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On August 27, 2001, approximately 1329 Pacific daylight time, a homebuilt experimentally registered Matey "Hawker Hurricane," N3941Q, registered to and being flown by a private pilot, was substantially damaged during collision with terrain during an uncontrolled descent at the north end of Cawley's South Prairie airport, Buckley, Washington. The pilot was fatally injured and there was no fire. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed. The flight, which was personal, was operated under 14 CFR 91, and originated from Cawley's South Prairie airport earlier the same day.
Two witnesses reported to Pierce County Sheriff's deputies that they heard the aircraft's engine "sputtering" followed by the sound of the crash, and a third witness also reported hearing the aircraft's engine "sputter" and "...watched him attempt to land and then crash at the north end of the runway...." A fourth witness, located along the runway, reported to Pierce County Sheriff's deputies that he "...heard Terrana [the pilot] having engine problems, and watched Terrana approach the runway to land flying south to north...." This witness also reported that as the aircraft was "...approaching the runway the engine completely quit while Terrana was still airborne..." and that "...Terrana, who continued flying north, reached the north end of the runway, the plane pulled up appearing to attempt to make a turn and when the plane reached 'tree top level' it fell back to the ground landing nose first..." (Pierce County Sheriff's Department Incident Report, Case No. 01-239-0639).
The pilot/owner held a private pilot certificate with single-engine land rating. His last flight physical (third class) was conducted on July 13, 2000, and he reported a total of 2,500 hours of flight experience at that time. This medical contained the restriction that the "Holder shall wear corrective lenses." It was not known whether the pilot was in compliance with this restriction at the time of the accident. The total flight experience in the Matey "Hawker Hurricane" was unknown. However, the pilot was estimated to have about 10 hours flight experience in N3941Q between June 2000 (aircraft Tach time: 152 hours) and the date of the accident (aircraft Tach time: 162 hours).
N3941Q was an experimental/amateur built reduced scale replica of World War II vintage Hawker "Hurricane" aircraft. The aircraft was issued a special airworthiness certificate on April 14, 1995, and subsequently sold by the owner/builder (Matey) to the current owner/pilot (Terrana) on February 16, 2000.
The airstrip consisted of a 2,650-foot long, 50-foot wide, grass runway oriented along a 160/340 degree magnetic bearing. A satellite photograph of Cawley's South Prairie airport and surrounding area revealed approximately 1,500 feet of open field directly north of the crash site (refer to CHART I). The FAA Inspector who responded to the crash site confirmed the location of this open field.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
An inspector from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Renton Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), conducted the on-site examination during the late afternoon of August 27th. The aircraft impacted the ground at the north end of the grass strip (refer to CHART I) and although the aircraft broke into several sections, all portions of the aircraft were located within the general area of the ground impact (refer to photograph 1). The engine/propeller and forward section of the aircraft including the instrument panel were the most northerly pieces of wreckage. The propeller remained attached to the engine crankshaft with one blade folded underneath the engine. The opposing blade was in a near twelve o'clock position, and displayed very little bending deformation and dirt adhesion. Chordwise scratches along its leading edge from mid-span to the hub were noted. The hub was deformed aft (refer to photograph 2). The left wing was fragmented, and the right wing displayed an "umbrella" effect along its chordline with the upper and lower halves of the wing surface opened and "hinged" about the wing's rear spar. The leading edge of the right wing displayed impact deformation and crushing (refer to photograph 3). The inspector also reported that there was evidence of fuel within the wing tanks but the header tank, which accepts fuel from the wing tanks and then feeds it to the carburetor, was ruptured. He reported no odor of fuel in the vicinity of the header tank. Additionally, the tachometer hour meter was noted as 162 hours at the accident site.
TESTS AND RESEARCH
The aircraft's engine, a Lycoming O-320-E3D, was removed from the site and examined at Avstar Aircraft of Washington, Puyallup, Washington. The examination was conducted on September 6, 2001, under the oversight of another FAA inspector assigned to the Renton FSDO. The inspector reported that a compression check of the engine yielded compression ratings of 66-73 pounds/square inch on all cylinders except number one. A recheck of this cylinder resulted in a successful operational pressure check. A satisfactory continuity check of the engine's crankshaft and camshaft was accomplished.
The inspector also reported the oil as being clean and free of particulates, and the oil filter was clean. The magnetos were examined and although the right magneto's points were damaged, the magneto appeared in good condition and the timing was properly set. The left magneto was bench checked and produced a spark at all four associated cylinder spark plugs. The engine driven mechanical fuel pump was broken off the engine case and could not be tested. Examination of the plunger arm and pump housing revealed no evidence of any pre-impact malfunction. The electric (auxiliary) fuel pump filter screen was found to be clear. The pump, which was later tested, was found to energize with the application of power, but crushing damage to the case interfered with its operation. The carburetor was broken off of the engine. No fuel filter screen was found within the filter bowl and some dirt and debris was noted. The carburetor butterfly valve was observed in the open position and the floats, which had been exposed when the carburetor housing broke free of the engine, appeared to be in good condition. The fuel selector was in the "ON" position.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
Post-mortem examination of the pilot was conducted by Roberto G. Ramoso, M.D., associate medical examiner, at the facilities of the Pierce County Medical Examiner's Office, Tacoma, Washington, on August 29, 2001, (case number 01-0882).
The FAA's Toxicology Accident and Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, conducted toxicological evaluation of samples from the pilot. The following findings were reported (refer to attached TOX report CAMI REF # 200100243001):
0.047 (ug/mL, ug/g) Sertraline detected in blood
0.23 (ug/mL, ug/g) Desmethylsertraline detected in blood
0.251 (ug/mL, ug/g) Diphenhydramine detected in blood
Sertraline detected in liver
Desmethylsertraline detected in liver
Diphenhydramine detected in liver
Diphenhydramine, commonly known by the trade name 'Benadryl,' is an over-the-counter antihistamine with sedative effects. The level of Diphenhydramine found in the pilot's blood was reported as being consistent with several times the normal dosage within an eight-hour period.