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On January 15, 1996, at 1645 mountain standard time, a home built Krueter KR-2, N8019C, impacted the ground at Front Range Airport, Watkins, Colorado. The private pilot received fatal injuries and the aircraft was destroyed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for this local area personal flight operating under Title 14 CFR Part 91. The takeoff time is unknown.
According to witnesses, the pilot had not previously flown this recently purchased airplane and his stated intention was to perform taxi tests only. Whether he became airborne inadvertently or made the decision to fly the airplane is unknown. The accident occurred approximately 400 feet short of the approach end of runway 35 and offset to the east approximately 200 feet. (See wreckage and airport diagrams.)
According to a mechanic, who performed a condition inspection on the aircraft for the pilot, the pilot's intention was to perform taxi tests and he observed him taxi away from the ramp/hangar area. At 1645, persons on the ramp observed smoke coming from the area of the approach end of runway 35. On investigation, they found the aircraft burning in a plowed field off the end of the runway.
The pilot held a private certificate issued May 10, 1975. According to logbook information, he did not fly from November 30, 1975, until July 21, 1995. He held a second class medical certificate issued August 4, 1995, and according to the certificate, corrective lenses were required to exercise the privileges of the certificate.
The pilot's log provided information that he had accumulated 138:30 hours total time, all of which was in single engine land aircraft. Of that time, 55:12 hours was day dual instruction, 3:55 hours was night dual instruction, 62:28 hours was day solo, 1:30 hours was night solo, 2:25 hours was actual instrument time, and 17:05 hours was simulated instrument time. The log also provided information that the pilot received a biennial flight review on September 15, 1995, and a tail wheel endorsement on January 9, 1996.
The aircraft, a KR-2, serial number 1, was built in 1980 by Richard B. Krueter. FAA records provided information that the aircraft had been sold on December 27, 1995, and that the registration was pending.
The original KR-2 design was a two-place side-by-side low wing monoplane with no flaps, retractable main landing gear, and a steerable tail wheel. Length was 14 feet 6 inches, wing span was 20 feet 8 inches, and effective wing area was 78 square feet. The airfoil used was the RAF48. The airplane was designed to use a Volkswagen engine from 1,600cc to 2,200cc. Design empty weight, using the 1,600cc engine was 400 pounds and design gross weight was 800 pounds. Design fuel capacity was 12 gallons. Top speed was 150 miles per hour (mph) and design cruise speed was 140 mph. Landing speed was between 42 and 48 mph depending on aircraft weight.
The materials used were plywood, Mylar, and foam, and construction was primarily done by gluing components.
According to available information, this aircraft had a length of 14 feet 8 inches, a wing span of 20 feet 8 inches, a wing area of 78 square feet, an empty weight of 618 pounds, and a maximum gross weight of 975 pounds. The engine was a 1834cc Volkswagen and the fuel capacity was 15 gallons. The listed top speed was 150 mph, cruise speed was 135 mph, and the stall speed was 60 mph.
According to aircraft records, in 1982 the builder/owner removed the retractable landing gear and installed fixed gear. In 1985 he installed flaps, and in August 1990, he moved the engine two inches forward. The only weight and balance recorded was done July 10, 1990, however; according to the log, the aircraft was successfully flown for several years after these modifications.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The aircraft wreckage was located in a plowed field 155 degrees and 400 feet from the approach end of runway 35 at Front Range Airport, Watkins, Colorado. Wreckage scatter was on a base course of 295 degrees.
The first witness mark found was a gouge containing green glass and pieces of what appeared to be fiberglass. This was followed by a shallow pit containing engine debris and portions of curved Plexiglas. To the west of the pit, a large area of the surface was littered with pieces of foam, plywood, and fiberglass-like material. To the northeast of the pit, portions of the wood propeller blade were found imbedded in the ground.
The fuselage, wing panels, and engine were located last in the scatter pattern and were found inverted facing opposite the direction of travel. They were destroyed by fire. No instruments or other cockpit equipment remained identifiable due to fire damage. Examination of pieces of curved Plexiglas, not consumed by fire, provided no evidence of sooting on the inner surfaces.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy was performed on the pilot by Forensic Pathology Consultants, Loveland, Colorado. Their anatomic diagnosis determined that the pilot succumbed to injuries sustained from the accident.
Toxicology was performed by the Federal Aviation Administration, Civil Aeromedical Institute, (CAMI) Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Their findings were: CARBON MONOXIDE - 11.0 (%) Carboxyhemoglobin detected in blood. CYANIDE - 3.310 (ug/ml) Cyanide detected in blood. No other substances were found. (A copy of the toxicology report is attached.)
Except for pieces of foam, Plexiglas, and the fiberglass-like material which was thrown free of the primary wreckage, the aircraft was consumed by fire.
TEST AND RESEARCH
Based on information provided by CAMI, the carbon monoxide level is in the normal range for a smoker and could not be considered as lethal. Cyanide levels above 3ug/ml are considered lethal and the source is usually foam material exposed to high heat associated with combustion.
The aircraft wreckage was released to the Manager of Operations, Front Range Airport, on January 16, 1995. No parts were retained.