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On December 5, 1995, at 1817 eastern standard time, a Navion D, N96Q was destroyed following a collision with the terrain near Cherokee County Airport, Canton, Georgia. The non-instrument rated private pilot and his passenger were both fatally injured. The airplane was being operated under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91 by the pilot. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time, and no flight plan had been filed for the flight. The flight originated at Jekyll Island, Georgia, at an undetermined time.
At approximately 1512, the pilot called the Macon Automated Flight Service Station and obtained a pre-flight weather briefing for a visual rules flight from Jekyll Island, Georgia, to Canton, Georgia. The flight had a proposed departure time of 1620. Personnel at the Flight Service Station advised the pilot that Visual Flight Rules flight was not recommended for this flight due to the low ceilings and low visibility in the North Georgia area.
Witnesses observed the airplane approach the Cherokee County Airport from the southeast, at a low altitude. A witness stated that the aircraft made a right turn over the airport, and then proceeded in a southeasterly direction at low altitude until impacting the terrain about one mile southeast of the Canton Airport. The witness stated that at the time the aircraft was observed, all that could be seen of the aircraft through the fog was the rotating beacon. The witness stated that the weather in the area at the time was: low ceilings of less than 300 feet, and visibility as low as 1/4 mile in fog and light rain.
The pilot held a private pilot certificate, with airplane single engine rating. He held a third class medical certificate, which was issued on January 18, 1995, with no limitations.
Other pilots, based at the same airport as the pilot, reported that the pilot's attitude toward flying was haphazard, and that he had little regard toward safety. Pilot's at the local airport nicknamed him as "Fireball".
Additional information on the pilot, is included in this report in the section titled "First Pilot Information."
The Navion D is a low wing, single engine, retractable tricycle gear airplane. The last annual inspection was performed on N96Q on January 11, 1995.
Additional aircraft information is included in this report in the section titled "Aircraft Information"
Witnesses stated that the weather in the area of the accident site was less than that required for flight under visual flight rules.
Additional meteorological information may be obtained in this report under section titled "Weather Information".
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The aircraft impacted trees, and the terrain on a heading of approximately 230 degrees. The aircraft wreckage was distributed over an area approximately 153 feet in length.
There was an intense post crash fire, which consumed most of the aircraft cockpit, and fuselage.
The first signs of impact were in the tops of trees, approximately 80 feet above ground level. Pieces of large tree limbs were found in the wreckage path. Some of the tree limbs had ends which had been smoothly cut at a forty five degree angle.
There was a ground scar, approximately 36 inches in width, beginning about 110 feet from the initial impact, and extending approximately 38 feet, in the direction of impact, to the main wreckage site.
Continuity of the aircraft flight controls could not be established as a result of the fire, and deformation of the fuselage area of the aircraft. All observed control cable fractures were typical of overload failures.
The aircraft propeller showed signs of "S" bending, chordwise scratching, and twisting towards low pitch. There was continuity of the engine drive train.
See Wreckage Diagram attached to this report for further detail.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
A post mortem examination of the pilot was performed by John Parker, M.D., and Carol Terry, M.D. of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Division of Forensic Sciences. The report states that the pilot died as a result of his extensive injuries, and not as a result of the subsequent fire that involved the aircraft.
A toxicology analysis was performed on the pilot by the Federal Aviation Administration Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory. The substances found in the toxicological exam are listed below:
0.488 (ug/ml, ug/g) Flouxetine 0.698 (ug/ml, ug/g) Norflouxetine 0.152 (ug/ml, ug/g) Nordiazepam 0.148 (ug/ml, ug/g) Chlorpheniramine Ephedrine Phenylpropanolamine Acetominophen Salicylate Diltiazem Chlordiazepoxide Pseudoephedrine For more details on the toxicological examination, refer to the attached toxicological report.
Dr. Millet, of the Federal Aviation Administration Southern Region Medical Examiner's Office, reported that the substances found in the pilot's body would have caused sedation, drowsiness, and disorientation. He also said that judgment would be impaired.
The aircraft wreckage was released to Mr. Jimmy Rickerson, the owners insurance representative, on December 6, 1996.