NYC02LA195
NYC02LA195

On September 24, 2002, about 1500 eastern daylight time, a homebuilt Rans S-12, N7011Y, was substantially damaged when it struck a cable while in cruise flight near Mercer, Maine. The pilot was fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan had been filed for the personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

The accident pilot was accompanied by a friend, who was flying a second airplane. According to the pilot's friend, they departed Bowman Field in Livermore Falls, Maine, and flew to the Central Maine Airport (OWK) in Norridgewock, Maine. The pilot's friend said they flew along the Sandy River, and he flew about 500 feet above the ground in the vicinity the river, while the accident pilot was "flying literally on the river." They landed at OWK, and departed without shutting the engines down. After takeoff they flew back over the river, toward Farmington, Maine. The pilot's friend last observed the accident airplane over the river, about a half mile from OWK.

After landing in Farmington, the pilot's friend waited for the accident pilot and when the pilot did not arrive, he flew back to OWK. He then departed OWK, and flew 200 feet over the Sandy River, searching for the pilot's airplane. He observed the airplane suspended in a cable over the river.

The airplane struck the middle of, and became entangled in a United States Geological Survey cable, which was about 20 to 25 feet above the river and about 3 miles west-southwest of OWK. Additionally, the pilot's friend said that the accident pilot was aware of the cable because they had talked about it during a previous flight along the river.

Examination of the airplane by a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector did not reveal any mechanical malfunctions. The inspector noted that the engine rotated freely, and evidence of rotation was observed on the propeller. Additionally, a strong smell of fuel was present at the accident site.

The pilot had purchased the airplane about two months prior to the accident. A check of the FAA Airman database for the accident pilot did not reveal any pilot or medical certificate information. The pilot's friend estimated that the accident pilot had flown about 20 "solo" hours in the accident airplane.

The weather reported at an airport about 16 miles southeast of the accident site, at 1455, included a visibility of 9 miles, clear skies, and winds from 290 degrees at 3 knots.

An autopsy was performed on the pilot, on September 25, 2002, by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Augusta, Maine.

Toxicological testing performed on the pilot by the FAA Toxicology Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, was positive for tetrahydrocannabinol carboxylic acid, an inactive metabolite of tetrahydrocannabinol (the major active component of marihuana).

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