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On April 28, 2004, at 1612 central daylight time, a Grumman American AA-1B, N9919L, was destroyed during an in-flight collision with terrain after takeoff from runway 16 (4,500 feet by 75 feet, concrete) at the Dodge Center Airport (TOB), Dodge Center, Minnesota. The flight was being conducted under 14 CFR Part 91 and was not on a flight plan. The pilot sustained fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The personal flight was originating at the time of the accident. The intended destination was Airlake Airport (LVN), near Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Three witnesses at the airport reported that they observed the accident pilot board the aircraft and taxi to the runway for takeoff. They reported the aircraft appeared and sounded normal.
One of these individuals reported that he observed the accident aircraft takeoff toward the south. He stated that the aircraft was airborne about halfway down the runway and he watched it until it was approximately 500 feet above ground level. He estimated the aircraft was approximately three-quarters of the way down the runway at that point. He stated that he returned to his activities and became aware of the accident a few minutes later when one of the other witnesses alerted him. He went out and observed the accident scene and papers blowing in the wind.
The other two witnesses reported that they did not observe the takeoff or the accident sequence.
The pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single and multi-engine land, instrument airplane and glider ratings. The certificate included a limitation of "Airplane multiengine VFR only."
The pilot also held a mechanic certificate with airframe and powerplant ratings, a ground instructor certificate with a basic rating, and an aircraft dispatcher certificate. The pilot was granted an inspection authorization designation associated with his mechanic certificate on April 2, 2004.
According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records the pilot was issued a second class medical certificate on April 30, 2004. The certificate was issued with a restriction of: Must wear corrective lenses and posses glasses for near and intermediate vision.
The pilot's logbook was reviewed. A total flight time of 2,410 hours was recorded in the log. This included 2,385 hours single-engine land airplane flight time and 2,254 hours as pilot-in-command.
The accident aircraft was a 1973 Grumman AA-1B (serial number AA1B-0219). The single-engine aircraft was powered by a Lycoming O-320-B2B engine (serial number L-4794-39). This engine was installed under Supplemental Type Certificate SA2477SW in February 1990, to replace the original Lycoming O-235 series powerplant.
Total aircraft flight time was approximately 4,825 hours at the time of the accident. According to aircraft maintenance logbook entry, the most recent annual inspection was completed on April 4, 2003. At the time of the inspection, the aircraft flight time was 4,803 hours.
According to documentation on file with the FAA, the accident pilot purchased the aircraft in June 2003.
The TOB routine surface weather observation (METAR), recorded at 1615, was: Clear skies; wind from 210 degrees at 27 knots, gusting to 34 knots; and 10 miles visibility.
Conditions at Rochester International Airport (RST), located about 16 miles west of TOB, at 1554, were recorded as: Clear skies; wind from 200 degrees at 25 knots, gusting to 31 knots; and 9 miles visibility. The peak wind during the previous hour was recorded at 1531 and was from 180 degrees at 36 knots.
The captain of a Northwest Airlines DC-9 airplane inbound to RST at 1750 elected to return to Minneapolis (MSP) instead of landing at RST when the recorded winds exceeded the allowable crosswind component of 31 knots. He reported RST tower advised the flight that winds were gusting to 42 knots during their approach to the airport. Only one runway was available at the time and this would have been nearly a direct crosswind to the prevailing winds. He noted that they experienced light and occasional moderate turbulence below 8,000 feet mean sea level in the vicinity of RST.
A pilot on final approach to Austin Municipal Airport, 22 miles south of TOB, at 1610, reported an airspeed loss of 20 knots due to low level wind shear. According to the report, this occurred about 150 feet above ground level (agl).
An AIRMET for occasional moderate turbulence below 12,000 feet mean sea level due to strong low level winds was issued at 1515. The AIRMET included the departure and destination airports. The potential of low level wind shear below 2,000 feet agl over southeastern Minnesota was also noted.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The accident site was located in a farm field approximately 100 yards west of runway 16 and 300 yards from the departure end of the runway. Coordinates of the accident site were recorded from a handheld global positioning system receiver. This unit located the accident site at 44 degrees 0.762 minutes north latitude, 092 degrees 49.797 west longitude.
Impact ground scars were observed approximately 150 feet south of the main wreckage. The impact path was oriented on a 010-degree magnetic course.
Both wings were separated from the airframe at the wing roots and were located in the debris path. They exhibited leading edge crushing. The right aileron and flap remained attached to the wing. The left aileron was attached to the wing. The left flap was separated and located in the debris path. All control surfaces were dented but otherwise appeared intact.
The main wreckage consisted of the engine, cabin area and empennage. The empennage was resting on its left side, supported by the left horizontal stabilizer at the aft end. The rudder and elevator remained attached.
The propeller remained attached to the engine. One blade was buried in the ground. The other blade was bent aft about 30-degrees beginning at a point approximately mid-span. The propeller attachment bolts were intact and secure.
Flight control continuity was not determined due to the condition of the wreckage.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy of the pilot was performed at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, on April 29, 2004.
The FAA Civil Aero Medical Institute toxicology report was negative for all substances tested.
The Federal Aviation Administration was a party to the investigation.