MIA97LA192
MIA97LA192

On June 21, 1997, about 1700 eastern daylight time, a homebuilt Kolb Firestar II, unregistered airplane, crashed into Lake Holden, near Orlando, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight. The airplane was substantially damaged and the private-rated pilot, the sole occupant, was fatally injured. The flight originated about 1 hour earlier from Lake Holden, near Orlando, Florida.

According to one of the witnesses the pilot was performing touch-and-go landings and after completion of one when the flight was about 500 feet above the water during a bank to the right, the airplane pitched down and impacted the water. One of the witnesses reported hearing nothing unusual from the airplane and one of the witnesses reported hearing the engine backfire just before the pilot initiated the right bank. The airplane came to rest inverted supported by the floats. The pilot was extracted and immediately brought to shore by bystanders. The airplane was later recovered by friends of the pilot.

According to a friend of the pilot, he had purchased the airplane the month before in another state and transported the airplane to his home in Orlando, Florida. He began flying the airplane the second week of June and he estimates that the pilot had flown the airplane 5 times for a total of about 8 hours. The friend stated that he advised the pilot that because floats were installed, the airplane would stall at a higher indicated airspeed.

According to the FAA airworthiness inspector who examined the airplane, the wings were removed before his arrival; however, the wing attach hardware was reportedly installed before removal. The engine was observed to be separated from the airframe and one of the propeller blades was displaced forward. The other blade appeared to be intact and one of the mount bolts for the propeller was missing. The instrument panel was not recovered. Examination of the rudder and elevator flight controls revealed control continuity. The engine was not disassembled.

A postmortem examination of the pilot was performed by Shashi B. Gore, M.D., M.P.H., Chief Medical Examiner, District Nine, Orlando, Florida. The cause of death was listed as blunt force thoracoabdominal trauma. Toxicological analysis was performed by the FAA Accident and Research Laboratory and the SmithKline Beecham Clinical Laboratories. The results of FAA analysis were negative for tested drugs and volatiles. Cyanide and carbon monoxide testing was not performed due to a lack of a suitable specimen. The results of analysis by SmithKline was negative for all tested drugs and volatiles.

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