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On November 22, 2000, approximately 1636 central standard time, a Hall Glasair III experimental amateur built airplane, N462SH, was destroyed upon impact with terrain while maneuvering near Gilmer, Texas. The airplane was manufactured, owned, and operated by the pilot/builder. The commercial pilot, sole occupant, was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed throughout the area, and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The local flight originated from the Gilmer-Upshur County Airport (Fox Stephens Field), Gilmer, Texas, about 1620.
Witnesses observed the airplane make three high speed passes over runway 18-36 at about 100 feet agl. On completing the first pass (south to north), the airplane nosed up to a 25-30 degree climb to approximately 1,500 feet agl, and turned west (left). The pilot executed a second pass (north to south) over the runway. At the south end of the runway, the airplane climbed to approximately 1,500 feet agl and barrel rolled to the right. The pilot's "recovery from this roll was at an extremely low altitude and south of Fox-Stephens Airport." On the third pass, which was south to north, over the north end of the runway, the airplane nosed up to an approximate 20-degree climb. At approximately 1,000-1,500 feet agl, the airplane began a right roll maneuver. After it rolled through the inverted position, there was a "noticeable hesitation." By this time the airplane had "dropped to a nose low attitude." The airplane disappeared behind trees while in an approximate 40-60 degree left bank and 45-degree nose low attitude. After disappearing behind the trees, the sound of the airplane's engine "stopped abruptly." The airplane impacted the ground in a residential back yard.
The pilot received his private pilot certificate on April 9, 1986, and his commercial certificate on April 22, 1993. In addition, the pilot held instrument and multi-engine airplane ratings. The pilot was issued a third-class medical certificate on August 31, 2000, with the restriction "MUST HAVE AVAILABLE GLASSES FOR NEAR VISION." According to the pilot's logbook, he had accumulated 2,179.8 total flight hours, of which 93.5 hours were in the accident airplane, and no formal aerobatic training was logged. His last biennial flight review (BFR) was completed on April 21, 1999.
The pilot was not wearing a parachute at the time of the accident.
On April 11, 2000, the pilot received a repairman experimental aircraft builder certificate for the accident airplane.
The two-seat, single-engine airplane (serial number 3320) was issued an experimental airworthiness certificate on September 28, 1999. The airplane was powered by a 300-horsepower Lycoming IO-540-KIA5 engine (serial number L-11531-48). According to the aircraft records, the amateur-built airplane's last condition inspection was completed on November 22, 2000, at a total time of 101.8 hours. The accident flight was the first flight conducted since the condition inspection was completed.
At 1653, the weather reporting facility at the Tyler Pounds Field (located 30 miles southwest of the accident site) reported the wind from 160 degrees at 7 knots, visibility 10 miles, sky overcast at 6,500 feet agl, temperature 57 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 46 degrees Fahrenheit, and altimeter setting of 30.24 inches of mercury.
The accident site was located in a wooded residential area approximately one mile north of the departure end of runway 36. Examination of the site revealed a wreckage path, which included tree strikes, extending a total distance of approximately 75 feet on a measured magnetic heading of 300 degrees. Three trees, located at the start of the wreckage path, 10, 8, and 4 inches in diameter, were freshly broken at a height of 35, 20, and 15 feet agl, respectively.
Sections of both wings were found in the trees at the start of the wreckage path. The nose landing gear, engine, cockpit, portions of the rudder, both ailerons, and elevator were found embedded in an impact crater that measured 8 feet in length, 7 feet in width, and 3.5 feet in depth. The engine was separated from its mounts, but remained attached to the cockpit by engine control cables. The engine accessories were destroyed and could not be tested. Engine continuity could not be established due to the fractured crankcase. The propeller, separated from the engine crankshaft, came to rest adjacent to the crater and displayed leading edge gouging and "S" bending. The propeller spinner was compressed aft and flattened around the propeller hub.
The main wreckage came to rest past the impact crater along the wreckage path. The cockpit, empennage, and tail section were destroyed. Flight control continuity, cockpit control positions, instrument indications, and the fuel selector position could not be determined. The fuel tanks and fuel system were destroyed. The seats and seat restraints were found separated from the fuselage.
MEDICAL AND PATHELOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy was performed at the Office of the Medical Examiner in the County of Dallas, Texas, on November 23, 2000. No preexisting conditions were noted that would have effected the pilot's ability to fly the airplane. Toxicological tests for carbon monoxide, cyanide, drugs and alcohol were negative.
The airplane wreckage was released to the owner's representative on December 15, 2000.