On July 1, 1997, at an undetermined time, an experimental DFL Holdings Inc., Model: Tango, N772T, operating as a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, crashed in the vicinity of Keystone, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The airplane was destroyed and the airline transport rated pilot was fatally injured. The flight originated from Keystone Airpark at about 1330 eastern daylight time. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The airplane was reported as missing on July 1, 1997, and was located on July 2, 1997, in the northeast corner of restricted area 2903A.
Examination of the crash site revealed the airplane collided with trees in a nose down attitude with little horizontal movement spinning to the left. The left wing was bent slightly up, was attached at the forward portion of the wing, and separated 10 to 12 inches on the trailing part of the wing. The right wing tip bottom was found two feet forward of the right wing. The fuel tanks were ruptured and browning of the vegetation was present. Torsional twisting, "s" bending and chordwise scarring was present on the propeller blades. Tree branches found in the vicinity of the crash site exhibited 45-degree "v" cuts
Examination of the airframe, flight controls, engine assembly and accessories revealed no evidence of a precrash mechanical failure or malfunction. All components necessary for flight were present at the crash site. For additional information see FAA inspector's statement
Personnel who had known the pilot since college stated, he had the experience and talent to fly the tango airplane, but at times had shown less than good judgment performing maneuvers at low altitudes and buzzing at tree top level before and after joining the military. He was informed about the characteristics of the tango airplane, was instructed not to perform aerobatics, power on stalls, or spins, and to consider it as a low g aircraft. After initially flying the airplane the pilot informed them that the airplane did a great "pull close" maneuver.
Postmortem examination of the pilot was conducted on July 3, 1997, by Dr. Margarita Arruza, Associate Medical Examiner, Jacksonville, Florida. The cause of death was multiple injuries. Postmortem toxicology studies of specimens from the pilot were performed by the Forensic Toxicology Research Section, Federal Aviation Administration, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. These studies were negative for basic, acidic, and neutral drugs. Ethanol 21.000 mg/dl was detected in the blood, 30.00 mg/dl ethanol was detected in the muscle fluid, 1.00 mg/dl acetaldehyde was detected in the muscle fluid, 16.000 acetaldehyde was detected in the blood, and 5.000 mg/dl n-propanol was detected in the blood.
The wreckage was released to MSG Ronald Watson, Provost Marshals Office, Camp Blanding, Florida, on July 11, 1997. The pilot log books were released to the deceased pilot's father, Dr. Richard K. Ames, on August 19, 1997.