instrument meteorological conditions existed at the time of the accident, and an instrument flight rules flight plan had been filed for the flight. The flight departed Runway 20 at the Dekalb-Peachtree Airport at 1554, and was destined for Boca Raton, Florida.
The non-instrument rated private pilot filed and received an instrument rules flight plan from Atlanta, Georgia to Boca Raton, Florida. Transcripts of radio communications between the pilot and Air Traffic Control (ATC) personnel show that, shortly after takeoff, the pilot reported having problems with one of the aircraft gyro's. The pilot later reported that the gyro problem had corrected itself, but the radio transcript shows that the pilot continued to have difficulty in maintaining heading and altitude assignments. The aircraft was last observed on radar at an altitude of 4,400 feet above mean sea level, and then disappeared off the radar screen.
Witnesses, in the accident area, stated they heard a loud bang, and that the aircraft appeared to break-up just prior to impacting the terrain.
The pilot held a private pilot certificate with airplane single engine, multiengine, and helicopter ratings. The Federal Aviation Administration has no record that the pilot had ever held an instrument rating. He held a second class medical certificate issued in May of 1995, with no restrictions.
No record of the pilot's flight time could be located.
Additional personnel information may be obtained on page 4 of this report under section titled First Pilot Information.
The Lopez Lancair 360 is a homebuilt, low wing, retractable tricycle gear airplane. The aircraft was constructed entirely of composite materials.
The airplane was built by Mr. Jorge Lopez, and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aircraft records show Mr. Lopez as the registered owner of the aircraft.
No maintenance records on the aircraft could be located.
Additional aircraft information may be found on page 2 of this report under section titled Aircraft Information.
Instrument meteorological conditions existed at the time of the accident.
Additional meteorological information may be obtained on page 4 of this report under section titled Weather Information.
The aircraft wreckage was distributed over a wooded residential area. The wreckage distribution path was approximately 2,500 feet in length, on a heading of approximately 180 degrees.
The first pieces of the wreckage found in the wreckage path were the left and right wings. The leading edges of the wings did not show any signs of impact with the trees. The fuselage was located about mid point of the wreckage site, and the engine was located about 2,500 feet in the direction of distribution from the beginning of the wreckage distribution path.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy of the pilot was performed by Dr. Steven F. Dunton of the Fulton County Medical Examiners Office. The autopsy report lists the cause of death as generalized trauma.
A toxicological examination of the pilot was performed by the Federal Aviation Administration Accident and Research Laboratory in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Dr. Soper stated that the examination results were negative for the use of ethanol, and drugs.