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On March 13, 2005, at 1506 eastern standard time, a Grumman American AA-5, 6511L was destroyed when it impacted terrain, shortly after takeoff from the Lawrence County Airpark (HTW), Chesapeake, Ohio. The certificated private pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the local personal flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.
A witness, who was at the airport, stated that he observed the accident airplane approach runway 26. The airplane appeared to be high, and as it passed over the runway, it executed a go-around. The airplane continued around the pattern, and returned to approach runway 26 a second time. The second landing attempt appeared to be fast, and the intended touchdown point was "far down the runway." The witness looked away from the airplane, and seconds later, he heard the engine power being applied. The witness then observed the airplane become airborne, with a nose high attitude, and clear the trees located at the end of the runway. The airplane continued in a nose high attitude and the tail began to wobble, followed by the right wing dropping. The airplane then descended behind the tree line out of the witnesses view.
A second witness, who was monitoring the Common Traffic Advisory Frequency at HTW with a handheld radio, also observed the accident airplane approach runway 26. The airplane appeared to be fast, and as it passed the mid-point of the runway, it was still 25-30 feet above the ground. The airplane passed out of the witness's sight; however, the witness then heard the pilot in the accident airplane transmit, "…Guys we're going to crash…"
A third witness heard an airplane rev its engine, and looked up to observe the accident airplane in a steep climb. The airplane then made a right hand bank, before stalling, and subsequently descending nose first to the ground.
The accident occurred during the hours of darkness, at 38 degrees, 25.11 minutes north longitude, 82 degrees, 30.17 minutes west latitude, at an elevation of 561 feet.
The pilot held a private pilot certificate for single-engine land airplanes. His most recent application for a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) third-class medical certificate was issued on January 11, 2004. The pilot reported that he had accumulated about 250 hours of total flight experience on the medical application.
The weather reported at an airport 4 miles south of HTW, at 1451, included calm winds, clear skies, and 10 statute miles of visibility. The temperature was 37 degrees Fahrenheit, and the dew point 27 degrees Fahrenheit.
Approximately 30-foot tall trees were located about 200 feet from the departure end of runway 26.
The wreckage site was located in a field, consisting of soft terrain, about 1/4 statute mile from HTW, on an approximate magnetic heading of 280 degrees. The accident site was disturbed prior to the arrival of Safety Board personnel on March 14, 2004, due to emergency rescue procedures. In addition, the area had been doused with water and firefighting agents to contain the postcrash fire.
Next to the impact crater was a section of the right wing, the right flap, and the right wing tip.
The main fuselage was located about 65 feet from the impact crater, oriented on about a 260-degree magnetic heading, and was consumed by the postcrash fire. All crew and passenger seats were destroyed and separated from their attachment points.
All major control surfaces of the airplane were accounted for at the accident scene.
The engine was separated from the main fuselage. The propeller remained attached to the engine. Both propeller blades were twisted, and exhibited chord-wise scratches and leading edge nicks.
The left wing remained attached to the main fuselage and was consumed by the postcrash fire.
The postcrash fire also consumed the empennage.
Flight control continuity was established from the cockpit area to all of the flight control surface locations. The rudder and stabilator control stops were examined, and did not reveal any abnormalities.
The overhead canopy and right wing aileron were located about 20 feet beyond the main wreckage.
The engine was recovered from the accident site and examined. The crankshaft was rotated via the propeller. Compression and valve train continuity was confirmed to all cylinders. The top and bottom spark plugs were removed and examined. Their electrodes were intact. The number 1 and 3 cylinder top and bottom sparkplugs were light gray in color, while the number 2 and 4 cylinder top and bottom sparkplugs were oil soaked. Both the left and right magnetos could not be tested due to impact and fire damage.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The FAA Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma conducted toxicological testing on the pilot.
The airplane wreckage was released on March 17, 2005 to a representative of the owners insurance company.