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On June 16, 2004, about 1441 Pacific daylight time (PDT), a Canadian registered North American Aviation, Inc, SNJ 5 airplane, C-GKGE, sustained substantial damage after colliding with terrain approximately eight miles east of Dorothy Scott Field, Oroville, Washington. The airplane was being operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) cross-country flight under the provisions of Title 14, CFR 91, when the accident occurred. The private pilot, the sole occupant of the airplane, was fatally injured. The flight originated from Dorothy Scott Field approximately 10 minutes prior to the accident.
On the day of the accident the pilot ferried the airplane from Penticton, BC, Canada (CYYF), to Dorothy Scott Field in Oroville for a 100-hour inspection and to clear US Customs. Following the maintenance inspection and customs detail, the pilot departed Oroville. Shortly after takeoff, the pilot returned to the departure airport after experiencing a problem with the airplane's global positioning system (GPS). The owner of Star Airmotive stated repairs to the GPS were made (reattaching a ground wire) and the pilot departed at about 1330.
Witnesses reported hearing the airplane fly up the valley east of Oroville. One witness stated the airplane was running "...smooth, strong and easy", but didn't seem to be "pulling." A second witness reported that the airplane was flying low up the valley and the engine was running smooth.
A representative from the deceased pilot's estate reported that the accident airplane was in negotiations to be sold pending inspections and delivery to the buyer location in Indiana.
The pilot held both Canadian and US pilot certificates. The pilot held a US private pilot certificate with single engine land and instrument ratings, a US commercial pilot certificate with a rotorcraft - helicopter rating and a Canadian private pilot certificate.
The pilot's most recent medical certificate, a Canadian category three certificate, was issued on March 11, 2003. The medical certificate contained a limitation requiring the pilot to wear glasses or contact lenses.
On the before mentioned medical certificate application, the pilot indicated that he had accumulated approximately 4,238 total flight hours, including approximately 146 hours in the twelve months preceding the application date.
The aircraft's journey log indicated that the pilot had accumulated approximately 51 flight hours in the aircraft since July of 1999.
North American Aviation manufactured the airplane, a SNJ 5, in 1944. The single-engine airplane was powered by a Pratt & Whitney R-1340, nine-cylinder radial engine rated at 600-horsepower. The airplane was originally developed as a trainer for the US military.
Logbook records indicated the airframe was rebuilt and the engine overhauled in 1994. The engine total time at overhaul was 8,725 hours; the airframe total time could not be determined.
Maintenance records indicated the airframe and engine had accumulated approximately 300 hours between the rebuild/overhaul and the time of the accident.
Maintenance records indicated that the last inspection, a 100-hour inspection, was completed on June 16, 2004. No open discrepancies were noted.
The closest weather observation facility is the Omak Airport, Omak, Washington (KOMK), located approximately 30 miles south of the accident site.
The METAR observation for KOMK at 1453 PDT reported in part: winds from 010 degrees true at 16 knots, gusting to 21 knots; visibility 10 statute mile; clear skies; temperature 28 degrees Celsius (C); dew point 4 degrees C; altimeter setting 30.14 inches.
The estimated density altitude at Omak, field elevation 1,301 feet mean sea level (MSL), was 2,946 feet MSL.
Dorothy Scott Field (K0S7) is located approximately two miles northeast of Oroville. The airport elevation is approximately 1,064 MSL. The airport is situated in a valley with rising terrain to the east and west.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
Personnel from the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration accessed the wreckage site on the morning of June 17.
The wreckage was located approximately 5.2 nautical miles east of the airport at 48 degrees 56.065 minutes' north latitude and 119 degrees 17.112 minutes' west longitude. The elevation of the wreckage site was approximately 3,023 feet above sea level. The wreckage came to rest in an open field adjacent to Circle road.
The first identified point of contact was a furrow type ground scar approximately 35 feet northwest of Circle road. The magnetic bearing between the ground scar and the main wreckage was approximately 119 degrees. Multiple fragments of green glass were observed along the wreckage path approximately 45 feet south-southeast of the initial ground scar.
The engine assembly, to include the propeller and engine mount assembly, was located along the wreckage path approximately 85 feet south-southeast of the initial ground scar. The assembly separated from the firewall as a unit and came to rest in the confines of a large furrow type ground scar. Thermal and impact related damage was noted to the entire assembly. The propeller blades (2) and hub assembly was intact and both blades were observed in the low pitch configuration. Mid-span aft bending, approximately 30 degrees, was noted to propeller blade "A". Minimal damage was noted to the leading edge of the blade. Forward bending, less than 5 degrees, was noted to propeller blade "B" and leading edge damage was minimal.
The entire wing assembly (tip to tip) was located along the wreckage path approximately 130 feet south-southeast of the initial ground scar. The assembly separated from the fuselage as a unit.
Extensive aft bending and rearward crushing (accordion) was observed to the outboard section of the right wing. The wing section was open and rotated upward approximately 85 degrees.
The center section of the wing assembly was intact. Thermal and impact related damage was observed throughout the assembly. The landing gear was intact and observed in the retracted position.
Thermal and impact related damage was noted to the inboard section of the left wing. The wing assembly was intact, however aft bending and leading edge damage was noted to the outboard section of the assembly. The inboard section of the aileron was intact, however the outboard section had separated at the attach point.
The fuselage was located along the wreckage path approximately 190 feet south-southeast of the initial ground scar. The fuselage, to include the empennage assembly, come to rest in the upright position leaning on its port side. Heavy impact related damage was noted to the forward section of the fuselage, instrument panel, forward canopy, cockpit controls and pilot compartment. The forward section of the cockpit was torn open exposing the system components and cockpit furnishings. The fuel selector valve was observed in the "reserve tank" position.
The aft cockpit was intact and little impact related damage was noted. The aft canopy was undamaged and observed in the forward position. The aft flight controls and instrumentation was intact and no anomalies were noted.
The empennage was whole and little damage was observed to the assembly. The fixed and moveable flight control surfaces remained attached in their respective positions and continuity was established from the control surfaces to the cockpit. Vertical crushing and bending was noted to the lower section of the rudder assembly.
All aircraft components were located along the wreckage path.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy was conducted by the Chelan County Coroner's Office, Wenatchee, Washington, on June 19. According to the autopsy report, the pilot's cause of death was attributed to multiple blunt force injuries. The manner of death was listed as accidental.
The FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute (CAMI), Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed toxicological testing of specimens of the pilot. According to the postmortem toxicology report, results were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, ethanol and controlled substances.
Refer to the attached toxicology report for specific values and test parameters.
ADDITIONAL DATA AND INFORMATION
On July 19, representatives from the Spokane Flight Standards District Office and Gustin Aviation, Inc, examined the airplane's engine and reported that no evidence was found to indicate a mechanical failure that would have resulted in a loss of engine power.
On November 16, 2004, the airplane wreckage and associated components, located in Deer Park, Washington, was released to the pilot's estate, Penticton, BC, Canada.