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On May 26, 2006, about 2005 central daylight time, a single-engine Aviat A-1B airplane, N166MA, was substantially damaged following a loss of control while maneuvering at a low altitude near Edna, Texas. The private pilot and the pilot rated passenger were fatally injured. The airplane was registered to Flying Farm Boys, Inc., and was being operated by the pilot. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and a flight plan was not filed for the 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight. The local flight originated from a private airstrip near La Ward, Texas, at approximately 1925.
The NTSB investigator-in-charge (IIC) interviewed three eye witnesses.
The first eyewitness was located at the Brackenridge Plantation Campground when she first observed the airplane 'buzzing" the treetops above her location. The witness added that the airplane continued to "buzz" back and forth above the treetops while someone hollered from the airplane on each pass. The witness recorded the registration number (N-Number) from the airplane with the intentions of reporting the low flying airplane to local authorities. According to the witness, the airplane then flew northeast out over the lake and turned into the wind, and appeared "to be almost hovering."
The witness added that the airplane then descended just above the water and appeared to dip its main tires into the water several times as it flew in a southerly direction. The airplane then turned around and flew "very low" back to the north "before pulling nearly straight-up." The airplane ascended for a short time before the nose dropped and the airplane started descending and spinning in a clockwise direction. The airplane completed about three and a half turns before impacting the water in a nose-low attitude. The witness further reported that she heard "no stalling out of the engine" and "no unusual engine sounds" before the airplane impacted the water.
A second witness was inside his motor home when he first heard an airplane "buzz" the treetops. After stepping outside, the witness repeatedly observed the accident airplane "buzz about ten to fifteen feet" above the treetops. The witness reported that at the conclusion of each pass, the pilot would perform a maneuver that resembled a "crop duster returning for another pass." According to the witness, at one point the airplane turned into the wind and appeared to be "sitting still and moving sideways."
The witness added that as the pilot was turning to make, what he assumed was another pass, the airplane began to spiral downward in a clockwise direction. The witness further stated that before impact the engine sounded "wide open." After the impact the witness rode out to the accident site on a watercraft and attempted, along with another individual, to dive down to the airplane. He reported that their rescue attempts were stopped after they received chemical burns from the airplane fuel in the water.
A third witness, who reported being a pilot, was inside his house, located approximately three fourths of a mile west of the campground, when he heard an airplane fly low over his farm. Once outside he observed the accident airplane "buzzing" the campground and "performing wingover type maneuvers." The witness stated that on the airplane's last pass near the campground, he observed the airplane climb steeply to an altitude of approximately 500-700 feet above ground level (agl), start a roll to the left, and then enter a spin to the right. After approximately three spins, the airplane disappeared from his view. The witness estimated that the airplane was in the vicinity of the campground performing low maneuvers for approximately 15 to 20 minutes.
The pilot held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land. His last Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) second-class medical was issued on January 26, 2004, with the limitation of "NOT VALID FOR NIGHT FLYING OR BY COLOR SIGNAL CONTROL."
No personal flight records were located for the pilot and the aeronautical experience listed in this report was obtained from a review of the airmen FAA records on file in the Airman and Medical Records Center located in Oklahoma City. These records indicated that as of a medical examination on January 26, 2004, the pilot reported having accumulated a total of 48-hours.
The passenger held a private pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land. His last Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) second-class medical was issued on February 2, 2006, with no limitations. No personal flight records were located for the passenger and the aeronautical experience listed in this report was obtained from a review of the airmen FAA records on file in the Airman and Medical Records Center located in Oklahoma City. These records indicated that as of the time of his last medical examination on February 2, 2006, the passenger reported having accumulated a total of 900-hours with 60-hours in the previous 6 months.
The 2003-model Aviat Aircraft Inc. A-1B, serial number 2235, was a high wing, fabric covered airplane, with conventional landing gear, and was configured for two occupants in a tandem arrangement. The airplane was equipped with dual controls and could be operated from either seat. The airplane was powered by a direct drive, horizontally opposed, carbureted, air-cooled, normally aspirated, four-cylinder engine. The engine was a Lycoming O-360-A1P, serial number L-39151-36A, rated at 180 horsepower, and was driving a two-bladed constant speed Hartzell propeller.
