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On October 21, 2001, at 1257 Hawaiian standard time, an experimental Rhoades Jodel D-9, N43RR, experienced a loss of engine power and crashed into a taro field near Waialua, Hawaii, approximately 2 miles east of the Dillingham Airfield Airport, Mokuleia, Hawaii. The airplane, owned and operated by the pilot under the provisions of 14 CFR Part 91, sustained substantial damage. The airline transport pilot, the sole occupant, sustained fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight to the Honolulu International Airport, Honolulu, Hawaii, and a visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan had been filed. The flight had departed the Dillingham Airfield Airport at 1246.
The wreckage was examined at the accident site. One wooden propeller blade was fractured near the hub. The blade did not exhibit any tip damage. There was no evidence of fuel on the ground or around the airplane.
A ground witness stated that earlier in the day the airplane had taxied past him on the taxiway three times. The first two times the engine stopped and then started again. The witness reported that it sounded like the pilot "played with the throttle" to get the airplane started again. On the third taxi the witness stated that the engine stopped; the pilot restarted the engine and taxied back to his hangar.
Another ground witness stated that he saw the pilot prior to departure from Dillingham. The accident pilot performed a preflight, and the witness hand-propped the engine to start it. There was no starter for the airplane, so hand propping was the only way to start it. The witness observed the pilot taxi down the runway and takeoff. The accident pilot went around the pattern a few times and then landed and taxied back to the hangar area. The witness stated that he did not see or hear anything unusual with the airplane, and the pilot seemed satisfied with the flight. The witness observed the pilot adding fuel to the airplane. The witness and another individual then followed the accident airplane to the runway in another airplane. The purpose was to follow the accident airplane to Honolulu.
The witness stated that after departure from Dillingham he lost sight of the accident airplane. When he saw the accident airplane again it was headed in the opposite direction back towards Dillingham. He thought there was a problem and that the accident pilot was intending to land back at the airport. The witness observed the airplane at a low altitude and indicated that the airplane appeared to be under control. The witness thought that the pilot was looking for somewhere to land. At the last minute he saw the wing drop and the airplane start to spin. The witness stated that the airplane impacted the ground in a nose down attitude.
The Safety Board investigator interviewed a witness who was trailing the accident airplane and acting as an escort. He was about 1/2 mile behind the airplane, and then lost sight of it. He initiated a turn in the opposite direction to look for the accident airplane. He saw the airplane headed back towards Dillingham, at a low altitude, apparently looking for a place to land. The witness stated that as the pilot turned left, the airplane appeared to "snap roll" to the right and into the ground.
Review of Airman Certification records disclosed that the pilot held an airline transport pilot certificate with a multiengine land rating, and private pilot single engine land rating. He also held an airframe and power plant certificate. The pilot's personal logbooks were not available for review. The most recent first-class medical was issued on July 13, 2001, with a restriction for corrective lenses.
Review of the airplane logbook disclosed that the airplane had been disassembled in Burbank, California, on October 31, 1999, and shipped to Honolulu. On May 25, 2001, the airplane was inspected and found to comply with the requirements of FAR Part 91. The Experimental - Amateur Built Standard Operating Limitations were also dated May 25, 2001.
TESTS AND RESEARCH
A visual inspection of the engine was conducted with all components found intact and in place. There was no obvious external damage to the engine. The magneto was inspected due to a prior incident where the magneto had lifted out of its holding slot. The owner had remedied the situation by clamping down the magneto. The magneto was found secure on its mounting pad. The magneto was removed for further examination with no signs of failure or wear of the internal wear. No further discrepancies were noted with the engine.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
A toxicological analysis was performed by the Federal Aviation Administration Civil Aeromedical Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, from samples obtained during the autopsy. The results of the analysis were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, ethanol, and drugs.