NYC06LA136
NYC06LA136

On June 2, 2006, about 1100 eastern daylight time, an amateur built Lancair 360, N360WH, was substantially damaged when it impacted terrain, while on approach to the Orange County Airport (MGJ), Montgomery, New York. The certificated private pilot was fatally injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed for the flight that departed the Greenwood Lake Airport (4N1), West Milford, New Jersey. The personal flight was conducted under 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91.

The airplane was constructed of fiberglass and built from a kit in 1998. It was issued a special airworthiness certificate in the experimental category by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), on February 29, 2000. According to a bill of sale, the pilot purchased the airplane on July 26, 2004.

According to information obtained from the FAA, the airplane was about 15 miles west-southwest of MGJ, when it was cleared for the instrument landing system (ILS) approach to runway 3. Approximately 5 minutes later, the airplane's radar target disappeared, and air traffic control was unable to contact the pilot. There were no distress calls made by the pilot, and the airplane's radar track was observed to deviate to the right, prior to the last radar return, which was recorded at 1059:54, at an altitude of 1,000 feet mean sea level (msl). The airplane impacted terrain in a wooded area about 4 miles south-southwest of the airport.

The airplane was highly fragmented, and displayed no evidence of fire damage. According to an FAA inspector, the wreckage path was oriented on a heading of 230 degrees, and damage to trees in the surrounding area was consistent with an approximate 60-degree decent angle. The wreckage was moved to a garage, where it was examined by representatives of the airframe kit and engine manufacturers, under the supervision of an FAA inspector.

Examination of the airframe did not provide any evidence of obvious preimpact mechanical malfunctions; and portions of all flight control surfaces were identified. The engine crankshaft was rotated via a rear accessory drive, and thumb compression was attained for all cylinders. In addition, valve train, and camshaft continuity was observed, and a borescope examination of all cylinders did not reveal any preimpact mechanical failures. Both magnetos were separated from the engine; however, they produced spark at all distributor block towers when rotated by hand. The three-bladed propeller was constructed of wood. Two blades were separated at the hub, and a third blade had separated about mid-span.

The airplane's most recent condition inspection was performed on May 2, 2006. At that time, the airplane had been operated for 1,024 total hours; it was estimated that the airplane had been operated for about 400 hours since it was purchased by the pilot.

The FAA inspector reported that the airplane was refueled three days prior to the accident, and had been flown approximately 2.5 hours since the refueling. When filing his flight plan, the pilot stated the airplane contained 3 hours of fuel on board, for the planned 20 minute flight.

The pilot held a private pilot certificate, with ratings for airplane single engine land and instrument airplane. He reported 750 hours of total flight experience on his most recent application for an FAA second class medical certificate, which was issued on November 5, 2005. According to the pilot's logbook, he had accumulated about 890 hours of total flight experience at the time of the accident, and had logged a total of 189 "instrument approaches," which included several ILS Runway 03 approaches into MJG.

An autopsy was performed on the pilot, on June 3, 2006, by the Orange County Medical Examiners Office, Goshen, New York.

The weather reported at MGJ, about the time of the accident, was: variable winds at 6 knots; visibility 9 statute miles; ceiling 700 feet overcast; temperature 19 degrees Celsius (C); dew point 17 degrees C; altimeter 29.90 inches of mercury.

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