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On September 11, 1999, at 1622 central daylight time, a Gulfstream American (formerly Grumman American Aviation Corp.) AA-5A, N26801, collided with trees while maneuvering in Carthage, Mississippi. The airplane was operated by the owner/pilot under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91, and visual flight rules. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local flight. The commercial pilot received serious injuries, the pilot-rated passenger received fatal injuries, the second passenger received minor injuries, and the airplane sustained substantially damaged. The flight originated from Hawkins Field Airport in Jackson, Mississippi, at 1530.
According to the owner of the airplane, the pilot-rated passenger called him on the morning of the accident and made arrangements to fly with him up to his farm property that afternoon to photograph timberland that had recently burned in a fire. At the time of their departure, the owner was seated in the left front seat, the pilot-rated passenger was seated in the right front seat, and the second passenger was seated in the rear left seat.
After takeoff the pilot was initiated a climb to 3,000 feet and flew a 065 degree magnetic heading. Several minutes into the flight the pilot gave the flight controls to pilot-rated passenger. Once they arrived over the pilot's farm, the pilot regain controls of the airplane. He descended to 1,500 feet msl and flew several circles around the property boundaries. He then relinquished the controls back to the pilot-rated passenger, slid the airplane's canopy open about 4 inches, and began to take photographs.
At one point as the airplane was maneuvered , the pilot heard the stall warning sounding. He looked up and noticed the airspeed indicated 65 knots. He pointed to the airspeed indicator in an effort to advise the passenger, who was then flying the airplane, to increase the airspeed. After taking several pictures, he looked up and noticed that several trees were directly in front of the airplane's flight path. At that time, he resumed control of the airplane and reached for the throttle. He applied full power, while at the same time pulling the yoke back in an attempt to gain altitude. Unable to clear the tops of the trees, the airplane impacted several pine trees, then collided with the ground.
The pilot was born on August 6, 1946. He held Commercial Pilot Certificate No. 2079083, dated February 25, 1998, with airplane single engine land and instrument ratings. He possessed a second class medical certificate, dated August 12, 1999, issued as a special restriction certificate. The two restrictions were, "Must wear corrective lenses for near and distant vision," and "Must use hearing amplification." According to his logbooks, he had accumulated a total of 961 hours at the time the accident occurred, 871 of which were performed in the AA-5A. He had flown 7 hours within the past 90 days, and 5 hours within the previous 30 days.
The pilot-rated passenger held Private Pilot Certificate No. 171280506, dated June 7, 1990, with airplane single/multiengine land and instrument ratings. His multiengine rating was restricted to VFR flight only. He possessed a third class airman medical certificate, dated January 12, 1998, with the restriction, "Must wear corrective lenses." According to information provided by him on his most recent medical application dated January of 1998, he had accumulated a total of 510 hours at the time of his last examination.
The aircraft was manufactured by the Gulfstream Aviation Corp. in 1978. It was equipped with a Textron Lycoming O-320-E2G engine, rated at 150 horsepower, and a McCauley 2-blade, all-metal, fixed pitch propeller. According the airplane's maintenance records, the last annual inspections on the engine and airframe were performed on July 2, 1999, at a tachometer time of 1921.1. At that time, the airframe total time in service was 2844.15. The engine and airframe had accrued 6.31 hours since the last inspections were performed.
At 1654, weather conditions at Jackson, Mississippi, located 40 miles to the southwest, were clear skies, 10 statute miles visibility, temperature 32 degrees C. (90 degrees F.), dew point 11 degrees C. (52 degrees F.), winds from 090 degrees at 6 knots, and an altimeter setting of 29.94 Hg.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The airplane collided with the tress along a flight path of 315 degrees magnetic and came to rest along the base of a gathering of pine trees in an inverted position. The engine and propeller, along with the upper and lower engine cowling, were found separated approximately 60 feet forward from the main wreckage. Chord wise scratches were observed on one propeller blade, while the other exhibited 's' bending. Several tree limbs in the area displayed 45 degree angle lacerations with black paint transfer marks. During the examination of the airframe, flight controls, control cables and control surface attach fittings were examined for system continuity. Flight control continuity was established to the flight controls in the cockpit. The engine's crankshaft was rotated by hand, and valve train continuity was confirmed. The left front seat control yoke was bent. There was no pre or post impact fire.
In the pilot's accident report, he stated that there were no mechanical failures with the airplane at the time the accident occurred.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
A toxicological protocol on the pilot-rated passenger was performed by the FAA's Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI) in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. No carbon monoxide or cyanide was detected in the blood, and no ethanol or drugs were detected in the urine.
In addition to the Federal Aviation Administration, parties to the investigation were Textron Lycoming engines.
The aircraft was released to the owner's wife on September 12, 1999.