On March 10, 1996, at 1215 hours mountain standard time, a Varga 2180A, N5065V, collided with level terrain after an in-flight loss of control during the initial takeoff climb from runway 05L at the Pleasant Valley Airport, Peoria, Arizona. The airplane was destroyed by impact forces and postimpact fire. The certificated private pilot and student pilot passenger received fatal injuries. The airplane was being operated by the pilot as a personal flight when the accident occurred. The flight was destined for the Deer Valley Airport, Phoenix, Arizona. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The airplane was observed by three pilots on the ground and one pilot in the air. The three pilots on the ground saw the airplane take off and retract the flaps and turn left at an altitude about 150 to 175 feet above the ground. One pilot stated the airplane settled 5 to 10 feet after the flaps were retracted. All four pilots indicated the airplane's angle of bank increased to 90 degrees during the turn. The airplane then entered a spin and descended uncontrolled.
The airplane struck the ground in a nose down attitude and a postimpact fire erupted. The pilot witnesses on the ground also reported hearing the engine running until impact.
The first pilot held a private pilot certificate issued on October 17, 1994, with airplane single engine land ratings. The most recent third-class medical certificate was issued to the pilot on October 17, 1994, and contained no limitations.
No personal flight records were located for the first pilot and the aeronautical experience listed in this report was obtained from an investigator's estimate and from a review of the FAA Airmen records on file in the Airman and Medical Records Center located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
The second pilot held a student pilot certificate issued on March 9, 1995, and held a third-class medical certificate. The medical certificate contained no limitations or restrictions.
No personal flight records were located for the second pilot. The second pilot's aeronautical experience was not determined.
The airplane was manufactured in 1975. No aircraft logbooks were found for the airplane. Examination of the maintenance work order revealed that the most recent annual inspection was accomplished in January 1996, at 491.3 hours. The total time on the airplane at the time of the accident could not be determined due to the destruction of the instruments by impact forces and postimpact fire.
Wreckage and Impact Information
The airplane came to rest in hard sandy soil at latitude 33 degrees 48.248 minutes north and longitude 112 degrees 14.764 minutes west. The accident site is about 320 feet west of the departure end of runway 5L.
The initial impact point is marked with an approximate 3-foot-long crater and a partially buried propeller. The propeller exhibited chordwise scoring, leading edge nicks and gouges, and "S-bending."
The rest of the airplane was located about 5 feet to the west. The airplane's fuselage and inboard wings were burnt exposing the flight control system. Continuity was established for all flight controls from the cockpit to the tail surfaces and the wings.
Both wings were found oriented in line perpendicular to the fuselage. The right wing tip was damaged. Diagonal buckling was evident from the tip extending inboard about 5 feet. The wing flaps were found in the retracted position.
The engine was not exposed to the postimpact fire. The engine came to rest upright and tilted with the number 2 cylinder resting lower than the other cylinders. Examination of the spark plugs exhibited round electrodes with white insulators bearing no deposits. The exception was the number 1 cylinder bottom plug which was destroyed by impact, and the number 2 cylinder bottom plug which was covered with engine oil.
The airplane's electrical switches and instruments were destroyed by fire, as was the flap indicator. There was no evidence of mechanical failure or malfunction found with the airplane during the wreckage examination.
Medical and Pathological Information
Post mortem examinations were conducted by the Maricopa County Medical Examiner's Office on March 10, 1996, with specimens retained for toxicological examination.
Blood samples from both pilots were toxicologically tested by the FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI). The blood tested negative for the drug screen.
In addition, the Maricopa County Medical Examiner's Office, tested the first pilot's vitreous for ethanol and acetone with negative results.
Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM)
This manual is published by the Federal Aviation Administration to provide the aviation community with basic flight information. The manual contains the fundamentals required in order to fly in the national airspace system and contains items concerning factors affecting flight safety. The manual defines some rules, practices, and procedures that pilots should be familiar with and adhere to for safe airport operations.
The manual states, in part, "At most airports traffic pattern altitudes for propeller driven aircraft generally extend from 600 feet to as high as 1,500 feet above the ground." The manual further indicates that after takeoff, turns should not be made until reaching certain altitudes. The AIM states, "If remaining in the traffic pattern, commence turn beyond the departure end of the runway, within 300 feet of the pattern altitude," and "If departing the traffic pattern, continue straight out or exit with a 45 degree turn beyond the departure end of the runway, after reaching pattern altitude."
The wreckage was released to Air Transport, Phoenix, Arizona, on March 11,1996.