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On February 20, 2003, about 1406 eastern standard time, an Aerofab, Inc., Lake 250, N811JG, registered to a private individual, was destroyed while landing on Lake Weir, Weirsdale, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight from Leeward Air Ranch, Ocala, Florida, to Lake Weir, Weirsdale, Florida. The private-rated pilot, the sole occupant, was fatally injured. The flight originated about 1351, from Leeward Air Ranch Airport.
A witness who observed the airplane on approach to land on the lake with flat water conditions reported the approach was smooth. He further reported that the airplane, "bump once on water then nose dove." A pilot-rated individual, who was on-scene an estimated 10 minutes after the accident, reported the water surface conditions as "glassy", "placid" and "...very little surface ripples or waves." The airplane submerged and came to rest inverted in about 13 feet of water.
The pilot was the holder of a private pilot certificate with airplane single engine land and sea, and instrument airplane ratings. He was the holder of a special issuance third class medical certificate that was issued on December 4, 2002, with an expiration date of December 31, 2003. The limitation stated on the medical certificate was that the holder must have available glasses for near vision. On the application for the December 4, 2002, medical, he listed his total time as 3,450 hours.
The pilot's wife reported her husband had approximately 2,000 hours in seaplane operations.
The airplane was manufactured by Aerofab, Inc., as a Lake model 250, and was assigned serial number 113. It was certificated in the normal category and was equipped with a Lycoming IO-540-C4B5 engine rated at 250 horsepower, and a McCauley HC-E3YR-1RLF constant speed propeller.
A review of the maintenance records indicated that the airplane was last inspected in accordance with an annual inspection on March 22, 2002. The airplane had accumulated 44.3 hours since the inspection at the time of the accident.
A METAR weather observation taken from Ocala International-Jim Taylor Field Airport on the day of the accident at 1355 hours (approximately 11 minutes before the accident), indicates the wind was from 140 degrees at 4 knots, the visibility was 10 statute miles, clear skies existed, the temperature and dew point were 27 and 11 degrees Celsius, respectively, and the altimeter setting was 30.12 inHg.
The pilot was not in contact with any FAA air traffic control facility.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The airplane came to rest in about 13 feet of water located at 29 degrees 00.146 minutes North latitude and 081 degrees 56.120 minutes West longitude, or on the south section of Lake Weir. Examination of the airplane during recovery revealed the landing gears were retracted, and all structural components necessary to sustain flight remained attached or in close proximity to the wreckage. The propeller remained attached to the engine which was separated from the airframe; the engine with attached propeller and wreckage were recovered for further examination.
Examination of the airplane following recovery revealed the fuselage structure was broken at fuselage stations (FS) 99 and 215.88, the nose and empennage remained partially attached. Both rudder push/pull tubes were bent and fractured just aft of the rudder bar attach point, and the single rudder push/pull tube was bent and fractured just aft of the bellcrank with adjustable stops. The elevator push/pull tube was bent and fractured at FS 99, and the rod end near the control column at FS 71 was bent and fractured. An approximate 28-inch long section of elevator push/pull tube between fuselage stations 71 and 99 was not accounted for. Aileron flight control continuity was confirmed. A total of 46 gallons of 100 low lead fuel were drained from the airplane. Of the 46 gallons total, 35 gallons were drained from the fuselage tank, 7 gallons were drained from the left wing tank, and approximately 4 gallons of fuel were drained from the right wing tank. The fuel shutoff valve was found in the "on" position, and the auxiliary fuel pump operationally checked good. The flaps were symmetrically extended 20 degrees, and the landing gear selector handle was in the "up" position.
Examination of the engine revealed crankshaft, camshaft, and valve train continuity; suction and compression was noted in all cylinders with rotation of the crankshaft. Approximately 4 quarts of oil were drained from the oil sump. Examination of the oil suction screen revealed a slight amount of contaminants; the oil filter element was clean. The fuel inlet screen was clean. All spark plugs with the exception of the bottom plug of the No. 1 cylinder and top and bottom plugs of the No. 6 cylinder exhibited deposits that were light tan in color; the No. 1 bottom and No. 6 top and bottom spark plugs had deposits that were dark in color. No obstructions were noted of the air induction system; the air filter was clean. The engine with attached propeller were placed on a test stand and with no components replaced, the engine was started and operated to full power with no evidence of failure or malfunction.
Examination of the propeller revealed one propeller blade exhibited damage on the leading edge of the blade which was approximately 1/2 inch deep and was located approximately 9/16 inch from the tip. Another propeller blade exhibited a slight forward curl of the blade tip; there was no damage to the leading edge of the blade. The third propeller blade exhibited damage to the leading edge of the blade tip which was approximately 3/8 inch deep and was located approximately 1 inch inboard from the blade tip.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
A postmortem examination of the pilot was performed by District 5 Medical Examiner's Office, located in Leesburg, Florida. The cause of death was listed as multiple blunt force trauma.
Toxicological analysis of postmortem specimens was performed by the FAA Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory, located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The results of analysis of the submitted specimens was negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, and ethanol. Diltiazem was detected in the blood and urine; the amount was not quantified.
TESTS AND RESEARCH
The electronic tachometer installed in the airplane at the time of the accident was downloaded at the manufacturer's facility. According to a report prepared by the manufacturer, the flight duration was 15 minutes and the last recorded rpm was 2,600, which occurred sometime within 3 minutes of the accident. The total duration since the master switch was turned on was 30 minutes.
The airplane minus the retained engine and propeller assembly, and electronic tachometer was released at the request of the pilot's wife to Harry Shannon, of Amphibians Plus, on February 22, 2003. The retained components were also released to Harry Shannon of Amphibians Plus, on December 3, 2004.