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On December 5, 1999, about 1600 hours Pacific standard time, a Corbin/King Osprey 2, N192DC, was destroyed when it collided with Lower Otay Lake Reservoir near Chula Vista, California. The commercial pilot/owner, the sole occupant, was operating the airplane under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91, and sustained fatal injuries. The personal flight departed its home base at Brown Field in San Diego, California, at 1537 on a local personal flight. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed.
A retired Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector stated the pilot flew from Brown Field near Chula Vista to visit him at Ramona, California, and show him the recently purchased airplane. The pilot appeared in good health and spirits. The inspector looked at the airplane prior to departure and did not notice anything unusual. He said the engine sounded good and was running strong when it taxied away from his hangar about 1430.
An acquaintance told a coroner's investigator that he observed the pilot working in his hangar most of the day. They went flying in the acquaintance's airplane in the early afternoon. He said the pilot appeared to be in good spirits and expressed no complaints.
The FAA accident coordinator interviewed several witnesses. They reported hearing a loud noise, and then observed the airplane in a tight spiral with pieces floating in trail. The engine sound changed from a loud to a softer tone as the airplane rotated.
Sheriff deputies located the wreckage in Lower Otay Lake Reservoir. Some wreckage was floating, and some was at a depth of 45 feet down on the floor of the reservoir. Both wings and the fuselage/tail assembly were floating.
A review of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) airman records revealed the pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single engine land and sea ratings. A limitation on the certificate prohibited the pilot from carrying passengers for hire at night and on cross-country flights of more than 50 nautical miles. The pilot held a second-class medical certificate that was issued on August 7, 1999. It had the limitations that the pilot must wear corrective lenses and noted that miscellaneous restrictions were assigned. An examination of the pilot's logbook indicated an estimated total flight time of 483 hours. He had an estimated 26 hours in this make and model. He logged about 6 hours in the last 90 days, 4 hours in the last 30 days, and 1 hour in the previous 24 hours.
The airplane was a Corbin/King Osprey 2, serial number 192. A review of the airplane's logbooks revealed that the builder completed portions of the airplane in 1977. The airplane received approval for flight in 1989. The last condition inspection recorded in the logbooks on July 8, 1999, indicated a total airframe time of 75.7 hours. The airplane had a Textron Lycoming O-320-A2B engine, serial number L-4908-27, installed. The engine logbook indicated the engine had zero time since overhaul when the builders installed it on this airframe. The last entry in the engine logbook dated December 5, 1999, indicated a time of 108.3 hours.
A routine aviation weather report (METAR) for Brown Field was issued at 1556. It stated: skies clear; visibility 10 miles; winds from 280 degrees at 6 knots; temperature 61 degrees Fahrenheit; dew point 28 degrees Fahrenheit; altimeter 30.14 InHg.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The San Diego County Coroner completed an autopsy. The FAA Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory performed toxicological testing of specimens of the pilot. The results of analysis of the specimens were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, and volatiles. The analysis returned a positive result for amitriptyline. It detected 0.023 (ug/ml, ug/g) in blood and 0.069 (ug/ml, ug/g) in liver fluid. The analysis returned a positive result for nortriptyline. It detected 0.044 (ug/ml, ug/g) in blood and 0.289 (ug/ml, ug/g) in liver fluid.
The Safety Board's Medical Officer extracted the following information from records supplied by the pilot's family.
An FAA Regional Flight Surgeon informed the pilot by a letter dated October 8, 1998, that the pilot did not meet the medical standards required for certification because of his use of the drug Elavil. Elavil is the trade name for amitriptyline and nortriptyline is its active metabolite. His doctor had prescribed a 25 mg dose of Elavil prior to bedtime for relief of foot pain.
FAA Aviation Medical Examiners are instructed (1996 Guide for Aviation Medical Examiners, page 21) to defer certification to the FAA Aeromedical Certification division for any airman on "mood-ameliorating" medication. Correspondence from the pilot and his Aviation Medical Examiner indicated the pilot stopped taking the drug on September 28, 1998. The manager of the Aeromedical Certification Division informed the pilot by letter in February 1999 that he was ineligible for certification. However, the letter stated the pilot may be granted authorization for special issuance of his certificate. The letter continued that the operation of aircraft was prohibited if new symptoms or changes occurred that required a change in medication.
TESTS AND RESEARCH
An investigator from Textron Lycoming conducted an examination of the engine under the supervision of the FAA accident coordinator at Aviation Consulting International Corporation at Brown Field on December 13, 1999. The FAA inspector also examined the airframe and a summarization of the inspection results follows.
The engine and its pylon separated and exhibited damage to the left pylon struts and left engine rocker covers. The left side exhaust system was missing; the right side exhaust system exhibited severe damage. The carburetor and intake tubes were not recovered. The investigators established mechanical continuity for the valves, crankshaft, and accessory gears. The spark plugs displayed coloration for normal operation. The oil screen was clean.
The left wing separated from the fuselage at the forward left engine mount attach point. Its landing gear assembly was intact. The wing structure, upper and lower wing surfaces, and aileron with its control points exhibited very little damage. The inspector observed a tensile fracture on the upper surface and a compression fracture on the lower surface.
The right wing exhibited much more extensive damage than the left wing. Most of the wing was destroyed. Fragments of the wing's leading edge contained aft crush damage. Deputies recovered fragments of the aileron, but the main landing gear remained missing.
The canopy appeared undamaged. Deputies did not recover any instruments. The cockpit engine controls, rudder pedals, and nose wheel remained attached to their respective control cables.
The aft fuselage and empennage were fragmented. The vertical stabilizer and rudder assembly remained attached, but bent to the right. The rudder control cables remained connected. The horizontal stabilizers and elevators fragmented; the remaining portions exhibited crush damage.