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On March 20, 1996, approximately 1315 Pacific standard time, the commercial pilot/owner of a Cessna U206E floatplane, N1460M, became incapacitated while on a local personal 14 CFR 91 flight out of Renton, Washington. The non-pilot-rated passenger took the controls of the aircraft and, at 1324, contacted the Renton air traffic control tower (ATCT) for assistance. A Renton ATCT air traffic controller who was also a certificated flight instructor (CFI) subsequently "talked the passenger down" to a landing at Renton. At approximately 1339, during the passenger's landing attempt, the floatplane landed hard on the asphalt/concrete surface of Renton runway 15 and was substantially damaged. The passenger received a minor injury. The 46-year-old pilot was pronounced dead at the scene. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and there was no record of a flight plan having been filed.
A second-class FAA medical certificate, dated November 21, 1994, was found in the pilot's personal effects at the accident scene. According to an FAA-certified copy of the pilot's application (FAA Form 8500-8) for the medical certificate, signed by the pilot and dated November 18, 1994, the pilot checked "No" on item 18-g of the "medical history" section of the application, indicating that he had no history of "heart or vascular trouble." The application and certificate indicated that the pilot was 71.5 inches tall and weighed 209 pounds.
The airplane wreckage was examined at the accident site on March 20, 1996. The examination of the wreckage revealed a set of two parallel, curved ground scrapes, spaced approximately the distance between the floats apart, starting at a point about 321 feet beyond the approach end of runway 15 and continuing to the aircraft. A series of 12 slash marks in the runway pavement, oriented approximately perpendicular to the ground scrapes, was located along the path of the scrapes with the first slash about 28 feet past the initiation point of the ground scrapes. The pavement scrapes exited the right edge of the runway at approximately the intersection of the runway and the far edge of taxiway H. At this point, the ground scrapes continued in the grass along an arc from the pavement scrapes' point of pavement exit to the aircraft, which was headed approximately southwest. The aircraft had come to rest on the east edge of the west parallel taxiway, just beyond taxiway H. The total distance along the runway from the start of the ground scrapes to the point on the runway abeam the aircraft, as measured by Renton police, was 566 feet. The airplane's floats were collapsed, with the right float being collapsed up against the fuselage. The right wing tip was in contact with the ground and the right wing was buckled upward at about mid-span. All three propeller blade tips were curled. No evidence of airframe or engine malfunction occurring prior to the event was observed.
King County Medical Examiner's (KCME) investigators at the scene informed the NTSB investigator-in-charge (IIC) that an unlabeled bottle of pills had been found on the pilot's person. In a subsequent telephone conversation with the KCME pathologist assigned to the case, the pathologist expressed the opinion to the NTSB IIC that the pills visually resembled nitroglycerin tablets.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The King County Medical Examiner's Office, Seattle, Washington, performed an autopsy on the pilot on March 21, 1996. The autopsy indicated pathological diagnoses of "severe arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease with severe atherosclerosis involving the three main coronary arteries" as well as "medical therapy includ[ing] intravascular catheters." The only external evidence of injury noted in the report was "two 1 1/2 inch in greatest dimension...contusions" on the left upper arm. The autopsy report stated: "Death is attributed to severe arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease. In view of the scene and circumstances surrounding the death, the manner of death is classified as natural."
Toxicology testing was performed by the FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI), Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The CAMI toxicology tests detected nitroglycerin in a tablet submitted with the toxicology specimens.
Medical records on file at St. Francis Community Hospital, Federal Way, Washington, indicated that the pilot received emergency treatment there on July 31, 1991 and was admitted to the hospital's coronary care unit at that time with a final diagnosis of "coronary disease manifested by inferior wall myocardial infarction." The records indicated that the pilot was scheduled for cardiac catheterization on August 2nd but then became "very anxious and upset with poor insight" and left the hospital against medical advice on August 3, 1991 without the procedure being performed. Prescriptions for Lopressor and sublingual nitroglycerin were then relayed to the pilot's wife by telephone.
Medical records on file at Providence Hospital/Seattle Medical Center, Seattle, Washington, indicated that the pilot went to the emergency room there on August 5, 1991, two days after leaving St. Francis, experiencing chest pain. The records indicated that the pilot was admitted to Providence at that time, stating the following:
The patient was status post inferior wall myocardial infarction. He was treated with anti-anginal medications. He was a young man with his first presentation of coronary artery disease. Cardiac catheterization was performed. This showed...mild inferior hypokinesis....In the circumflex there was a 50-70% stenosis....The right coronary artery was occluded. The PDA filled through collaterals during injections of the left system....
The Providence records indicated that the pilot was discharged on August 8, 1991 and would, in the words of the attending physician, "return to my office for long-term management." This physician, a Seattle cardiologist, was a different physician than the FAA aviation medical examiner who issued the pilot's medical certificate in 1994.
According to 14 CFR 67.15(e)(1), an established history of myocardial infarction, angina pectoris, or "coronary heart disease that has required treatment, or, if untreated, that has been symptomatic or clinically significant" is a disqualifying condition for issuance of an FAA second-class medical certificate. However, 14 CFR 67.15 does not require applicants for a second-class medical certificate to undergo an electrocardiographic examination. 14 CFR 67.20(a)(1) prohibits individuals from making "any fraudulent or intentionally false statement on any application for a medical certificate under this part."
For the purposes of the NTSB report, the pilot's injury level was classified as "none" since his death was ruled by authorities as natural and not as a result of the accident.
The airplane wreckage was verbally released to Mr. Jim Stiger of Barrus & Stiger, Bellevue, Washington, on March 20, 1996. Mr. Stiger is the insurance adjuster for the aircraft owner's estate.