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On November 10, 2001, about 1622 central standard time, an experimental amateur-built Vermeys T-Bird II, N3KV, piloted by a private pilot, was destroyed on impact with terrain during an uncontrolled descent near Sherburn, Minnesota. The personal flight was operating under 14 CFR Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. No flight plan was on file. The pilot was fatally injured. The local flight originated from a private airstrip near Sherburn, Minnesota, at time unknown.
The Martin County Sheriff's report stated:
... Witnesses that were hunting in the area advised they saw the aircraft
go down. It had started to fall from approximately 500 feet. I was advised
that it appeared that the engine had stalled and that the aircraft began to
spiral before hitting the ground. The first witness on the scene advised
that the engine had been running when he arrived. The parachute on the
aircraft had been deployed. It appeared that the aircraft had hit the ground
nose first. The front tire was bent at its supports. Some of the frame from
the front was imbedded in the ground. The rest of the aircraft had landed
approximately 10 feet behind where the part of the frame had been
imbedded in the ground.
During a telephone interview a witness stated that he watched the airplane fly around for about a half hour. He said the airplane was climbing and descending like a crop duster. He said that he heard the engine shut down. He said that he saw the airplane almost stand there, hung for a second or two, and nosed down. The airplane corkscrewed to the left about three quarters of a turn. He said the airplane did not go directly down and did not glide out of the descent. When the airplane descended below a hill he heard two pops like a shotgun.
The pilot held a private pilot certificate with a single-engine land airplane rating. According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records, his most recent FAA third-class medical certificate was issued on February 2, 2000, with no restrictions listed. The pilot noted he had 120 hours of total flight time at the time of that medical certificate.
The airplane was a single engine experimental amateur-built Vermeys T-Bird II, N3KV, serial number 001KV. The kit manufacturer's specifications stated that the airplane seated two and had a maximum gross weight of 1,000 pounds. Photographs revealed its engine was a Rotax 582 engine.
The kit manufacturer stated:
[The pilot] bought a T-Bird from somewhere. It was wrecked when
a building caved in on it. He wanted to buy parts to fix it and ended
up buying most of an airframe. ... He used some parts from the
wreck and some from the parts we sent him.
Records showed the plane was equipped with a Ballistic Recovery System, Inc. (BRS) Vertical Launch System (VLS) parachute. The pilot noted that it was a "BRS - 5 VLS Model 1200 SN 12698." (See appended specifications)
At 1615, the Jackson Municipal Airport, near Jackson, Minnesota, weather was: Wind 360 degrees at 7 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition clear; temperature 11 degrees C; dew point -3 degrees C; altimeter 30.24 inches of mercury.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The Martin County Sheriff's report stated that the airplane came to rest in "Section 28 Jay Township (300 Block of 80th street)." Pictures of the site revealed that the BRS parachute was deployed and it came to rest on the ground. (See appended photographs) The photographs showed that the airplane impacted the ground with its nose approximately 80 degrees nose down.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The Olmsted County Coroner's Office performed an autopsy on the pilot November 11, 2001. No toxicological samples were taken.
Photographs of the accident site showed level terrain for a forced landing.
A FAA employee representing the Air Traffic Manager for Princeton Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS) stated:
This memo is to confirm that Princeton AFSS Watch Supervisor did
receive a call on November 10, 2001 from a law enforcement official
reporting an aircraft accident. The official stated that the aircraft was
an ultralight and that he wasn't sure if ultralights were regulated. The
Watch Supervisor told the official that ultralight accidents are not
reportable accidents. No further action was taken by the Princeton
AFSS. During the conversation the reporting official did not say that
the aircraft had an N-number.
The FAA was a party to the investigation.