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On August 6, 2003, approximately 1715 central daylight time, a Yakovlev Yak 52 single-engine airplane, N5C, was destroyed when it impacted terrain following a loss of control while maneuvering near Aledo, Texas. The airline transport pilot and passenger sustained fatal injuries. The airplane was registered to and operated by private individuals. Visual metrological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The local flight originated from the Bourland Field Airport, near Fort Worth, Texas, approximately 1705, destined for Hicks Airfield, near Fort Worth, Texas.
The Safety Board investigator-in-charge obtained multiple statements from witnesses located near the accident site.
The first witness observed the airplane pass just slightly east of her home traveling in a northeast direction, at an approximate altitude of 100-200 feet agl. Approximately one minute later and three-quarters to one mile northeast of the witnesses location, the performed two horizontal 360-degree turns. Subsequently, the airplane "nosed over and she heard the engine accelerate." The witness lost site of the airplane when it descended below a tree line, heard a loud boom and observed dark smoke rising from that area.
A second witness observed the airplane doing "side rolls and attempted to do what appeared to be a barrel roll and realized he was too low, pushed the throttle forward, but did not pull out in time." The witness stated they watched the airplane for approximately 10 minutes.
A third witness observed the airplane conducting a series of dives, spirals, and then "headed straight down, it almost looked intentional."
A fourth witness observed the airplane do "three circles around and then a loop. Subsequently, the airplane "went straight to the ground and crashed."
A fifth witness observed the airplane "doing loops, got too low, and couldn't get back around." During the last loop, "he [the airplane] nosedived behind the tree line."
A sixth witness observed the airplane "flying and doing a couple of hard turns at or almost 90 degrees at approximately 300-500 feet agl. While the airplane was making a hard banking turn, [the airplane] rolled completely over and dove as if it were trying to complete a half-loop." The witness stated the airplane was "obviously too low to ever attempt that maneuver." Subsequently, the witness lost site of the airplane as it descended below a tree line.
The pilot held an airline transport pilot certificate with a airplane multi-engine land rasting, a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land, rotorcraft-helicopter, and an instrument airplane ratings. The pilot held type ratings in B-727, BE-300, BE-1900, HS-125, and MU-300 airplanes. The pilot was issued a second-class medical certificate on January 15, 2003. The Pilot/Operator Aircraft Accident Report (NTSB Form 6120.1/2) indicated the pilot had accumulated a total time of 8,200 hours, of which 120 hours were in the accident make/model airplane. The pilot's logbooks were not located.
The Yak 52 airplane was a tandem seat, fully aerobatic aircraft, capable of G loading limits from +7g to -5g. The Russian-built primary trainer was manufactured 1984. The airplane was powered by a 360-horsepower, nine-cylinder Vendeneyev M-14P radial engine, which drove a two-bladed counter-clockwise rotating, constant speed wooden propeller.
The airplane was imported to the United States from Lithuania in July of 1997. The airplane had accumulated a total of 722.53 hours prior to July 28, 1997. On July 29, 1997, the airplane was issued an experimental airworthiness certificate. The aircraft logbooks for the time period after the aircraft was imported to the United States were not located.
The automated surface observing system at the Fort Worth Meacham International Airport (FTW), near Fort Worth, Texas, was the closest weather reporting station to the accident. Located approximately 14 miles east of the accident site, FTW reported at 1753, wind from 110 degrees at 10 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, sky condition clear, temperature 95 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 62 degrees Fahrenheit, and an altimeter setting of 29.93 inches of Mercury.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector, who responded to the accident site, reported the airplane came to rest upright in a shallow crater near a residential. The wreckage debris distribution path was approximately 80 feet in length. A post impact fire consumed the fuselage from the aft section of the cabin area forward to the firewall, and both left and right ailerons. Both wings leading edge were crushed aft from the wing root out to the wing tip. All of the aircrafts flight controls located within the accident site. Flight control continuity was established to the ailerons, elevator and rudder.
Cockpit instrumentation could not documented due to the fire damage.
The radial engine remained attached to the aircraft firewall. Both wooden propeller blades were separated from the propeller hub.
Both occupants were wearing parachutes.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's District on August 7, 2002. According to the report, "The cause of death...[was] blunt force injuries due to airplane crash." Toxicological tests performed by the Federal Aviation Administration's Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI) were negative for drugs and alcohol.
TESTS AND RESEARCH
On April 11, 2003, at the facilities of Air Salvage of Dallas, near Lancaster, Texas, the NTSB investigator-in-charge and FAA inspector examined the empennage section of the airplane. Two marks were found on the aft topside section of the bellcrank housing; however, no evidence was found of any foreign objects that would have restricted the operation of the flight controls.
The wreckage was released to the owner's representative on January 7, 2004.