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On July 27, 2005, about 0940 central daylight time, A Glasair Aviation, Sportsman-GS-2; N105TW, piloted by a commercial pilot, was destroyed on impact with the terrain while in the landing pattern at Wautoma Municipal Airport (Y-50), Wautoma, Wisconsin. The flight was operating as a photographic documentary flight under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time of the accident. No flight plan was on file. The pilot received fatal injuries. The flight had originated from the grass turf runway 26 at Y-50 and the accident occurred between the base leg and final in the traffic pattern.
Witnesses observed the aircraft conduct a steep climbout after takeoff from runway 26, turn downwind, and reduce power with a downwind altitude of about 300-500 feet above ground level. The aircraft then was observed in a number of yaws and then entered a steep left turn. An increase in power was heard, and then the aircraft impacted the terrain. A post impact fire occurred.
One witness, who was working with the cameraman, stated he talked to the pilot and asked him to perform a takeoff and return for a landing and then park. The cameraman stated as the aircraft started a series of yawing maneuvers, he could see the rudder deflection to the left and right as the aircraft yawed.
The pilot held Airline Transport and Flight Instructor ratings issued by the Federal Aviation Administration. The certificate included endorsements for single engine land, single engine sea, multi-engine land, and instrument airplane ratings. The pilot held a second class medical certificate issued on February 1, 2005. The pilot had approximately 5,300 hours total flight time with 4,100 flight hours in single engine aircraft and approximately 40 hours in the make and model aircraft involved in the accident.
N105TW, was a high wing, propeller-driven, fixed landing gear, semi-monocoque design, four-seat airplane, manufactured by Glasair Aviation as a Sportsman GS-2 Model, Serial number 7026. A 180 horsepower, four-cylinder, air cooled, horizontally opposed, fuel injected, Lycoming IO-360-X184, serial number L-1591-X, engine was installed on the aircraft.
The airplane and the engine had approximately 170 hours total time. The last inspection of the airplane and engine were performed on July 14, 2005. The aircraft had accumulated approximately 15 flight hours since the inspection until the date of the accident.
Reported weather from Waupaca Airport, approximately 25 miles North Northeast of the Wautoma Airport, at 0959 cdt was clear with visibility of 10 statute miles, winds from the north at three knots, altimeter setting of 30.13 inches of mercury.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The airplane came to rest on the airport in an open field at latitude 44 degrees 02:49 minutes north and longitude 89 degrees 18:26 minutes west. The aircraft had been consumed in fire except for the empennage.
The aircraft was removed to a sheltered area for a detailed examination. Inspection of the airframe, engine, propeller, and flight controls disclosed no evidence of any preimpact failure or malfunction.
MEDICAL AND PATOLOGICAL INFORMATION
An autopsy was performed on the pilot by the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, under the direction of the Waushara County Medical Examiner.
The Federal Aviation Administration prepared a Final Forensic Toxicology Fatal Accident Report on the pilot. The results were negative for all tests performed.
TEST AND RESEARCH
A copy of a video of the accident flight, taken by a local cameraman, was supplied to the National Transportation Safety Board. The following factual observations were made from the video. The aircraft took off from a grass runway, made a crosswind turn, then made a downwind turn and reduced power. The aircraft then yawed right, yawed left, yawed right, and then yawed left and entered a steep left bank, and the aircraft rolled into about an 80 degree left bank and remained at that bank angle until the aircraft struck the ground in a left wing down attitude. The flaps appeared to be down during the downwind leg, during the yawing maneuvers, and until aircraft impact with terrain. During the left wing down turn to final impact, the right aileron was viewed in an upwards deflection and the left aileron was viewed in a downward deflection. The recorded engine noise increased after the airplane made the second left yaw and entered the final left roll. The rudder deflection during the reversal from the second right yaw appeared to be almost full left travel turning the aircraft into a left yaw and subsequent roll off to the left and final turn. Post impact, fuel was observed to exit the ruptured fuel tanks.
A witness who had flown with the pilot earlier in the year was interviewed and she relayed events of a flight she had made with the accident pilot during Sun and Fun in Florida in April 2005. The flight was made in a Sportsman 2+2 Model Aircraft. She said they took off in a very short distance and it felt as if they were going straight up. When she later asked the pilot when he rotated, she said the pilot said he just waited until the airspeed needle started to flicker and then he rotated the aircraft. She said she was only a student pilot at the time and this was an impressive climb out and they could not see the ground under the nose. She stated that the during the cruise part of the flight, the pilot demonstrated the rudder effectiveness of the aircraft and he (Mike) commented that the aircraft was used for water operations and had a large rudder. She was in the left seat when the pilot demonstrated a series of yaws to her. She said when the plane was yawed to the right she felt like she was flying tandem in that her forward view was out the left window and the aircraft was flying forward in a skid and then when the pilot yawed to the left, he could see out the right window and the aircraft was flying in a skid in that direction.