On April 12, 2000, about 1015 central standard time, a homebuilt Scott Vans RV-4, N123SC, owned by a private individual impacted with trees while turning to reverse direction near Natchez, Mississippi. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed at the time, and no flight plan was filed for the 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight. The airplane was destroyed. The private-rated pilot reported minor injuries. The flight had originated from Stennis International Airport, Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi, at 0810. Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
The pilot told investigators that he saw clouds and rain in his flight path. He was in trail of another aircraft, and both were en route to Fort Worth, Texas. The first aircraft performed a 180-degree turn and the pilot of N123SC, followed. As he made the left turn following the other aircraft, "...my aircraft flipped over to almost an inverted attitude. The controls felt mushy, after I leveled the aircraft...the nose was pointing almost straight down, I cycled pitch several times with no aircraft pitch change." The next thing he knew the ground was coming up, and the airplane struck trees.
According to the FAA inspector's statement, an examination of the wreckage after the accident revealed, "...the control stick was actuated fore and aft, left and right with positive input to all control surfaces that were still intact on the aircraft."
The FAA inspector met with the pilot at the hospital, and according to the inspector's statement, the pilot of N123SC and his friend were originally en route to Lakeland, Florida, his airplane developed engine problems. He landed and over the next 3 days the engine was repaired. When his friend returned they both departed for Texas. The inspector said, "...a flight plan was not filed, nor was a weather briefing obtained...after about 105 nautical miles of flight, fog and lowered ceilings were encountered where they responded with a 180 degree turn and reversed directions...[the] pilot of N123SC, stated he lost control of the aircraft as he began his turn behind the lead aircraft...he tried to regain control of the aircraft, but all control inputs failed to control the aircraft. The next thing he saw, was the trees and ground coming up towards him." The FAA inspector further said, "...it is my opinion that weather, fog, low ceilings, lack of instrumentation and the pilot flying in marginally VFR to IFR weather without an instrument rating, possibly contributed to a loss of control, secondarily to some buffeting by the lead aircraft, and then possibly an accelerated stall.
At 1015, the reported weather at Natchez-Adams Airport (HEZ), located about 15 miles west of the crash site was: lowest ceiling: 200 overcast, visibility: 2 1/2 miles, temperature 63 degrees F, dew point: 63 degrees F, wind from 020 degrees, at 6 knots, and the altimeter 30.16 inHg.