HISTORY OF FLIGHT Use your browsers 'back' function to return to synopsisReturn to Query Page
On September 3, 2000, at 1430 mountain daylight time, a North American SNJ-5 airplane, N440JG, was destroyed on impact with the ground while maneuvering during an aerial formation flight at Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The airplane was owned and operated by the pilot under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The airline transport pilot and his pilot rated passenger received fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the local flight, and a flight plan was not filed. The personal flight departed Steamboat Springs at an undetermined time.
According to the flight leader, the accident airplane was one of three aircraft that were to perform two fly-bys during the National Anthem for a rodeo in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The pilots were briefed on the sequence of events and the formations to be flown. The first fly-by was conducted at 7,800 feet msl (approximately 1,500 feet agl). While positioning for the second fly-by, the leader observed N440JG "snap roll to the right and ending up nose down (30 to 40 degrees). After the snap roll, the aircraft ended up almost wings level but at a nose low attitude. Then the plane entered a nose-low left-spin. The plane did approximately 3 rotations and impacted the ground in level attitude."
A witness observed the airplane enter a roll. This witness reported the airplane had a nose down attitude during the roll, and directly from the roll, the airplane entered a "flat spin."
A review of FAA records revealed that the pilot held an airline transport airplane multiengine land rating with commercial privileges in airplane single-engine land and rotorcraft-helicopter. On the pilot's last medical application, dated May 12, 2000, he reported that he had accumulated 17,527 flight hours.
The North American SNJ-5 airplane, serial number 44014, manufactured in 1944, was registered to the pilot on February 3, 1997. The single-engine airplane was equipped with a Pratt and Whitney R-1340-AN-1 nine cylinder radial engine, serial number P-325432, rated at 600 horsepower, and a Hamilton Standard Propeller, model 12D40. Maintenance records revealed that the last 100 hour inspection was performed on May 5, 2000.
At 1415, the weather observation facility at the Haden County, Yampa Valley Airport (approximately 10 nautical miles west of the accident site) reported the wind from 230 degrees at 14 knots gusting to 25 knots with a few clouds at 9,500 feet, and a visibility of 10 statute miles. The reported temperature was 25 degrees Celsius and the dew point -1 degree Celsius. The altimeter setting was 30.30 inches of Mercury.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The airplane came to rest upright in a construction site surrounded by commercial buildings. The wings and lower fuselage were crushed upward. The landing gear was in the retracted position. The propeller blades exhibited chordwise striations and leading edge gouges. The outboard portion on one propeller blade was found separated. The separation area exhibited rough deformation consistent with overload.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
Autopsies of the pilot and passenger were performed at the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office in Golden, Colorado. The FAA Civil Aeromedical Institutes (CAMI) Forensic Toxicological and Accident Research Center at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, examined the specimens taken by the medical examiner.
The CAMI findings for the pilot were positive for 431.373 (ug/ml, ug/g) salicyclate (aspirin) detected in urine.
The airplane was released to the owner's representative.