On September 29, 2002, about 1615 eastern daylight time, an Aeronca 65-C, N24277, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain while on a final approach to Front Royal-Warren County Airport (FRR) , Front Royal, Virginia. The certificated private pilot sustained serious injuries. No flight plan was filed for the flight that originated at Deck Airport (9D4), Myerstown, Pennsylvania, about 1400. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

According to the pilot, he made a left downwind entry into the traffic pattern for runway 09. When the airplane was abeam the runway numbers, he retarded the throttle to idle (about 1,000 rpm), and maintained an approach airspeed of 60 knots. Everything was "normal" as the pilot turned the airplane onto the base leg. However, when he was on final approach, the airplane went into a flat spin. The pilot attempted to recover from the spin by adding full power and opposite aileron, but there was not enough altitude remaining, and the airplane hit the ground.

The pilot also noted that when he applied full throttle, the engine responded "with plenty of power," and that he "must have passed out for awhile in order to have gotten into this situation."

A witness, who was also a private pilot, observed the airplane fly over the airport lower than the traffic pattern altitude. The airplane flew a "normal" left hand traffic pattern, but on final approach, appeared to be "slower than a Cessna 182." Shortly after the airplane was established on final approach, it turned left, flew north, and continued to descend. The left wing and nose of the airplane "dropped", the tail "came up," and the airplane began to spin before it disappeared behind a tree line.

The airplane was examined on October 1, 2002. Examination revealed leading edge impact damage and a chordwise fracture of the right wing. The firewall, lower section of fuselage, and the overhead center section were also damaged. The left wing, empennage, and tail control surfaces were not damaged.

Control cable continuity was established from all flight control surfaces to the cockpit.

The pilot reported a total of approximately 1,000 flight hours, of which, 300 hours were in make and model. He also reported that there were no mechanical deficiencies.

Weather at Winchester Regional Airport (OKV), Winchester, Virginia, about 14 nautical miles to the north, at 1619, included winds from 100 degrees at 3 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, and clear skies.

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