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On September 27, 1997, at 1403 eastern daylight time, a Luscombe 8A, N1269K, was destroyed when it impacted powerlines while approaching Shamrock Airfield, Brooklyn, Michigan, for landing. The pilot was fatally injured. The 14 CFR Part 91 flight had departed a private airstrip near Battle Creek, Michigan, with Brooklyn, Michigan, as the destination. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident and no flight plan was filed.
A witness to the accident reported that the pilot had been part of a group of pilots that had been flying their airplanes to various airports on the day of the accident. The witness reported that seven pilots had departed from various airports earlier in the morning and had all landed at Monroe Custer Airport, Monroe, Michigan, where they met for breakfast. Four of the pilots, including the pilot of the accident airplane, departed in their four airplanes and flew to Napolean, Michigan, and then on to a private airstrip near Battle Creek, Michigan, where an ultralight fly-in was being hosted. The witness reported that between 1300 to 1400 EDT the four pilots departed in their airplanes for Shamrock Field, Brooklyn, Michigan, where they planned to refuel.
The witness reported that the four airplanes flew in a "loose formation" with each airplane having 1 to 1.5 miles separation between airplanes. He reported that the four pilots were in constant communication via their airplane's radios. The witness reported that he arrived at Shamrock Field first and he approached the field from the south and planned to land on runway 01. He reported that the other three airplanes approached the field from the north and established themselves for a landing on runway 19.
The witness reported that the wind was calm. He reported he had landed at Shamrock Field once before and had made the same approach to runway 01.
The witness reported that as he was on short final for runway 01, he saw the accident airplane turning from base leg to final leg for runway 19. He reported that the accident airplane looked like it was very low on the horizon. He reported that he made a radio call informing the other pilots that he was landing on 01 and would be off the runway before the others landed. He reported that when he touched down the airplane bounced and he immediately decided to do a go-around on the right side of the runway. He made a radio call to the pilot of the accident airplane to inform him of the go-around and the accident pilot acknowledged by saying, "I see you. I am on final."
The witness reported that he continued paralleling the right side of runway 01 at about 175 to 200 feet above ground level (AGL). When he had traveled about 75 feet past the runway numbers for runway 19, he saw a flash of light, which at first he thought was a reflection of the sun off the accident airplane. He saw the accident airplane nose straight down and impact the ground. He flew over the accident site and then landed to render assistance.
The pilot of airplane who was behind the accident airplane and had just turned downwind to base leg, reported that he had observed the go-around airplane and he informed the accident pilot of the situation. He reported that the accident pilot radioed, "That's no factor," and continued flying the landing approach. The witness in the second airplane reported that accident pilot had plenty of room to land the airplane and that the go-around airplane was not a factor.
The pilot of the accident airplane was a 43 year old private pilot. He had a third class medical certificate. The forms that the pilot had completed for his medical exam indicated he had flown 480 total hours. Pilot logbooks were not recovered.
The airplane was a Luscombe 8A and was owned by the pilot. The aircraft engine and airframe logbooks were not recovered. The airplane had received an annual maintenance inspection on July 23, 1997.
Wreckage and Impact Information
The examination of the wreckage and accident site by the Federal Aviation Administration indicated that the airplane had impacted the ground in a nearly vertical position. Both wings had leading edge crush damage and the engine was pushed straight back into the cockpit. The fuselage and tail remained in a vertical position after impact.
The wreckage site indicated that a high tension powerline was located about 1,490 feet from the approach end of runway 19. The powerline towers were about 110 feet high with a total span of about 300 to 350 feet.
A seven foot section of transmission wire had blue paint smudges on it. The airplane's wings were painted blue. Just below the powerlines an 8 to 10 foot section of the left wing's leading edge was found.
An examination of the airplane revealed that both the flight controls and engine indicated continuity and no anomalies were found.
Medical and Pathological Information
An autopsy of the pilot was conducted in West Olive, Michigan, on September 27, 1997.
A Forensic Toxicology Fatal Accident Report was prepared by the FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute. The report indicated the following results:
No carboxyhemoglobin detected in blood.
No cyanide detected in blood.
No ethanol detected in blood.
34.800 (ug/ml, ug/g) Salicylate detected in blood.
The Federal Aviation Administration was a party to the investigation.