According to the airframe and engine logbooks, the airplane's most recent annual inspection was completed on June 5, 2005, with an airframe and engine total time of 275 hours. At the time of the accident, the airframe and engine had accumulated approximately 405 hours since new, with 130 hours since the last inspection.
At 1951, the weather observation facility at Victoria Regional Airport (VCT), near Victoria, Texas, located 24-nautical miles southwest from the accident site, was reporting the wind from 150 degrees at 14 knots, visibility 10 statute miles, few clouds at 2,900 feet, temperature 82 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point 69 degrees Fahrenheit, and a barometric pressure setting of 29.80 inches of Mercury.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The wreckage of the single-engine airplane came to rest in about 20-feet of water on Lake Texoma, approximately 500 feet east of the shoreline at the Brackenridge Plantation Campground. The Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates recorded at the shoreline adjacent to the accident site were 28 degrees 56.50 minutes North latitude and 096 degrees 32.22 minutes West longitude, at a field elevation of approximately 51-feet mean sea level (msl). During the recovery, the wreckage of the airplane was floated to the lake's surface and then pulled on shore. All major components of the airplane were accounted for.
The initial on site documentation of the wreckage was conducted by investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The airplane was then recovered to the Jackson County Airport (26R), near Edna, Texas, for further examination.
The fuselage was found separated in two sections near the area of the instrument panel. The forward section consisted of the instrument panel, forward rudder pedals, firewall, and engine. The aft section consisted of the cabin and remaining fuselage.
The throttle was found in the near closed position. The engine mixture and propeller control knobs were found in the full-forward position. The fuel selector was found in the "ON" position. The elevator trim indicator was found in the full nose-up position. The left rear rudder pedal was found fractured. The flap handle was found in the retracted position. The magneto switch was found in the "BOTH" position. The master, alternator field, and avionics master switches were all found in the "ON" position. The fuel primer knob was found locked in the full-in position.
The left wing remained attached to the fuselage by the rear spar fitting and both wing struts. The left main spar was found separated near the fuselage attachment point. The left main spar to fuselage attachment bolt appeared undamaged. The left main spar was also separated approximately five feet outboard from the root. The left wing rear spar was separated about one foot outboard from the root and again near mid span. The left aileron was found complete and attached to the wing via the control cables only. The left aileron control cable was found attached to the aileron bellcrank and continuity was established through to the control stick. The aileron balance cable was found attached to the left aileron and continuity was established through to the right aileron. The left flap was found attached to the wing and cable continuity was established.
The right wing was found attached to the fuselage by the rear spar fitting only. Both wing struts were found attached to the right wing and fuselage; however, they had been severed about one foot up from the fuselage by rescue personnel. The right main spar was found separated near the fuselage attachment point. The right main spar to fuselage attachment bolt appeared undamaged. The right main and rear spar were separated near mid span. The right aileron was found complete and attached to the wing. Right aileron control cable continuity was established from the aileron to the control stick. The aileron control cable had been severed near the lower wing strut by rescue personnel. The right flap was found attached to the wing and cable continuity was established.
The horizontal and vertical stabilizers, along with both elevators and rudder remained attached in their respective positions. Control continuity was established from the rudder and elevator forward to the rudder pedals and control stick respectively.
The engine was suspended from a lift and the upper spark plugs and valve covers were removed. Investigators manually rotated the engine via the propeller. Valve train continuity was established to each cylinder and to the accessory gears. Thumb compression was developed in each cylinder. The left and right magnetos were removed and turned by hand. Spark was obtained to all eight ignition leads. The oil filter was removed and cut open. An examination of the oil filter element revealed no visible contaminants.
The propeller remained attached to the engine crankshaft. Both propeller blades exhibited near symmetrical damage. Both propeller blades were bent aft approximately 90-degrees and exhibited twisting.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The Office of the Medical Examiner of Travis County, located in Austin, Texas, performed an autopsy on the pilot and passenger on May 28, 2006.
The FAA, Toxicology Accident Research Laboratory, located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, conducted toxicological testing on both the pilot and the passenger. Both pilot and passenger tested negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, and tested drugs. Both pilot and passenger tested positive for ethanol; however, according to the FAA's Forensic Toxicology Research Team Lead, it was not possible to discern what amount of ethanol came from consumption and what came from postmortem ethanol production.
The wreckage of the airplane was released to a representative of the owner's insurance company on September 6, 2006.