CHI06LA071
CHI06LA071

HISTORY OF FLIGHT

On January 23, 2006, at an unknown time, an experimental amateur built Villarubia RV-6, N242EV, collided with the terrain in Decatur, Nebraska. The pilot was fatally injured. The airplane was substantially damaged. The Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight was operating in visual meteorological conditions without a flight plan. The airplane departed from a road near the accident site at an undetermined time.

There were no known witnesses to the accident. The pilot's wife reported that she last saw him between 1120 and 1130 on the day of the accident. The pilot had told her that he was going to fly and that this was probably going to be his last flight in the airplane as he was preparing to sell the airplane.

The pilot kept the airplane in a building on his farm and routinely used a gravel road near the farm for taking off and landing. One of the pilot's neighbors reported that he saw the pilot around 1130 in the building where he kept the airplane. He stated they waved to each other, but did not speak. This same neighbor found the wreckage in the field and reported it to local authorities at 1534.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Records indicate the pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land, single-engine sea, multi-engine land, instrument, and helicopter ratings.

The pilot's logbook that was provided by his family was marked as logbook number 2 and the beginning date was February 11, 1977. The last entry in the logbook was dated June 28, 2005. According to the logbook, the pilot's total flight time was 21,551 hours. The pilot logged a total of 26 hours of flight time in the accident airplane. An entry in the logbook indicated the pilot received a biennial flight review on June 28, 2005. According to the pilot's family he had extensive flying experience as both an agricultural pilot and as a bush pilot in Alaska.

FAA records indicate the pilot was denied a medical certificate on May 2, 2005. The denial letter dated May 27, 2005, stated the pilot did not meet the medical standards due to his history of malignant melanoma with metastasis.

During an interview with an FAA Inspector, the pilot's wife reported that during the week prior to the accident, doctors informed the pilot that his cancer had spread and he had four to six month to live.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

N242EV was an experimental amateur built Villarubia RV-6, serial number 20778. The low-wing, tailwheel airplane was capable of seating two people. The experimental airworthiness certificate for the airplane was issued on June 29, 1994. According to the aircraft Bill of Sale, the pilot purchased the airplane on May 5, 2005. A new aircraft registration was issued on June 14, 2005.

According to the aircraft logbook, the last conditional inspection on the airplane was performed on June 5, 2005, at an aircraft time of 613.7. The hobbs meter at the time of the accident indicated 631.4 hours. There was no tachometer installed in the airplane when examined after the accident.

The airplane was equipped with a Lycoming IO-360-A1B6 engine, which delivered 200 horsepower. According to the engine logbook the last condition inspection was performed on June 10, 2005, at a total engine time of 1178.55 hours and a time since overhaul of 613.7 hours.

According to a friend of the pilot, he never left the airplane with less than a half load fuel and he always had it full prior to flying. The pilot kept a supply of aviation fuel on his farm, which he used in the airplane.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The weather reporting facility closest to the accident site was located at the Tekamah Municipal Airport (TQE), Tekamah, Nebraska, approximately eight miles south of the accident site. The TQE weather reported at 1454 was: wind 230 degrees at 16 knots, 10 statute miles visibility, clear skies, temperature 9 degrees Celsius, dewpoint minus 4 degrees Celsius, and altimeter 29.97 inches-of-mercury.

An additional weather reporting station was located at Eppley Field (OMA), Omaha, Nebraska. This station was approximately 36 statute miles southeast of the accident site. The OMA weather reported at 1252 was: wind 190 degrees at 15 knots, 9 statute miles visibility, clear skies, temperature 3 degrees Celsius, dewpoint minus 2 degrees Celsius, and altimeter 30.10 inches-of-mercury.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

The airplane came to rest in a open field near the intersection of County Road 42 and Route R. This location was approximately one half mile from the pilot's residence. The airplane impacted the terrain in a nose down attitude and bounced about 15 feet prior to coming to rest. The propeller and left main gear were located at the initial point of impact with the terrain.

The underside of the leading edges of both wings were crushed at a near 45-degree angle. Both fuel tanks were ruptured. Aileron, elevator, and rudder flight control continuity was established, however movement of the rudder cables was restricted under the cockpit flooring due to impact damage.

The propeller hub was separated from the engine and was buried approximately 12-inches deep in the ground at the initial impact site. Both blades were twisted and remained attached to the hub.
The magnetos were positioned to "Both" and the key was broken off. The throttle control was pulled out approximately 2-inches and bent upward, the mixture control was in, and the propeller control was pulled out about 1-inch and was bent upward.

Examination of the engine revealed the fuel servo had separated from its mounting pad and fuel was present inside the servo. The engine was rotated by hand and continuity was established throughout the engine. Thumb compression was achieved on all cylinders and the magnetos produced spark.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot at the Douglas County Hospital, Omaha, Nebraska, on January 24, 2006.

A Forensic Toxicology Fatal Accident Report was prepared by the FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The tests revealed that 0.04 (ug/ml, ug/g) of Diphenhydramine was detected in the blood and an unspecified amount of Diphenhydramine was also detected in the liver.

Diphenhydramine is an antihistamine, often known by the trade name Benadryl. It is commonly used in over-the-counter cold/allergy preparations. In therapeutic doses, the medication commonly results in drowsiness, and has measurable effects on performance of complex cognitive and motor tasks (e.g. flying an aircraft). Reduced performance has been demonstrated even in individuals who feel normal after ingesting the drug. Over-the-counter antihistamines may also interfere with the normal function of the inner ear, potentially increasing susceptibility to spatial disorientation. Warnings in the small print on packaging of medications containing diphenhydramine indicate the possibility of drowsiness with its use

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

A party to the investigation was the FAA.

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