HISTORY OF THE FLIGHT Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
On November 30, 1993, about 1006 eastern standard time, a Piper PA-28-151, N43079, registered to Spruce Creek Aviation, Inc., crashed in a residential area at Daytona Beach, Florida, while in a descent. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed. The aircraft was destroyed and the private-rated pilot was fatally injured. The flight originated at Daytona Beach, Florida, on November 30, 1993, about 0955.
Witnesses reported the aircraft departed runway 5 at the Spruce Creek Airport. After departure, the aircraft circled the airport area at a low altitude and in an erratic manner for about 10 minutes. The flight then appeared to fly down runway 23, climb steeply to about 400 feet, and then enter a descending left turn, from which it collided with the ground and then crashed into the side of a residence.
Information on the pilot is contained in this report in the First Pilot Information section.
Information on the aircraft is contained in this report in the Aircraft Information section.
Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. Meteorological information is contained in this report in the Weather Information section.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The aircraft crashed in a residential area in the southwest section of Villages of Spruce Creek, Daytona Beach, Florida. Examination of the crash site indicated the aircraft touched down on the driveway of a house at 1935 Spruce Creek Landing, left wing first while in about a 50-degree left bank . The aircraft then continued across the yard on a 160-degree heading where it collided with a 4-inch diameter, 20-foot tall tree, uprooting the tree. The aircraft continued on the 160-degree heading and crashed into the north side of the house at 1937 Spruce Creek Landing, where it came to rest. Components from the aircraft separated on impact and were found in the yards of two houses further south from the impact point. The distance from the point of initial left wing touchdown to collision with the house was 80 feet.
The aircraft's engine and forward cabin area came to rest in the master bedroom of the house. The wings and tail section were located just outside the bedroom, against the wall of the house. The propeller separated from the engine on impact and was located just outside the bedroom. All components of the aircraft necessary for flight were located on or around the main wreckage. Control cable continuity was established for the elevator, elevator trim, rudder, and aileron control systems. The wing flaps were found in the retracted position.
Examination of the engine indicated the engine rotated normally. Continuity was established in the engine assembly, accessory drive train, and valve drive train. Each magneto operated normally. The magneto switch was found in the both position and the switch operated normally. The carburetor was found with the throttle full open and the mixture in the rich position. The carburetor sustained impact damage and the float was not recovered. The needle shutoff valve operated normally. The engine-driven fuel pump sustained impact damage. The pump diaphragm was not ruptured. The propeller separated from the engine during impact when the propeller bolts sheared or pulled loose from the propeller flange. The cable-driven engine tachometer was found to be indicating 3,100 rpm after the accident.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
Postmortem examination of the pilot was performed by Dr. Frederick P. Hobin, M.D., Medical Examiner, Volusia County, Florida. Dr. Hobin reported that the cause of death was aircraft crash trauma and that a contributory cause was cerebral and coronary artery atherosclerosis. It was also reported that none of the hands appeared markedly deformed and the feet were not markedly deformed. The pilot's left carotid artery was found to be 80 to 90 percent blocked by atheromatous material.
Postmortem toxicology testing was performed by the Volusia County Medical Examiner's Office. The tests were negative for alcohol. The tests were positive for 1 percent carbon monoxide and 639.92 MG/L salicylate. The additional medications which the pilot was prescribed were not tested for. Toxicology samples which were sent to the FAA Toxicology Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma were not suitable for examination.
A review of FAA medical records for the pilot indicated the pilot had suffered from hypertension for at least 10 years. In 1985 and 1987 his medical certificate was issued after special FAA review of the application due to high blood pressure. After a medical examination for a certificate on April 9, 1991, the FAA required the pilot to submit a current cardiovascular evaluation. After review of the evaluation the FAA informed the pilot he did not meet the FAA medical standards for a medical certificate.
On September 12, 1991, the pilot had coronary bypass surgery. On May 22, 1992, the pilot applied for a third class medical certificate and was examined by an FAA Aviation Medical Examiner. On June 8, 1992, the pilot had surgery on the right carotid artery to clear blockage. The pilot was told at this time to have tests performed on the carotid arteries about one year later to determine if blockage had reoccurred. The FAA wrote a letter to the pilot on July 9, 1992, informing him that the certificate he applied for on May 22, 1992, was not issued and that he would need to apply for a special issuance medical certificate.
The pilot next applied for a third class medical certificate on January 29, 1993. The pilot was examined by an FAA Aviation Medical Examiner. On April 5, 1993, the FAA notified the pilot that he did not meet the medical standards for a FAA medical certificate. He was told he could apply for a special issuance medical certificate. After further testing in respect to a history of angina pectoris, coronary artery bypass surgery, carotid endarterectomy, and hypertension, the FAA issued a special issuance third class medical certificate on September 1, 1993. The certificate was valid until July 31, 1994. In the issuance of the certificate the FAA required the pilot to remain under medical surveillance and report any adverse change in his medical condition to FAA. He was also instructed to cease all flying activities until cleared by FAA.
On October 6, 1993, the pilot was subjected to testing on the carotid arteries. The left carotid artery was found to have moderately severe atheromatous disease which was reported to be significant with respect to potential embolus origin.
Members of the pilot's family stated after the accident that the pilot was not told after the tests on October 6, 1993 that the findings were serious, and the pilot did not inform the FAA of this condition based on this. They stated he had not shown any health problems in the days before the accident. The pilot was taking lozol 2.5 mg, norvasc 5.0 mg, and one aspirin per day for his cardiovascular condition. His blood pressure was between 140/60 to 150/70. (For additional medical and pathological information see supplement K and attachments.)
The aircraft wreckage was released on December 1, 1993, to Mr. Forrest Heller, President, Spruce Creek Aviation.