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On July 1, 2005, about 0912 eastern daylight time, an experimental Comp Air 7SLX, N657TT, registered to JSH Air LLC II, crashed following an in-flight loss of control during takeoff from Winter Haven's Gilbert Airport (KGIF), Winter Haven, Florida. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and no flight plan was filed for the 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight from Winter Haven's Gilbert Airport to the Orlando Executive Airport, Orlando, Florida. The airplane was substantially damaged and the private-rated pilot, the sole occupant was fatally injured. The flight was originating at the time of the occurrence.
Several witnesses reported that after takeoff, the aircraft climbed to about 150-200 while in a steep nose-up attitude, then entered a left spin, and impacted on airport property. A postcrash fire ensued shortly after impact. One witness reported that the engine appeared to be developing full power throughout the entire event.
The pilot was the holder of a private pilot certificate with airplane single engine land, airplane single engine sea, and instrument airplane ratings. He was last issued a third-class medical certificate on July 28, 2004; with a limitation requiring that he must wear corrective lenses.
According to FAA records, the pilot was involved in an incident on August 22, 2004, in the accident airplane. The NTSB did not investigate this incident, but FAA records classify the incident as a loss of directional control during landing. As a result of the incident; the pilot was required by the FAA to complete an airman reexamination flight check. The reexamination was conducted at Merritt Island Airport, Merritt Island, Florida on May 12, 2005. In a written statement by the inspector who conducted the reexamination, he stated that the reexamination met the minimum standard for the Private Pilot level.
A review of copies of the pilot's pilot logbook revealed that at the time of the accident, he logged 1,091 total flight hours. He logged his first flight in the accident airplane occurred on April 29, 2004. Between that date and June 26, 2005, the last flight recorded in his logbook; he logged 35.5 hours during 21 flights in the accident airplane. Of the 35.5 hours, 7.2 hours were recorded as flight instruction. The remarks section of the second to last recorded flight dated June 25, 2005 reads, "Getting comfortable in 7TT!"
The airplane was an Aerocomp 7SLX, an experimental, amateur built, kit airplane which was powered by a Walters 601D turbine engine. The airplane was manufactured by JSH Air II LLC in 2004, and was designated the serial number 037SLX1124. The 7SLX utilizes a push-pull pitch control system consisting of three 1¼ inch hollow aluminum torque tubes and 2 two idler bell cranks. The torque tubes and idler bell cranks connect the two center mounted flight control sticks to the elevator control horn which manipulates the elevator. The pitch trim system is electronically controlled and monitored from the cockpit. The airplane was equipped with a pitch and roll trim switch on both the pilot and copilot sticks. The indicators for the trim positions were the light emitting diode (LED) type and were located immediately below the center of the instrument panel, forward of the power and prop control levers. The pitch trim tab was located on the inboard, right portion of the elevator and was driven by an electrically actuated servo.
During the August 22, 2004, incident involving the accident pilot, the aircraft nosed over and came to rest inverted into salt water at the end of runway 11 at Merritt Island Airport. According to maintenance invoices, the aircraft was rebuilt with the assistance of Composite Technologies M.I., Inc. A new engine was installed and a maintenance representative from Composite Technologies M.I., Inc., stated that when the airplane was being rebuilt, all three trim servos, to include the pitch trim servo, were replaced.
An automated weather observation taken at Winter Haven's Gilbert Airport at 0912 local time, or at the time of the accident, indicated that the winds were from 260 degrees at 5 knots and the visibility was 10 statute miles. Scattered clouds existed at 500 feet; the temperature and dew point were 27 and 24 degrees Celsius respectively, and the altimeter setting was 29.98 inHg.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The post crash fire that ensued approximately one minute after impact consumed most of the main wreckage of the airplane including the cabin area, right wing, vertical stabilizer, right horizontal stabilizer, and elevator. The pitch trim tab and pitch trim servo, which were located on the right elevator control surface, were also destroyed by the post crash fire. A portion of the left wing and the left horizontal stabilizer and elevator were detached from the fuselage and located in close proximity to the main wreckage. The main gear assembly and belly pod were also detached from the fuselage and located beside the left wing.
According to the FAA inspector who responded to the accident scene, the airplane wreckage was located on the grass, north of runway 4. A post crash examination of the wreckage by the FAA inspector indicated that that crash was indicative of the airplane yawing and turning left during initial climb out. The examination also revealed that the flight controls for roll, yaw, pitch, and pitch trim were destroyed. Visual examination of the engine revealed no obvious signs of in-flight malfunction.
MEDICAL AND PATHILOGICAL INFORMATION
Postmortem examination of the pilot was performed by District 10 Medical Examiner's Office, located in Winter Haven, Florida. The cause of death was listed as blunt impact.
Toxicological testing of specimens were performed by the FAA Toxicology and Accident Research Laboratory (CAMI), located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and also by the University of Florida Diagnostic Reference Laboratories. The results of analysis by CAMI and the University of Florida Diagnostic Reference Laboratories were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, and for ethanol. Both laboratories detected Lidocaine and Acetaminophen in the submitted blood and urine specimens. Additionally, CAMI detected Propranolol in the submitted blood and urine specimens. The University of Florida Diagnostic Reference Laboratories do not test for Propranolol.