FTW00LA214
FTW00LA214

On July 18, 2000, approximately 2015 central daylight time a Burton/Boylan Celerity experimental amateur-built airplane, N5104X, was destroyed when it impacted Crown Lake while maneuvering near Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas. The airplane was registered to and operated by the private pilot, who sustained fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The local flight originated from the Horseshoe Bend Airport, approximately 2000.

According to witnesses, who were in a boat on Crown Lake, the airplane was circling the lake at a "low altitude." They observed the airplane "make a couple of flybys rocking his wings," and on the last "pass they observed the wings coming apart." Other witnesses reported that they observed the airplane circling the lake and observed "papers or something" fly out of the airplane, subsequently, the airplane began to make a "squealing sound," and nose dived into the water.

According to personnel from the Izard County Sheriff's Department and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, the main wreckage, which included the engine, was located in approximately 20 feet of water at North 36 degrees 012.45 minutes latitude and West 091 degrees 043.60 minutes longitude. The wreckage encompassed an area measuring "50 yards long by 30 yards wide over the surface of the water between Friendly Point and Emerald Cove." Additionally, a section of plexiglass was located on shore, approximately 200 yards from the airplane's water impact point.

The wreckage was examined by an FAA inspector. The rudder and vertical fin were intact, however they displayed impact damage. The remainder of the wood and fiberglass airframe was fragmented and destroyed. Confirmation of flight control continuity was precluded by damage to the airplane. The constant-speed propeller remained attached to the 140-horsepower Lycoming O-320-E2A engine. Both propeller blades were bent aft approximately 90 degrees and displayed "S" type bending. Furthermore, the engine crankshaft, just aft of the propeller flange, was bent.

According to a statement provided by a friend of the pilot, the owner had recently purchased the airplane and during the acceptance flight in Arizona, had made a gear-up landing. Subsequently, the one-piece wing was removed from the airframe and the airplane was transported to Arkansas. The owner, who held an FAA experimental repairman certificate for a Rans S-10 (serial number 0490102), made "belly skin repairs," re-installed the wings, and test flew the airplane. During the test flight the owner experienced an "overspeed during full throttle. The prop hub stops were then adjusted to obtain 2,700 rpm static." These occurrences were not documented in the airplane's airframe logbook.

The airplane underwent its most recent condition inspection on September 1, 1999, at which time it had accumulated a total of 911.35 flight hours. The engine underwent its most recent 100-hour inspection on September 9, 1999, and had accumulated a total of 9.35 hours since major overhaul and a total of 911.35 flight hours. The propeller logbook contained the following entry; "6-5-00 Repaired bent blade and overhauled propeller per customer specification for use on homebuilt experimental aircraft only." There were no other reports of, or indications in the airframe or engine logbook, of any other recent maintenance.

An autopsy was performed by the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory, Little Rock, Arkansas. Toxicological testing, performed by the FAA's Civil Aeromedical Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, was negative for ethanol and drugs.

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