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On July 13, 2001, approximately 1800 mountain daylight time, a Rockwell International S-2R, N5011X, registered to and operated by Craigmont Air Service as a 14 CFR Part 137 aerial application flight, collided with the ground about two miles west of Nez Perce, Idaho. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The aircraft was substantially damaged and the commercial pilot, the sole occupant, was fatally injured. The flight originated at Craigmont, Idaho, about 30 minutes prior to the accident.
A representative of the operator reported that the pilot had returned from one aerial application flight about 1700. The second flight departed from the Craigmont airport about 1730 to dispense an insecticide near Nez Perce. The operator expected the flight to return in about 30 minutes. When the aircraft did not return at the expected time, the operator contacted another pilot flying in the area, who shortly thereafter located the wreckage in a wheat field about two miles west of Nez Perce.
A local resident who knew the pilot and the aircraft reported that she observed the aircraft headed to the southwest and that "he (the pilot) wasn't flying right..." and that "...he was slowly descending and his right wing would dip down then up then down then up. His plane was never flying steady like normal."
At the time of the accident, the pilot held a commercial certificate for single engine land, multi-engine land and helicopter operations. The operator reported that the pilot had accumulated in excess of 23,000 flight hours, with over 19,000 flight hours in the accident aircraft make/model. The pilot's flight logbook indicated that the pilot satisfactorily accomplished a flight review on March 7, 2000, in a Cessna 206.
The pilot's last FAA medical was accomplished on April 16, 2001. A second class was issued with limitations that the pilot must wear corrective lenses and hearing amplification. At this time, the pilot did not indicate the use of any medications, nor did he indicate any conditions of medical history other than "admission to hospital."
The aircraft maintenance logbooks indicated that the aircraft underwent an annual inspection on July 2, 2001, and the aircraft and engine were signed off in an airworthy condition. On July 13, 2001, the day of the accident, the aircraft was flown to Lewiston, Idaho, for maintenance. The work order obtained from Gustin Aviation indicated work was accomplished for a hopper leak, to the strobe and the fuel gauges. No logbook entries were made at the time.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
A Federal Aviation Administration inspector from the Spokane, Washington, Flight Standards District Office responded to the accident site. The inspector reported that the wreckage was distributed over the ground in an east to west direction for about 100 yards. The terrain was rolling to flat and covered with wheat. The fuselage was laying on its top right side. The nose of the aircraft and cockpit area was destroyed. The remainder of the fuselage was intact. Both wings remained partially attached at the wing roots. The flaps and ailerons remained attached at their respective hinges. The engine separated from the airframe and the propeller hub separated from the crankshaft. Blade A broke about a foot outboard of the root. Blade B displayed severe "S" bending, and blade C displayed aft bending. The empennage was positioned inverted. The top section of the vertical stabilizer and rudder were damaged. The rudder remained attached at its respective hinges. The outboard section of the right side horizontal stabilizer and elevator was bent downward. The left side horizontal stabilizer and elevator were bent downward about mid section. The elevator trim tabs remained attached to their respective hinges.
After the wreckage was removed from the accident site and taken to a storage facility in Deer Park, Washington, control continuity was verified. Control continuity in the left wing was established from the aileron up to the bell crank. From this point, the structure was damaged such that no further continuity could be established. Continuity in the right wing was established from the aileron up to the wing root. Continuity was established from the rudder up to the cockpit area, and elevator continuity was established up to the control stick. The control stick was frozen in place due to impact damage.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
A post-mortem examination was performed on July 14, 2001, by Carl T. Koenen, M.D. at Pathologists' Regional Laboratory in Lewiston, Idaho. The cause of death was reported as traumatic injuries including massive thoracic and abdominal hemorrhage secondary to traumatic injuries.
Toxicological samples were taken and sent to the Federal Aviation Administration Civil Aero medical Institute for analysis. The analysis tested positive for Diltiazem that was detected in blood and present in urine.
The pilot's medical records were requested and received with the authorization from the pilot's estate. The medical records indicated that the pilot had been diagnosed with high blood pressure that was being controlled with Diltiazem. The pilot also had a history of elevated cholesterol that was being controlled with cerivastatin, and chronic recurrent headaches that was being treated with hydrocodone, a narcotic pain reliever (last prescription was filled April 10, 2001). The most recent medical treatment was for a left eye cataract that was treated with extraction and intraocular lens implant on May 29, 2001. On May 30, 2001, the pilot went in for surgery for lumbar degenerative disk disease with spinal stenosis (L4-L5 laminectomy and foraminotomies). Additional medical information is identified in the Medical Information attachment.
The wreckage was released to the owner's representative on December 3, 2001. The wreckage was being stored at Discount Salvage, Deer Park, Washington.
Craigmont Air Service operated two Rockwell International S-2R aircraft. On July 10, 2001, N4947X, was destroyed after colliding with terrain during a fire suppression/aerial application flight. The pilot, a co-worker to the pilot in N5011X, was fatally injured.