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On October 8, 2005 at 1633 central daylight time, a Grumman F6F, N4994V, registered to Air Museum, and operated by the Airline Transport Pilot, collided with power lines, fell to the ground and burst into flames during cruise flight in Monterey, Tennessee. The business flight was operated under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91, and visual flight rules. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the trip to Little Rock, Arkansas. The pilot received fatal injuries and the airplane sustained substantial damage. The flight originated in Sevierville, Tennessee, on October 08, 2005, at an undetermined time.
The pilot told several people at the airport that he was going to follow I-40 to Little Rock, Arkansas. Motorists traveling on I-40, stated that they observed the airplane directly over the westbound lanes at an altitude of approximately 100 feet above the ground. One motorist stated that he was driving about 75 miles an hour as the airplane flew directly over him. He stated that he noticed that it was a vintage 1940's Hellcat complete with US Navy markings along the fuselage. He estimated that the airplane's ground speed was about 100 knots. He said that when the airplane passed over him he was just east of the 290 mile marker in Cookeville, Tennessee. He said that the Cumberland Plateau was marked by extremely rough mountainous terrain, with 500-700 foot peaks on either side of the highway. On the day of the accident he had noticed that the peaks were obscured by a low, 500 foot ceiling. He cracked his window to listen for the airplane engine to determine if the plane had power, and the engine sounded fine with no apparent misses or roughness. At first the witness thought that the pilot might be attempting to land on the westbound lanes of the highway, however, he observed that the airplane was in a clean configuration with flaps and gear up, and showed no apparent desire to make an emergency landing. According to the witness, as the road curved slightly to the left, multiple high tension wires came into view running across the westbound lanes. He observed the airplane attempt to pass under the wires and strike the lowest wire and the severed line fell across the roadway. The witness lost sight of the airplane and assumed the pilot was able to recover and flew out of view. The witness attempted to call 911, but was unable to get a signal. He continued on to his destination. Other witnesses stated similar observations but observed the airplane crash into a wooded area and burn.
A review of information on file with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airman's Certification Division, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, revealed the pilot was issued an airplane single engine land with a commercial pilot rating and airplane multiengine land with a airline transport pilot rating, issued on July 24, 2003. The pilot's logbooks were not not recovered for examination. Review of the FAA aeromedical records showed that the pilot held a second class medical certificate issued October 04, 2004 with no limitations.
The airplane is a single seat, fixed wing 1944 Grumman F2F with tricycle landing gear. The airplane is powered by one reciprocating, fuel injected Pratt & Whitney 22800 engine. A review of maintenance records revealed that he last conditional inspection was conducted on February 1, 2005. At the time of the accident, the tachometer read 2141 hours.
At 1653, Crossville Cumberland County Airport, Crossville, Tennessee, weather reporting facility, reported winds variable at 3 knots, 5 statue miles of visibility, overcast 500 feet, in mist, Temperature 13-degrees Celsius, dew point 11-degrees Celsius, and altimeter 29.89 inches of mercury.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
Examination of the wreckage on scene found the airplane consumed by fire with the engine separated from the airplane and resting against a tree. Examination of the engine found high tension cable wrapped around the crankshaft between the prop and engine case.
MEDICAL AND TOXICOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The Forensic Toxicology Research Section, FAA, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma performed postmortem toxicology of specimens from the pilot. The results were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, and ethanol. dextromethorphan was detected in the liver and the kidney. According to the FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI) website, Dextromethorphan is a "cough suppressant commonly used in over the counter preparation."