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On August 23, 2006, about 1430 eastern daylight time, an amateur-built Questair Q20, N2QV, piloted by a private pilot, was substantially damaged during a forced landing following a reported loss of engine power near Big Rapids, Michigan. The airplane was diverting to the Roben-Hood Airport (RQB), Big Rapids, Michigan. The 14 CFR Part 91 personal flight was operating in visual meteorological conditions and was on an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan. The pilot received fatal injuries. The flight originated from the Fairfield County Airport, Winnsboro, South Carolina, about 1129. The intended destination was the Frankfort Dow Memorial Field Airport (FKS), Frankfort, Michigan.
While in cruise flight, the pilot declared an emergency and was attempting to divert to a nearby airport. The airplane struck trees and terrain about 4 miles from the airport.
The pilot held a private pilot certificate with airplane single-engine land and instrument airplane ratings. His most recent third class medical certificate was issued on December 12, 2005 and listed no limitations. The pilot reported having a total of 3,000 flight hours as of his most recent medical certificate application.
The airplane was an amateur-built Questair Q20 airplane, serial number 25. The airplane was a single-engine monoplane of predominately aluminum construction. It was equipped with retractable tri-cycle landing gear and was configured to seat two occupants in a side-by-side seating arrangement. The airplane was powered by a Continental model IO-550-G, serial number 679023, engine. The engine was rated to produce 280 horsepower at 2,500 revolutions per minute.
At 1416, the weather conditions at RQB, about 4 miles from the accident site were: Wind 220 degrees at 4 knots; Visibility 10 statute miles; Current weather light rain; Sky condition 3,000 feet scattered, 3,600 feet scattered; Temperature 21 degrees Celsius; Dew point 17 degrees Celsius; Altimeter setting 30.04 inches of Mercury.
At 1438, the weather conditions at the RQB were: Wind 160 degrees at 4 knots; Visibility 10 statute miles; Current weather light rain; Sky condition 1,400 feet scattered, 1,900 feet broken, 2,700 feet broken; Temperature 21 degrees Celsius; Dew point 17 degrees Celsius; Altimeter setting 30.01 inches of Mercury.
At 1129, N2QV contacted the Columbia air traffic control tower (ATCT) and obtained an IFR clearance to FKS. The airplane was then handled by several air traffic control facilities before being handed off to the Grand Rapids ATCT, North Radar (NAR) controller at 1405. The following is an excerpt from the transcript of communications between N2QV, NAR, Grand Rapids ATCT South Radar (SAR), and the Minneapolis ARTCC Sector 2 (ZMP) controllers from 1416 to 1423.
1416:24 N2QV approach the alti the turbulence smoothed out at seven
1416:29 NAR november two quebec victor roger
1416:31 NAR sector two rapids
1416:33 ZMP two
1416:34 NAR apreq two quebec victor descending to six thousand he said it was moderate turbulence at eight thousand
1416:40 ZMP uh descending to six thousand is approved
1416:42 NAR here he comes thanks
1416:43 ZMP m g
1416:44 NAR b k
1416:45 NAR november two quebec victor descend and maintain six thousand contact minneapolis center one two zero point eight five
1416:51 N2QV one two zero point eight five and cleared down to six thank you
1418:51 ZMP november two quebec victor with minneapolis
1418:56 NAR rapids
1419:00 ZMP yeah rapids two quebec victor did not come over yet
1419:01 NAR i'll try him
1419:02 ZMP okay
1419:03 NAR b k
1419:15 N2QV approach uh two quebec victor we need uh an emergency landing we've just lost power
1419:26 NAR november two quebec victor you're supposed to be on Minneapolis center one two zero point eight five
1419:31 N2QV sorry about that but we have an emergency at this point
1419:33 NAR november two quebec victor understand uh say intentions
1419:37 N2QV uh we need a quick landing if we can get one
1419:41 NAR november two quebec victor where would you like to land
1419:43 N2QV uh whatever's closest uh q r k b uh r q b is whatever it is
1419:54 NAR november two quebec victor descend and maintain three thousand and you are now cleared to the r q b airport via direct
1420:01 N2QV okay uh you have a frequency for them
1420:10 NAR standby
1420:21 NAR november two quebec victor say nature of emergency
1420:25 N2QV no power
1420:47 ZMP en at three thousand scattered at thirty six
1420:49 SAR all right thank you
1420:51 NAR you got a frequency there
1421:00 NAR november two quebec victor you going direct to r q b right now
1421:03 N2QV we're doin our best
1421:07 NAR and you want a frequency for the unicom there
1421:10 N2QV uh i guess so one twenty two eight thank you
The Grand Rapids ATCT received no further communications from N2QV.
WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION
The airplane came to rest in a parking lot for a local business. The airplane struck a tree at a level about 40 to 50 feet above the ground. The left wing was torn from the airplane and remained in the tree. The remainder of the airplane came to rest in an upright position about 300 feet from the tree. The landing gear was found in the retracted position. There were no fuel stains, or other evidence of a fuel spill at the accident site. The fuselage and pilot's side control stick had been cut to facilitate removal of the pilot. The canopy was shattered and the left horizontal stabilizer was bent upward about 45 degrees. The airplane's engine appeared intact and little damage was noted with respect to the propeller blades.
Subsequent examination of the airplane after removal from the accident site confirmed continuity of the flight control systems with the exception of the left wing controls. Examination of the engine confirmed continuity of the internal components with no anomalies found.
The airplane was equipped with a Garmin model GNS 530 GPS/NAV/COM unit. Data obtained from the unit indicated that the total fuel capacity was 52 gallons, and the total trip time was 2 hours 55 minutes and 7 seconds.
The airplane was also equipped with a Shadin model 912802 Fuel/AirData Computer/Indicator. Data obtained from the Shadin system indicated that the fuel capacity was 53 gallons and that 15.5 gallons remained with 0.2 gallons used.
Subsequent to the release of the wreckage, the individual that dismantled the airplane discovered that the exhaust gas temperature gauge had been removed for maintenance.
MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION
The Kent County Medical Examiners Office conducted an autopsy on the pilot on August 25, 2006
A Final Forensic Toxicology Fatal Accident Report prepared by the Federal Aviation Administration listed the following findings:
0.023 (ug/mL, ug/g) MIDAZOLAM detected in Blood
MIDAZOLAM detected in Liver
TESTS AND RESEARCH
According to an article, which included an interview with the accident pilot, the fuel burn at 75 percent power was between 12 and 13 gallons per hour.
The FAA was a party to the investigation.