On November 22, 2004, about 1526 eastern standard time, a Taylorcraft BC12-D, N44263, registered to and operated by a private individual, as a Title 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, impacted with terrain while maneuvering over an open field behind a high school in Cocoa Beach, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The private/instrument-rated pilot received serious injuries, and the airplane incurred substantial damage. The flight originated from Merritt Island Airport, Merritt Island, Florida, earlier that day, about 1500.

A witness stated that he observed the airplane flying east of his location. The airplane was flying from north to the south at about 400 to 500 feet. The engine sounded like it had "no power" but he could hear the propeller turning. The airplane then flew out of his visual range. A few minutes later, the airplane returned approximately along the same flight path heading south again, but at an altitude of approximately 200 to 300 feet. The airplane engine was still "quite" and it sounded like it was "throttled back". The airplane made a "hard" banking turn to the left just after it passed west of the Cocoa Beach High School Stadium and descended out of sight while on a easterly heading.

Another witness stated that she first observed the airplane flying from south to north almost directly overhead and just east of her position. The airplane was "fairly low, slow, and quite", but noted that it was "level", and did not appear to be having any problems. After about five minutes she notice the airplane flying back from the north to the south. Soon after that she then observed the airplane heading from west to east over the ball field and was "coming down". The airplane hit the ground, "bounced", and then crashed into a fence on the east side of the field.

The FAA inspector who responded to the accident stated that there was fuel present in the fuel tanks. The airplane's engine was removed and transported to a facility for an operational test run of the engine under FAA oversight. The airplane engine ran normally, and was capable of developing sufficient power. There was no evidence of any pre-existing mechanical malfunction or failure to the airplane, airplane's systems and engine.

Review of the accident airplane's maintenance records indicate the last annual inspection was on October 15, 2003. The airplane had accumulated about 4/10 of an hour since that time. The airplane was three weeks past due for an annual inspection. The FAA determined the accident airplane was not airworthy at the time of the accident as per Title 14 CFR 91.409.

The pilot's FAA medical records indicated that the pilot held a special third class medical issued on 6/8/2004, with a Federal Air Surgeon approval after the pilot had an examiner deferral for further evaluation. The FAA Aerospace Medical Certification Division issued a special issuance authorization letter on 9/1/2004, after review of the airmen's medical records by division medical personnel. The special third class medical was valid until 6/30/2005.

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