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On January 9, 2003, about 1200 central standard time, an experimental amateur homebuilt Polsgrove Bluegrass Express airplane, N113YE, piloted by a commercial pilot, was destroyed on impact with terrain near Grafton, Illinois. The personal flight was operating under 14 CFR Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed in the area that day. No flight plan was on file. The pilot was fatally injured. The flight originated about 1130 eastern standard time from Georgetown Scott County Airport - Marshall Field (27K), near Georgetown, Kentucky, and was enroute to the Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport (MKC), near Kansas City, Missouri, at the time of the accident.
A witness said, "[The pilot] said he was leaving for MKC to work on restoration of [a] Lockheed Constellation."
Another witness said that he did not see the accident flight depart as he departed before the accident airplane. He stated that the time the accident flight took off was approximately 1130 eastern standard time.
The flight did not reach its intended destination and on January 25, 2003, a missing persons report was filed with the Scott County Sheriff's Department.
On January 25, 2003, the Civil Air Patrol received mission number 03M0153 to search for N113YE. The airplane's route of flight was searched by air and ground teams. The searching did not find the wreckage and on February 19, 2003, the search mission was suspended.
On July 30, 2003, about 1730 central daylight time, the Jersey County Sheriff's Department received a call that N113YE was found near Grafton, Illinois.
The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single and multiengine land and instrument ratings. The pilot also held a second-class medical certificate issued on May 2, 2002. A limitation for corrective lenses was listed on that medical certificate. The pilot reported having 11,700 total flight hours as of the date of that medical certificate.
A relative of the pilot stated:
As [the pilot's] first cousin, I can attest to the fact that there was a
history of strokes and heart problems in the family ... . [The pilot]
did not know his dad ... . I, however, knew his dad well and know
that he had both heart problems and a severe stroke. In fact, his
father died from complications of a stroke in 1990.
Another witness stated:
[The pilot] and I went to dinner at 6:30 pm on [Wednesday January
8, 2003]. We had grilled chicken salads, with different salad
dressings. He left my house around 9:30 pm, to get ready for his
flight to Kansas City. He was very tired. On [January 9], he left 2
messages on my office recorder. He said that he had been 'sick as
a dog' the night before and asked me to call the restaurant and ask
them to check their Blue Cheese dressing for spoilage. He said he
was now feeling fine, the weather looked good, [and] he was going
on to Kansas City.
The experimental amateur homebuilt airplane was certified as a Polsgrove Bluegrass Express based on the Wheeler Express airplane design. The airplane was a low-wing monoplane. The airplane had three fuel tanks with a total capacity of 90 gallons. The reported cruise speed was 160 knots. The airplane had a three-axis autopilot. The airplane's fuselage and empennage were made of composite materials. A Lycoming IO-540 series engine powered the airplane. The airplane's last annual inspection was performed on May 29, 2002.
Weather recorded, on January 9, 2003, at reporting stations near a direct route of flight are listed below.
At 1054, the Blue Grass Airport, near Lexington, Kentucky, recorded weather was: Wind 280 degrees at 10 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition clear; temperature 9 degrees C; dew point -1C; altimeter 29.69 inches of mercury.
At 1053, the Bowman Field Airport, near Louisville, Kentucky, recorded weather was: Wind 250 degrees at 6 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition clear; temperature 10 degrees C; dew point -1C; altimeter 29.67 inches of mercury.
At 1053, the Lawrenceville-Vincennes International Airport, near Lawrenceville, Illinois, recorded weather was: Wind 290 degrees at 10 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition clear; temperature 9 degrees C; dew point -1 degree C; altimeter 29.70 inches of mercury.
At 1123, the Olney-Noble Airport, near Olney-Noble, Illinois, recorded weather was: Wind 290 degrees at 7 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition clear; temperature 9 degrees C; dew point -1 degree C; altimeter 29.71 inches of mercury.
At 1145, the Centralia Municipal Airport, near Centralia, Illinois, recorded weather was: Wind 300 degrees at 10 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition clear; temperature 7 degrees C; dew point -1 degree C; altimeter 29.73 inches of mercury.
At 1254, the St Charles County Smartt Airport, near St Charles, Missouri, located about three nautical miles south of the accident site, recorded weather was: Wind 320 degrees at 19 knots gusts to 27 knots; visibility 10 statute miles; sky condition clear; temperature 8 degrees C; dew point -8 degrees C; altimeter 29.77 inches of mercury.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
According to the Jersey County Sheriff's report, the airplane impacted terrain in a wooded area near Grafton, Illinois. A Federal Aviation Administration Inspector examined the wreckage on-site. Due to the damage the airplane sustained, the inspector was unable to determine if any pre-impact anomalies existed.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The Jersey County Coroner arranged for an autopsy to be performed on the pilot.
The FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI) was not sent tissues or fluids due to decomposition of the body. This precluded CAMI from preparing a Final Forensic Toxicology Accident Report.
The FAA was a party to the investigation.
A direct route of flight from 27K to MKC was plotted. The accident site is along that direct route of flight. The plotted routes are appended to the docket material associated with this case.
The Incident Commander for the Civil Air Patrol stated:
Because of the time lapse between his departure and the report
that he was overdue there was no records of [Flight Service
Station] contacts, [Direct User Access Terminal System]
contacts either by phone, radio or internet. Likewise there were no
records or tapes of communication between the aircraft and [Air
Traffic Control] at any level.