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On July 3, 2005, at 1220 eastern daylight time, a Denmark Mini-Max amateur-built experimental airplane, N11949, registered to and operated by the private pilot, collided with the ground shortly after takeoff from Covington Municipal Airport, Covington, Georgia. The personal flight was operated under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91 with no flight plan filed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The private pilot received fatal injuries, and the airplane was destroyed. The flight departed Covington Municipal Airport about 1218.
According to the FAA inspector who responded to the scene, witnesses reported that the pilot was the builder of the airplane and that the accident flight was the airplane's first flight. The witnesses reported that, after the airplane took off from runway 10, it climbed slowly to about 100 to 200 feet of altitude. The witnesses reported hearing what sounded like engine power adjustments, and the airplane was near the end of the runway when it banked left about 30 degrees and made a 180-degree turn to the downwind. The airplane then banked to the left and dove straight into the ground.
The pilot, age 57, held a private pilot certificate with a rating for airplane single-engine land. His most recent third-class airman medical certificate was issued May 4, 2000, with the restriction "holder shall wear corrective lenses." On his application for the medical certificate, the pilot reported "135 est." total flight hours with "2 est." flight hours within the past 6 months. The FAA inspector's review of the pilot's logbook showed the pilot recorded about 140 total flight hours. The inspector stated the logbook contained no record of current flight review in accordance with Title 14 CFR Part 61.56.
The wood and fabric, single-seat, tailwheel airplane was powered by a Rotax 447 engine. A review of FAA records revealed an aircraft registration certificate was issued April 18, 1997, and a special airworthiness certificate and operating limitations were issued November 9, 2002. According to the FAA airworthiness records, a weight and balance table identified the airplane as a 1600R model and showed its weight scale readings totaled 335 pounds. According to specifications information obtained from the JDT Mini-Max, LLC, web site, the maximum gross weight of the 1600R model airplane is 560 pounds, the stall speed is 28-31 mph, and it is equipped with a 5-gallon fuel tank.
A weather reporting station located at Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport, located 29 nautical miles west of the accident site, reported at 1151 conditions were winds calm, visibility 7 statute miles, scattered clouds at 8,500 feet, cloud ceilings broken at 13,000 feet, temperature 27 degrees centigrade, dew point 22 degrees centigrade, altimeter setting 30.00 inches. Witnesses at the accident airport reported very light winds from the northeast at the time of the accident.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
Examination of the accident site revealed the wreckage was located approximately mid-field in the grass between the runway and the taxiway. The fuel system was breached, and fuel odor was present at the site. The airframe showed extensive crush damage, and the Ballistic Recovery System (BRS) parachute was stowed with no evidence of an attempt to deploy it. BRS personnel assisted first responders via telephone to disarm the system, and the airplane was recovered for further examination. Examination at a recovery facility revealed no evidence of pre-impact malfunction of the flight control systems was determined. Damage precluded engine testing.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Division of Forensic Sciences, on July 5, 2005. The report stated the cause of death was "generalized blunt force trauma." According to the report, the weight of the body at autopsy was 257 pounds.
Toxicology was performed on specimens from the pilot by the FAA Forensic Toxicology Research Team, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The report stated no ethanol and no drugs were detected in the urine, and 630 (mg/dl) glucose was detected in the urine. According to the report, "elevated postmortem urine glucose levels could be caused by diabetes mellitus or several other medical conditions, which may or may not have been a factor in the accident."
Review of the pilot's medical records maintained by the FAA Aerospace Medical Certification Division revealed that, on the pilot's most recent application for a third-class airman medical certificate, dated May 3, 2000, the pilot reported "no" for diabetes. Examination performed in conjunction with that application noted that the pilot weighed 229 pounds and indicated, under "urinalysis," "sugar - neg." Review of the pilot's previous application for a third-class airman medical certificate, dated January 15, 1998, revealed that the pilot reported "no" for diabetes. Examination performed in conjunction with that application noted that the pilot weighed 268 pounds and indicated, under "urinalysis," "sugar - neg," with comments, "transient glycosuria...rechecked urine - negative."
Title 14 CFR Part 61.56, "Flight Review," states, in part, that "(c)...no person may act as pilot in command of an aircraft unless, since the beginning of the 24th calendar month before the month in which that pilot acts as pilot in command, that person has, (1) Accomplished a flight review given in an aircraft for which that pilot is rated by an authorized instructor; and (2) A logbook endorsed by an authorized instructor who gave the review certifying that the person has satisfactorily completed the review."
Title 14 CFR Part 61.23, "Medical certificates: Requirement and duration," states, in part, that "(a)...a person: (3) Must hold at least a third-class medical certificate, (i) when exercising the privileges of a private pilot certificate," and that, for persons age 40 or older on the date of the medical examination, "(c)(3) a third-class medical certificate...expires at the end of...(ii)(b) the 24th month after the month of the date of the examination shown on the certificate."
The wreckage was released to a recovery specialist on August 29, 2005.