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On July 24, 2006, at 0652 central daylight time, an Arter RV6, experimental homebuilt airplane, N112WA, registered to a private owner, operating as a 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight, collided with trees and the ground while maneuvering in the vicinity of Hartselle, Alabama. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed. The airplane received substantial damage. The private pilot was fatally injured. The flight originated from Cullman, Alabama, between 0630 and 0645 on July 24, 2006.
A witness stated he was outside of his home just before 0700 when he heard an airplane. The airplane was flying south southeast of his house and made a steep bank estimated at about 45-degrees, and leveled out in the vicinity of Roundtree Field, Hartselle, Alabama, which borders his property. The witness stated he thought the airplane was going to land and went back inside his house. A short time later, his mother departed his home with his daughter. The witness heard a car horn blowing and went outside to investigate. His mother informed him there was an airplane upside down in the field adjacent to his home. The witness went to the field and observed an airplane with one occupant who appeared to be deceased. The witness called the emergency 911 operators and reported the accident at 0801.
Another witness stated he was driving on U.S. Highway 31 at 0650 and noticed a low flying airplane buzzing the City of Hartselle and lining up to land at the airport. The witness arrived at the airport and was going to talk to the pilot about the buzzing, but the airplane was not there. The witness called Huntsville Tower and asked if they had the airplane on radar so they could track it to its destination. The controller informed the witness the airplane was not on there radar. It was reported to the FAA by several pilots at the pilot's home base that the pilot often made high-speed passes and aerobatic maneuvers over and around the airport, and runway area.
Review of information on file with the FAA Airman's Certification Division, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, revealed the pilot was issued a private pilot certificate on June 24, 1997, with ratings for airplane single engine land. The pilot's third class medical was expired. The medical was issued on January 16, 2004, with the restriction "must have available glasses for near vision. "The pilot reported on his application for the third class medical certificate that he had accumulated 1200 total flight hours. The pilot's logbook was not located at the crash site and could not be located by family members. The pilot's total time in make and model airplane and last flight review could not be determined.
The airplane logbooks were not located at the crash site and were not located by family members. The total time on the engine, airframe, and flight hours flown since the last annual or 100 hour inspection could not be determined. The tachometer at the crash site indicated 855.7 hours. The Office Manger at Cullman Airport, Folsom Field, Cullman, Alabama, stated the pilot did not purchase any fuel at Cullman. He further stated that the pilot normally purchased fuel in Hartselle, Alabama.
The 0657 surface weather observation at Huntsville International-Carl T. Jones Field, Huntsville, Alabama, located 13 nautical miles south of the crash site was: wind calm, visibility 9 miles, clear, temperature 75 degrees Fahrenheit, dew point temperature 64 degrees Fahrenheit, and altimeter 30.04.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The wreckage was located in a field adjacent to a private residence located at 3090 Celestial Drive Hartselle, Alabama, and east of the airport in Harvest, Alabama. The FAA conducted the on scene examination of the wreckage, and no photographs were taken. Examination of the wreckage revealed the airplane collided with trees in a descending nose down attitude on a heading of 090-degrees and came to rest inverted on the ground. The propeller and propeller flange separated from the engine assembly. The spinner was crushed and both propeller blades were bent aft with torsional twisting. One propeller blade was torn 6 inches from the propeller blade tip.
The cabin area was damaged. The throttle control was in the full power position. The mixture control was in the full rich position and the carburetor heat was off. The fuel selector valve was in the off position. The seat belt and shoulder harness had been used by the pilot. The flight control cables were intact from the cabin area aft to all flight control surfaces. The left and right main landing gear remained attached to the airframe and were bent rearward.
The right wing remained attached to the airframe. The leading edge of the right wing was damaged. The right aileron remained attached to its attachment hinges. The right main fuel tank was not ruptured and an undetermined amount of fuel was present in the right fuel tank. The right main fuel cap was intact with a tight seal.
The empennage was damaged and the tail wheel remained attached to the airframe. The vertical fin, rudder, left and right horizontal stabilizers, and left and right elevators were damaged.
The left wing was attached to the airframe and pushed aft. The leading edge of the wing exhibited accordion crushing and was torn. The left main fuel tank was ruptured and the left main fuel tank cap had a tight seal. The left aileron was attached to its attachment hinges and the left flap was in the retracted position.
Examination of the engine assembly revealed the engine mounts separated from the engine assembly. The oil pan and carburetor had separated from the engine. The engine exhaust tubes and muffler were damaged. The induction tubes were damaged. The magnetos were not damaged and the impulse coupling was working. The spark plugs were removed and were gray in color and "normal" when compared to the Champion Check A Plug Chart. Visual examination of the pistons through the spark plug holes did not reveal any anomalies. Continuity was established from the crankshaft to the rear gears. Fuel was present in the fuel lines. The fuel servo was destroyed and the engine driven fuel pump was not damaged. The starter and alternator remained attached to the engine. The starter ring gear was separated. The starter drive pinion was not damaged. The vacuum pump and the oil cooler were damaged.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The Forensic Pathologist for the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, Huntsville, Alabama, conducted a postmortem examination of the pilot on July 25, 2006. The reported cause of death was "blunt force trauma." The Forensic Toxicology Research Section, Federal Aviation Administration, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, performed postmortem toxicology of specimens from the pilot. The results were negative for carbon monoxide and cyanide. Ethanol 61 mg/dl was detected in the blood, 183 mg/dl ethanol was detected in the urine, and 112 mg/dl ethanol was detected in the vitreous. Quinine was detected in the urine.
Review of performance data for the RV6 airplane states with a 180 horsepower engine, the airplane will stall at 49 mph.
The wreckage was released to the Hartselle Police Department on July 24, 2006.