On July 21, 1997, about 1910 eastern daylight time, a homebuilt Renegade Spirit, N416RS, was destroyed as it impacted the ground while maneuvering near Boonsboro, Maryland. The certificated private pilot/owner was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91. The flight originated from the pilot's private property, about 1900. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
A witness gathering hay opposite the pilot's property stated:
"He (the pilot) appeared to try a steep climb, at which time I made the comment that he could tail stall if he's not careful. After recovering just in time from that climb, he appeared to attempt the maneuver again. This time he completely stalled, the left wing turned down towards the ground and the nose then turned straight down as he plummeted."
Another witness stated that on the day of the accident:
"My daughter and I started watching from the dining room windows, in the SW corner of our house when he zoomed SE right over us. He performed the same sequence-tight right hand turn/ steep climb/ cut engine/ dive/ start engine/ climb-over a field just to the NE of his home. He seemed barely to clear the tree tops...A couple of seconds later, he dipped a little and momentarily headed straight for us! We screamed and started to run...but by the time I got halfway around, he had recovered direction, and climbed a little again...As he passed by, I had a good, clear view of the plane about 70 feet south and 20 feet above me...about ten seconds before it crashed. There was certainly no flame or smoke visible...In a very few seconds it turned very tightly to the right 180 degrees, but hardly climbed at all; the engine went quiet, and from here it looked like it just dived straight down into the ground..."
This witness also reported that she and her family had observed the airplane on other occasions. She stated:
"He usually flew fairly low-at least relative to the ridge we live on. As time went by he seemed to become more daring. He did a lot of tight turns and dives...Once I saw him doing loop-de-loops above a field...About a week before [the accident]...He flew from the direction of his house N/NW...made a tight, climbing turn over the big clearing...cut the engine, dove, then at the last split-second started the engine, revved it, and pulled up steeply just in time to clear our neighbor's...house..."
A Federal Aviation Administration Inspector examined the wreckage and the debris field. All major components of the airplane were contained with the wreckage. The wreckage was consumed in a post crash fire. The engine was removed and examined on July 24, 1997, at JRA Executive Air, Hagerstown, Maryland. According to the Federal Aviation Administration Inspector's report on the engine tear down dated July 25, 1997, there were no mechanical anomalies discovered. Examination of the propeller did not reveal any evidence of scoring or twisting.
The pilot's flight logbooks and the airplane's maintenance records were requested, but not located during the investigation.
An autopsy was performed on the pilot, on July 22, 1997, by Daniel K. Brown, M.D., at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the State of Maryland.
The toxicological testing was conducted by the Federal Aviation Administration Toxicology Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The results were positive for ethanol as follows:
55.000 (mg/dl, mg/hg) Ethanol detected in Vitreous fluid 49.000 (mg/dl, mg/hg) Ethanol detected in Blood 53.000 (mg/dl, mg/hg) Ethanol detected in Muscle fluid 55.000 (mg/dl, mg/hg) Ethanol detected in Brain fluid
Federal Aviation Regulation 91.17 (Alcohol or drugs) stated: "(a) No person may act or attempt to act as a crew member of a civil aircraft...(4) while having .04 percent by weight or more alcohol in the blood."