On June 18, 1993, at 2052 hours PDT, a Raymond Long EZ homebuilt experimental airplane, N16LZ, collided with trees and terrain during a landing undershoot at Pine Mountain Lake airport, Groveland, California. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local area personal flight, and no flight plan was filed. The aircraft incurred substantial damage; the pilot received fatal injuries; and the passenger received serious injuries. The flight originated at the Pine Mountain Lake airport on the day of the mishap at an undetermined time. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
Witnesses stated that the airplane appeared normal in the pattern, but was very low on final approach to Runway 27 and collided with trees about one half mile from the approach end. All of the witnesses stated that they heard normal engine sounds throughout the flight in the traffic pattern until the aircraft contacted the trees.
The passenger, the pilot's wife, stated that she was the first passenger to fly in the airplane after it had accrued the required 40 hours of restricted flight operations. She also stated that on the day of the accident, the pilot had made several flights with increasing amounts of weight in the airplane to simulate the weight of a passenger, prior to taking her flying. She said that the flight appeared normal to her at all times, including engine operation, until she looked down through the bottom windows. According to her statement, the aircraft seemed to suddenly drop and strike a tree while on final approach. She related the collision to possible wind shear.
The pilot was issued a U.S. private pilot certificate on November 25, 1956, and was rated for airplane single engine land. A record of diligent search of the FAA medical records in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, revealed no record of any medical certification for the pilot.
No pilot log book or other indication of pilot flight time was recovered.
The pilot's wife stated that he was a diabetic and was receiving Insulin injections and using Ecotrin at the time of the accident.
The airplane, a homebuilt experimental Rutan Long EZ, was constructed over a period of years by the pilot and his wife. The operating limitations letter issued by the FAA was dated December 11, 1992, and provided for a limited geographical area of operations during the first 40 hours of flight. According to the pilot's wife, she had recovered the hobbs hour meter which indicated 48 hours of operational time on the airplane.
A review of the airframe log book revealed a May 21, 1993, entry which stated: "I certify this airplane has been flown for 40 hours throughout it's normal range of speeds and maneuvers, and it has been found that the aircraft has no hazardous operating characteristics or design features in accordance with FAR 91.319(b)."
Witnesses at the airport reported that the weather was clear and the temperature was 85 to 90 degrees fahrenheit. The witnesses reported the winds as light and variable and none observed any unusual meteorological phenomena in the area.
The official position of the sun at the time of the accident was determined by a NTSB sun and moon database program. According to the data, the bearing to the sun was 284.0 degrees magnetic and the sun was 2.1 degrees above the horizon. Sunset occurred at 2107 hours.
The airport, Pine Mountain Lake (Q68), is listed on the San Francisco Sectional Aeronautical Chart as a public airport with a 3640 foot long runway at an elevation of 2895 feet MSL.
A review of the FAA Airport Master Records (FAA 5010-1) revealed that site inspections have been conducted for the FAA by the California Department of Transportation, Division of Aeronautics. According to the last two site inspections, a clear 20:1 approach path existed at the time of the accident.
A notation on the FAA 5010-1 form (Airport Master Record) stated that the precision Approach Path Indicator System (PAPI)is unusable beyond 7 degrees either side of the runway 27 centerline.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
On June 19, 1993, the Tuolumne County medical examiner performed an autopsy on the pilot. The cause of death was attributed to traumatic injuries to the head, chest, and abdomen.
Samples were obtained from the pilot for toxicological analysis by the FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The results of the toxicological analysis was negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, and volatiles. The analysis was positive for 73.000 mg/dl of glucose detected in the vitreous fluid, and 117.000 mg/dl glucose detected in the blood. There was 11.200 (ug/ml) salicylate detected in the urine. Diltiazem was found at levels of 0.138 ug/ml in blood and 6.770 ug/ml in urine.
TESTS AND RESEARCH
The aircraft and engine was examined by a FAA airworthiness inspector from the Fresno, California, Flight Standards District Office. According to his report of the examination, no discrepancies were noted to either the airframe or engine.