DFW05LA138
DFW05LA138

On May 28, 2005, approximately 1620 central daylight time, a single-engine Stearman D75 bi-plane, N56259, was destroyed when it impacted terrain following an in-flight collision with an unmarked power line while maneuvering near Taylor, Texas. The private pilot, sole occupant of the airplane, was fatally injured. The airplane was registered to and operated by the pilot. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The local flight originated from the pilot's private strip near Taylor, Texas, at an unknown time.

Multiple witnesses located in the vicinity of the accident site provided written statements. Below is a summary of their observations:

The first witness, who was located at the back of his house said, "he saw the plane flying low and hit power lines, he [the plane] tried to pull up with wires attached to the plane." The witness further stated, that the plane flew over the gazebo and crashed into a field.

A second witness, stated that she observed the airplane coming at them from the east, "he [the plane] was low and clipped a power line." "The plane started to come apart over my head, with the power-line attached." The witness stated that the airplane tried to to pull-up and "caught or clipped" the trees around a gazebo building. The airplane "crashed about 150 yards behind us."

A third witness sitting at a table facing northeast, stated he saw an airplane heading southwest. "The plane hit both wires on the power line, crossed overhead and crashed close to the railroad tracks and burned."

A fourth witness, reported that he saw a plane approaching from the east of Highway 95. "As he was approaching I noticed some power lines located in his path, I saw the plane fly into the lines and stretch them." "I heard the line break and saw the plane fly over the trees." The witness ran to the crash location, but could not get to the pilot due to the intensity of the fire.

In interviews with a Federal Aviation Administration inspector, who traveled to the accident site, two of the witnesses reporting knowing the pilot and had often seen the airplane fly low over the area. They also said that before impact with the electric power line, the airplane and engine appeared to be operating normally. The witnesses added, the accident pilot was scheduled to attend a party [with them] that evening, at their residence he was flying over.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate with an airplane single-engine land rating. The pilot's last FAA third-class medical was issued on April 19, 1998. At that time, the pilot reported he had accumulated 725-hours of flight time. The pilot's logbooks were not located during the course of the investigation.

The accident airplane was 1942 model 75, manufactured by Boeing Stearman and is commonly known as a Stearman. The model 75 is a conventional single-leg landing gear, tandem place biplane. The airplane was powered by a Pratt & Whitney R-985 radial engine. The airplane's airframe/powerplant maintenance logbooks were not recovered. The airplane was normally hangared on the pilot's private property, and flown from his grass private strip.

At 1555, the automated weather observing system at Georgetown Municipal airport (GTU), near Georgetown, Texas, approximately 15 miles west of the accident site, reported wind from 200 degrees at 12 knots, 10 statute miles visibility, a clear sky, temperature 88 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 63 degrees Fahrenheit, with an altimeter setting of 29.82 inches of Mercury.

A Federal Aviation Inspector (FAA), who traveled to the accident site, reported, the aircraft was destroyed by a post-crash fire and impact. He also stated, the airframe was twisted and broken. Additionally, the wooden structural members were largely broken and charred.

An examination of photographs taken of the accident airplane revealed that the aircraft impacted in an open field, where a post crash fire ensued. The engine had separated from the airframe, and lay just a few feet beyond the airframe wreckage. The top propeller blade, visible in a one of the photographs, displays polishing and cord-wise scratching from approximately mid-span to the outer tip. Details of what remains of the airframe, empennage, and one wing appears in one location, however, largely consumed by the fire.

An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Travis County Medical Examiner's office of Austin, Texas.

Toxicological tests on the pilot were conducted by the FAA Toxicology Accident Research Laboratory, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

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